Weight-loss surgery (also known as bariatric surgery) can save lives and be an effective tool for the treatment of obesity-related health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.
Is weight-loss surgery right for me?
Obesity is a complex disease caused by several factors including genetics, environment, hormones, behavior and even medications. While there are many methods of losing weight, weight-loss surgery is typically for people who are clinically obese.
Weight-loss surgery may be a good fit for patients who meet the following criteria:
- Between 18 and 65 years old*
- Men with a BMI of 35-55 with no comorbidities (such as diabetes or heart disease). A BMI of 30 with comorbidities may be a candidate*
- Women with a BMI 35-60 with no comorbidities (such as diabetes or heart disease). A BMI of 30 with comorbidities may be a candidate*
- Patients without organ failure, an organ transplant, or significant cardiac or pulmonary impairment
- Patients must not be on a candidate or transplant list
- Patient must be able to walk
You might not be a good candidate for bariatric surgery if:
- If your BMI is lower or higher than those stated above*
- You have ongoing substance abuse, drug or alcohol addiction issues
- You have an uncontrolled mental illness
- You have a significant eating disorder
- You are unwilling or otherwise unable to comply with the necessary guidelines following bariatric surgery
*Patients who don’t meet the age or BMI requirement may be referred to St. Mark’s Weight Treatment Center for additional surgical and non-surgical options.
Schedule a consultation with a physician to learn more about weight-loss surgery and see if you may be a candidate.
Types of weight-loss surgery we offer
We offer bariatric surgeries that are well studied for a high level of safety, with all approved by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). Each of these procedures can be performed laparoscopically with small incisions for improved healing.
The gastric bypass is considered the gold standard of weight-loss procedures in terms of weight-loss and health intestine. This limits and the change in gut hormones help you feel fuller sooner and eat less food. This surgery can also be effective at improving Type 2 diabetes as well as high blood pressure, sleep apnea and high cholesterol.
Sleeve Gastrectomy or Gastric Sleeve
A sleeve gastrectomy involves removing 75 to 80 percent of your stomach. Your surgeon creates a new stomach pouch, approximately the size of a banana. A gastric sleeve allows for normal absorption of foods and digestion. It does not involve any bypass or the intestinal tract, and helps you feel full on smaller amounts of food. There are also some changes in gut hormones to reduce appetite and help you feel full on less food.
The sleeve gastrectomy may be a good option for obese patients with a relatively low BMI. This is especially true if preexisting conditions, such as anemia or Crohn's disease, prevent them from having other types of bariatric surgery.
Benefits and risks of bariatric surgery
People living with obesity can sometimes find it difficult to do day-to-day tasks. In addition to physical issues, it may also prevent you from participating in certain activities, including those that can improve your health. Weight-loss surgery improves and helps decrease your chances of many major and minor health conditions, including sleep apnea and Type 2 diabetes. With this treatment, good health and a longer life are much more likely.
All surgeries and medical procedures carry risk. It's important to talk to your doctor, other weight-loss surgery patients and your loved ones to best understand the benefits and risks for your unique situation.
However, it is also important to consider the risk of remaining obese. For example, the risk of an early death for an obese person is significantly higher than for a non-obese person. Severe obesity can also cause life-threatening health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Some of these conditions develop over time; others emerge quickly. In fact, you may have one or more of these conditions without even realizing it.
Steps to weight-loss surgery
To be considered for bariatric surgery, you need to first have a one-on-one consultation with a bariatric surgeon. If the surgeon qualifies you for bariatric surgery, you will then complete a full medical history and verify coverage with your insurance. (Use the guide from the Obesity Action Coalition to help you with this process.)
Also, in conjunction with our partners at St. Mark’s Weight Treatment Center, you receive nutritional and psychological evaluations and participate in a series of educational courses. Once all steps are complete and insurance authorization is obtained (for patients choosing to use insurance), you will be scheduled for your weight-loss surgery.
Life after weight-loss surgery
The first year after weight-loss surgery is a year of significant change — it's a new beginning, a new you. Having a support system around you is important to your long-term success. We encourage you to:
- Attend support groups
- Connect with your doctor
- Keep your follow-up appointments with your surgeon and other specialists
- Meet with a dietitian who specializes in bariatrics so they can give you advice as you transition into each new phase of life and your diet
- Meet with a social worker to help you navigate your new lifestyle
Insurance benefits and criteria for weight-loss surgery vary by plan and by employer. We can help you verify benefits and criteria specific to your plan. (Insurance plans accepted at Brigham City Community Hospital.) Most insurance companies base their criteria on the NIH guidelines:
- BMI of 40 or greater
- BMI of 35-40 with a significant co-morbidity
- Documented previous weight-loss attempts
- Multidisciplinary team approach to surgical weight-loss
- Life-long medical surveillance
These requirements may apply if surgery is a covered benefit under your policy. Some policies have exclusions, which means your insurance plan may not cover these services. If you need help working with your insurance provider regarding weight-loss surgery, the Obesity Action offers a guide: Working with Your Insurance Provider: A Guide to Seeking Weight-Loss Surgery. Your surgeon’s office will also check these benefits for your once you turn in your new patient paperwork.
If you do not have a bariatric surgery benefit through your health insurance, Brigham City Community Hospital and MountainStar Medical Group – Brigham City offer a significant cash-pay discount. Conditions apply.
Please contact our office at (435) 695-2273 for additional information.
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