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weight loss surgery

Do You Qualify for Weight Loss Surgery? Take this Quiz to Find Out

The weight loss journey can be an uphill battle and if you’re here, it’s likely that you’ve faced your share of challenges in shedding those extra pounds. The path to reaching a healthier weight isn’t always straightforward, and can be frustrating and disheartening. 

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, traditional methods don’t bring about the outcomes we hope for, and weight loss surgery may be worth serious consideration.  

Understanding Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is a series of procedures designed to help individuals with obesity to lose weight. These surgeries make changes to the digestive system, often by limiting the amount of food you can eat and altering how your body absorbs nutrients. It’s an option recommended for those who have struggled with traditional weight loss methods without success, offering a different approach to achieving a healthier weight.

Types of Weight Loss Surgery

Bariatric surgery comes in multiple forms, each with its own way of helping people lose weight. Here’s a look at these choices and how they work:

  • Gastric Bypass: Creates a smaller stomach and reroutes part of the small intestine, limiting the amount of food you can eat and how many nutrients your body absorbs.
  • Sleeve Gastrectomy: Involves removing a large portion of the stomach, leaving a banana-shaped “sleeve” that reduces the stomach’s capacity.
  • Adjustable Gastric Banding: Places a band around the top of the stomach to create a small pouch, restricting food intake.
  • Duodenal Switch: Reduces the size of the stomach and reroutes the small intestine, combining aspects of both gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy to limit food intake and nutrient absorption.

The majority of weight loss surgeries are now performed laparoscopically, which means there’s minimal scarring and faster recovery times. Treatment plans for qualified patients may include surgery and follow-up appointments, diet and exercise, behavior changing exercises, and psychological counseling.

Benefits and Risks of Weight Loss Surgery

The benefits of weight loss surgery are sustained weight loss, improvement of obesity-related health issues (like diabetes and high blood pressure), and better quality of life.

As with all surgeries, there are risks. Potential complications are rare, but can include infection, bleeding, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. Long-term considerations of weight loss surgery include the need for lifestyle changes, nutritional deficiencies, and the possibility of surgery-related adjustments.

An open discussion with your doctor about your potential benefits and risks of weight loss surgery will help you to make an informed decision.

The Quiz: Do I Qualify for Weight Loss Surgery?

In this self-assessment, answer each question/statement with a simple “yes” or “true” to help determine your potential eligibility for weight loss surgery. 

While rules for weight loss surgery qualification varies from one organization to another, your honest responses will guide you through factors that healthcare professionals often consider when deciding on a patient’s eligibly. 

Basic Information

1. Are you age 14 or older?

2. Is your Body Mass Index (BMI) over 35?

Medical History

3. Do you have a history of obesity-related health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea?

4. Have you tried various weight loss methods for at least six months without significant success?

5. Do you have any medical conditions that won’t allow for the safe use of anesthesia?

Lifestyle and Psychological Factors

6. You do not drink alcohol in excess.

7. You do not smoke or do drugs. For patients who are actively smoking, successful engagement with a smoking cessation program would be a prerequisite for surgery.

8. You are not struggling with uncontrolled eating behaviors or eating disorders.

9. You are not struggling with an uncontrolled mental health disorder that makes it difficult to stick with new habits. For patients with uncontrolled mental health disorders, close involvement of the mental health team is crucial for success and surgery eligibility.

10. You are willing to commit to long-term lifestyle changes after surgery, including following a healthy diet and getting daily exercise.

Find more information on Stony Brook’s Bariatric and Metabolic Weight Loss Center here

To read more about weight loss surgery from Dr. Konstantinos, read this article next.  

  • Konstantinos Spaniolas, MD
    Division chief
    Professor of Surgery
    Director, Bariatric and Metabolic Weight Loss Center
    Director, SOAR Collaborative

    Bariatric surgery is a life-changing process for patients. My involvement in the Stony Brook Bariatric and Metabolic Weight Loss Center affords me the opportunity to work on a well-coordinated multidisciplinary team and provide cutting-edge bariatric care. Furthermore, I enjoy doing health services and outcomes research, primarily targeting bariatric surgery in high-risk populations.

This article is intended to be general and/or educational in nature. Always consult your healthcare professional for help, diagnosis, guidance and treatment.