Considerations when Thinking about Bariatric Surgery
Written by Stephanie Vanderboom, a Mayo Clinic nurse practitioner specializing in weight management and bariatric surgery.
There are many things to consider when contemplating bariatric surgery. Before you proceed, there are several factors to take into account.
The questions below can help you decide if pursuing a bariatric surgery is an appropriate step in your weight loss journey.
Have I tried other weight loss interventions? Bariatric surgery is typically pursued only after you've tried other weight loss interventions (ie. dieting and exercising on your own, participating in a commercial weight loss program, participating in a medically supervised weight loss program, etc.), but have not been successful with significant or sustained weight loss.
Would I qualify for bariatric surgery at my weight? Bariatric surgery may be an option for you if:
- Your body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher.
- Your BMI is 35 to 39.9 and you have a weight-related health condition.
Do I have comorbidities that would likely improve with a bariatric surgery? Bariatric surgery is performed to help you lose excess weight and to improve or decrease the risk of weight-related health conditions, including:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Type 2 diabetes
Can I adhere to lifelong vitamin supplementation and dietary recommendations? Vitamins are initiated after bariatric surgery and are continued lifelong to prevent vitamin deficiencies. In addition, you must make permanent healthy changes to your diet and obtain regular exercise to help ensure the long-term success of bariatric surgery.
Is now the right time to pursue bariatric surgery? You need to ask yourself if you have time and energy to commit to focusing on your health and the lifestyle changes required to promote a successful weight loss outcome. Success depends on a personal commitment and healthy lifestyle habits.
Is bariatric surgery a covered benefit of my insurance plan? As bariatric surgery can be a more expensive weight loss option, it is important to check with your insurance company to determine if this is a covered intervention for you.