Weighing your Choices: 5 Questions to ask before deciding on a Weight Loss Surgery Option

Jul 31, 2017 — by Daniel Huacuz, MD

Deciding to go through with your weight loss surgery is only the first step in a long process. You must cover costs, pick a reliable surgeon, and work out whether you want to stay at home or go abroad. But most importantly you have to assess the many weight loss surgery options available, and pick the one that fits your requirements best.

There are a few different questions you’ll need to ask yourself before reaching a conclusion. The process will involve research, consultations with your primary care physician and surgeon and discussions with other patients that have successfully undergone weight loss procedures.

What sort of risks are you’re prepared to accept?

Although the risk of adverse affects is minimal with any weight loss surgery option, they do vary depending on the invasiveness of the procedure. Surgeries such as gastric sleeve and gastric bypass will certainly take a bigger toll on your body and imply a small but increased amount of risk.

What is your lifestyle like?

Different surgeries have a different capacity for weight loss, some function as simple aids while others can cause a drastic effect all on their own. If you’re young and relatively active, you might not need to undergo a more intensive and typically expensive procedure. In this case something similar to gastric band surgery might prove more suitable.

Do you have pressing health concerns?

If you have medical conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, or you’re required to lose weight before attempting an ankle or hip surgery then your requirements will be different. You’ll most likely be willing to accept a minimal amount of risk, for a surgery that has more immediate effects. Gastric bypass is usually the best treatment for serious health issues due to the metabolic effect it has, and the almost guaranteed weight loss it inspires.

Can you follow up?

Many procedures will require follow-up appointments and adjustments as part of the treatment. In addition you may be required to follow a strict meal plan and movement routine to create the most metabolic effect. Are you willing to put in extra work to ensure the success of your surgery?

Gastric banding is one technique that requires sustained surgeon’s attention post-operation, your band will have to be adjusted within the first year of surgery. This surgery also requires lifestyle changes to guarantee weight loss (up to 50% of body weight), otherwise you may lose little to none.

Are you prepared to experiment?

The most common and popular weight loss surgery options are laparoscopic and single incision gastric sleeve surgery, duodenal switch and gastric bypass. All of these surgical options are tried and tested and come with a wealth of research to prove their effectiveness. You’ll also be able to find more surgeons that are experienced and qualified enough to perform them.

However newer procedures such as gastric balloon and laparoscopic gastric sleeve plication that are not yet clinically proven cannot guarantee the same results or quality of delivery. If you’re offered a new or experimental procedure at a lower cost, be sure to do all your research and talk to previous patients before signing off on it.

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