FIVE Health Conditions that Prevent You from Being a Good Candidate for Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery is a life changer and life saver for those of us who have struggled to maintain a healthy body weight and BMI, and who need to lose significant amounts of weight in a short period of time to minimise our health risks. So what are some of the barriers to getting bariatric surgery, e.g. gastric banding, gastric sleeve surgery, a gastric balloon or gastric bypass procedures?
What is Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric Surgery is weight loss surgery currently used to treat obesity. There are many different types of Bariatric surgery procedures or approaches to gastric weight loss surgery. Bariatric procedures include gastric banding, gastric sleeve, gastric balloon and mini-gastric bypass procedures as well as traditional gastric bypass surgery. Suitable candidates for Bariatric Surgery may include men and women who carry a high risk of having serious and chronic health conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Bariatric surgery is often needed in order to help:
- Reduce the risk of obesity-related health implications (Type 2 Diabetes, sleep apnoea, stroke, high blood pressure and cancer)
- Increase life expectancy and quality of life
- Reduce body weight by more than 30% or to a degree necessary to qualify for other types of surgery the person may require
- Help an individual adopt lifestyle changes that are likely to lead to a healthier weight and healthier body mass index (BMI)
- Enable individuals to better engage in regular exercising and help them learn to eat smaller portions and more nutritional foods by restricting food intake.
Bariatric Surgery is a SERIOUS surgical procedure performed by a specialist in advanced gastric procedures and weight loss surgery techniques.
Bariatric surgery is increasingly popular as it evolves as a proven technique for reducing obesity and related health conditions.
But is it for everyone? The answer is NO.
Not all overweight individuals are suitable candidates for bariatric weight loss surgery such as gastric sleeves, gastric banding or gastric bypass.
Plus, many people are not fully informed about the process and risks of losing weight by having bariatric procedures. Plus, many bariatric patients are unfamiliar with the likely requirement for body contouring surgery after significant or ‘massive’ weight loss occurs. Often, redundant skin will need surgical removal, such as reducing redundant skin (skin folds) and re-contouring the body using liposuction and skin tightening procedures to help patients gain a more natural looking physique.
Due to the potential risks and serious complications that may occur during or after bariatric surgery, these weight loss surgery procedures are NOT applicable to everyone, despite their many benefits.
Let’s look at some of the health conditions that may make you an UNSUITABLE candidate for Bariatric Surgery options.
1. Risk of Blood Clots and Bariatric Gastric Surgery
Risk of blood clots may be elevated for obese patients who undertake Gastric Sleeve and other Weight loss surgery procedures. You need to understand – and minimise – your risks.
- The risk of a getting a blood clot is one of the more serious risks of undergoing bariatric surgery as an obesity treatment.
- Individuals who are obese and suffer related health consequences such as elevated cholesterol levels or high blood pressure MAY be MORE likely to get a blood clot during or after a long surgery, than those who are healthier.
- However, all surgery carries an increased chance of deep vein thrombosis or “DVT”.
The risk of blood clots is something your Bariatric Surgeon will want to ask you about – and discuss in depth with you – during your initial assessment for surgery as a treatment for obesity.
Gastric Surgery and Blood Clots
If you suffer from blood clots, a common risk for people with high cholesterol and high blood pressure, then Gastric Surgery may NOT be the best option for you.
High blood pressure is often HELPED by losing weight. Before your weight loss, however, having high blood pressure can mean you are at higher risk of strokes and blood clots – with or without surgery.
2. Heart problems and Surgery Risks for Obese Patients
- Bariatric Surgery, even laparoscopic surgery, is considered a major surgical procedure.
- The invasive nature of most bariatric procedures means it is typically NOT an ideal option for individuals who have a history of heart problems.
Your specialist Bariatric Surgeon will assess your cardiac history, including any medications to take, and your overall medical and lifestyle history, to help determine your suitability.
3. Nutritional deficiencies and Weight Loss Surgery (Bariatric Procedures such as Gastric Bypass or Gastric Banding)
- A Gastric Bypass severely restricts the quantity of food that your body absorbs.
- Your vitamin and mineral absorption may be lower, also.
If you already have vitamin deficiencies, this will likely be exacerbated by the gastric band or gastric bypass procedure.
Talk to your surgeon who will take the necessary tests to determining your suitability for the surgery and become well informed about how this may alter your body’s ability to absorb valuable nutrients.
4. Kidney Stones and Weight Loss Surgery
- Due to the proximity of the internal organs to the intestines, kidney stones may also present a barrier to gastric surgery for weight loss.
- A full examination will give the surgical team an indication of how chronic the problem is for you and whether the surgery is feasible.
5. Liver Disease: Can you have Gastric Banding if you have liver disease?
Similarly, liver disease is also usually a barrier to this kind of surgery.
- Liver disease is common in obese patients, who have what is called ‘non-alcoholic fatty liver.’
- Liver disease increases the risks associated with the obesity condition AND with surgery to become less obese.
- A complete assessment by a Bariatric Surgeon will give you and your Surgeon greater information so that you can assess what your options are prior to surgery.
- There are special eating plans to help obese patients improve their liver health prior to having Gastric Weight Loss Surgery.
You may also be asked to go on a special liver diet to reduce the risks of having a fatty liver.
Always consult with your Surgeon to assess if Bariatric Surgery is RIGHT for you
Gastric band or other gastric bariatric surgery procedures MAY be able to save your life, and often greatly improve the quality of your life.
We can help you locate a Bariatric Surgeon in your area.
Our Weight Loss Referral Team can also discuss the second phase of surgery for obesity (post-weight loss body contouring).
It’s great to know what your options are to combat obesity and live a healthier life.
So if you want to know how to prepare yourself for Bariatric Surgery or for post-weight loss body contouring procedures (body lift surgery) once you’ve reached a stable weight after your surgery, the New Body Specialists referral team can help.
What happens at a consult for bariatric surgery (brief synopsis).
During the period of assessment, you will undergo a thorough interview and health screening, as well as other testing as required. This helps to ensure you are physically fit and well enough – as well as psychologically well enough – to withstand the procedure and the lifestyle changes that will soon be required.
Factors such as your age, your mental health, your smoking and drinking behaviours – and other considerations – will ALL be taken into account to determine your candidacy for bariatric surgery procedures such as a gastric sleeve, gastric band, gastric bypass or gastric balloon.
Gastric Surgery is NOT a cure all for excess weight, overeating or obesity
Remember, bariatric surgery is a last resort for most patients. It can work, but it’s a serious surgery and a long procedure to prepare for and recover from. Your life will often be better because of it, but you must understand the risks and get a proper assessment to determine if this is an option for you in relation to obesity. There are other means to lose weight, and you want to investigate your non-surgical options as well as a surgical option.
Bariatric surgery is NOT a cure-all. You will need to make the lifelong changes to your eating, exercise routines and your overall health care plans, to get long lasting results. Maintenance is required and requires significant changes in your day to day.
Want to learn more about obesity treatments and see if you’re a suitable candidate for Bariatric Surgery for weight loss?
We can help you learn more about bariatric surgical options and other weight loss and body shaping treatments.
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We have helpful information on the Bariatric Specialists available in all parts of Australia.