Am I a Good Candidate for Gastric Bypass?

Gastric bypass is the most common type of bariatric surgery. The procedure often ranks as the “gold standard” of weight-loss surgery due to its long-term history of effectiveness and relative safety. 

Gastric bypass helps achieve weight loss by changing the anatomy of your digestive system so that you digest and absorb fewer calories. The procedure reduces the physical size of your stomach to a small pouch comparable to the size of a golf ball. This restricts your meals to significantly smaller portions, which results in your consumption of fewer calories. 

As part of the surgical reconstruction, your new smaller stomach is attached to the middle of your small intestine, thereby “bypassing” part of your intestine. Connecting your stomach to the lower portion of your small intestine facilitates digestion by bile and pancreatic fluids. The bypass also produces changes in gut hormones that lead to an increased feeling of fullness which suppresses hunger. 

Since gastric bypass permanently changes your anatomy, medical protocols reserve the procedure for patients who must lose a significant amount of weight but can’t do so by dieting and behavior modification. Weight-loss surgeon George Mutafyan, MD, of Glendale, California, has years of experience helping overweight patients reach and maintain their weight-loss goals with gastric bypass. Dr. Mutafyan has the expertise to determine whether you can succeed with gastric bypass.

To qualify for gastric bypass, you must meet strict medical guidelines that include the following criteria:

You have a body mass index (BMI) that measures 40 or more, or a BMI of 35-40 with weight-related health complications.

Your BMI measures your weight in relation to your height. The number represents your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared. 

A normal BMI ranges between 18.5 and about 25. A BMI of 30 or higher falls within the obese category and increases your risk of life-threatening conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, or cancer. Having a BMI between 35-40 and a life-threatening condition can significantly reduce your chances of long-term survival. 

A BMI of 40 or more defines extreme or morbid obesity, a condition that can complicate your ability to perform life-sustaining tasks, such as breathing and walking. 

You’ve failed at numerous attempts to lose weight through diet and exercise. 

The permanent changes made by gastric bypass won’t give you a quick fix or easy way out of the work required to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Your attempts with other weight-loss options indicate that you’re serious and committed to making a dramatic and lifelong change. You’ll need sustained dedication to a healthy lifestyle to succeed after surgery.

While gastric bypass has relatively few complications, it has the same potential risks associated with any type of major surgery for an obese person. Your decision to pursue gastric bypass shouldn’t be made lightly. 

To ensure you’re an appropriate candidate, Dr. Mutafyan assesses several factors, including your overall health as well as your reasons for making a change and choosing this type of major surgery.

You’re capable of making a lifelong commitment to the lifestyle requirements necessary for long-term success.

Gastric bypass requires significant changes in the way you eat. To achieve and maintain your desired weight, you’ll have to follow specific diet and exercise regimens for the rest of your life. These guidelines include limiting your meals to about a cup of food at a time and working to maintain a diet that prevents nutritional deficiencies. 

If you smoke, you’ll have to stop smoking before surgery and quit for good. You may also have to find substitutes for drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and other medications that can interfere with blood clotting. 

Signs of alcoholism, drug addiction, or an uncontrolled psychiatric disorder may disqualify you from gastric bypass candidacy, because these conditions can interfere with your ability to follow through on the commitments necessary to succeed after the surgery.

Find out whether gastric bypass could help resolve your long-term struggle with obesity. Call our office to schedule an appointment for a personal evaluation and weight-loss consultation.

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