Those patients who are interested in undergoing weight loss surgery may be surprised to learn that not everyone who is overweight is a candidate for these procedures. Procedures like gastric bypass and gastric banding are serious surgeries, and just like with every surgery, they aren't right for everyone.
"There are people that are not quite ready," describes Dr. Gregg Kai Nishi of the Khalili Center for Bariatric Care in Beverly Hills, CA. He says that patients need to not only be in a good place physically before surgery, but they need to be mentally prepared for what comes after weight loss surgery.
"If an individual comes to us and they're interested in surgery but they have never attempted any form of weight loss, then they are really not ready for weight loss surgery," says Dr. Nishi. After weight loss surgery, patients must follow strict diet guidelines in order to see the results that the surgery is able to provide. Patients often go to nutrition classes and cooking classes to learn how to eat right. With a smaller stomach, patients can only take in a small amount of nutrition at a time. That makes it important to get as much good nutrition into a small space as possible.
Dr. Nishi encourages patients to first try other traditional methods of weight loss before turning to surgery. He says that patients should give diet and exercise a legitimate shot, and only after that should they consider bariatric surgery. "Weight loss surgery is something that people come to when they've tried all the other options - and that's how it should be. Surgery should be your last option."
He says that there are patients who come to him that want to lose weight, but still don't really want to undergo surgery. Dr. Nishi recommends that they try a lifestyle modification program as well as exercise to try to get their weight to a more manageable level. "I saw a gentleman recently who was definitely qualified for weight loss surgery from the stand point of his BMI, but he really hadn't tried any other methods. We constructed a program for him where he would see a dietitian to help him get educated about healthy food choices. We also set him up with a trainer for exercise and we're going to work on that for a while and see how far he can go with that."
If you're thinking of undergoing weight loss surgery, it's important to first consider your efforts so far and see if you can make the lifestyle changes needed to have a successful surgical result. Talk with your surgeon about what kind of nutrition and exercise assistance is available to you to help you learn how to feed yourself in a healthy way. Gastric bypass is a lifelong commitment, make sure you're ready for it.