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Is Weight Loss Surgery Right For You?

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

obese patient and surgeon

In this first installment of our Summit Bariatrics blog series, we will answer two questions:

  • Who is a potential candidate for weight loss surgery?

  • What qualifies a patient for a bariatric procedure?

Factors That Influence Candidacy For Surgical Weight Loss

There are many factors to consider when determining whether surgery is the appropriate solution for a patient seeking to lose weight. The patient and their healthcare provider should evaluate all health factors relevant to surgical candidacy.

  1. Body Mass Index (BMI): While this is not the only factor, it is the most important when determining candidacy for weight loss surgery. A BMI of 30 and above is considered obese. Following the most recent guidelines, a patient may qualify for bariatric surgery with a BMI of 30 or higher if they have health risk factors that are associated with obesity, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or sleep apnea. A BMI of 35 and higher may qualify regardless of associated health risk factors.

  2. Failed Attempts At Weight Loss: Medical professionals will initially recommend lifestyle and dietary changes to improve overall health and BMI. If the patient is unsuccessful in losing weight following these recommendations, surgery is then considered an option.

  3. Obesity-Related Health Conditions: While there are many potential health conditions that can develop from obesity, three risk factors, in particular, can qualify a patient for surgery: diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. These three conditions can dramatically increase a patient's risk of heart disease, stroke, and other catastrophic medical events. Bariatric surgery is a viable option to reduce these risks and improve long-term health outcomes.

  4. Age: Older adults may face additional health considerations and potential risks related to bariatric surgery, including cardiovascular conditions, pulmonary function, and overall fitness level. However, age alone does not exclude someone from being a candidate for weight loss surgery. The decision to recommend weight loss surgery for older adults considers their ability to tolerate surgery and the benefits of weight loss in improving their quality of life.

  5. Physical and Psychological Health and Support: Both physical and psychological health play an important role in determining a patient's candidacy for weight loss surgery.

    1. Physical Health: Candidates for weight loss surgery undergo a thorough medical evaluation to assess their physical health status. This evaluation typically includes reviewing medical history, conducting physical examinations, and performing various tests and screenings. The purpose is to identify any pre-existing medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or respiratory issues, that may impact the safety and success of the surgery. These conditions need to be managed appropriately before considering weight loss surgery.

    2. Psychological Health: Psychological evaluation is an essential component of surgical candidacy assessment. Weight loss surgery can produce drastic changes in the patient's body, lifestyle, and self-image. It is crucial to assess a patient's psychological well-being, coping mechanisms, and ability to understand and commit to the necessary post-surgery lifestyle changes. Individuals with eating disorders or untreated psychological conditions may need to address these issues before considering weight loss surgery.

  6. Commitment To Long-Term Lifestyle Changes: Weight loss surgery is a life-altering process that requires long-term commitment and lifestyle changes. Candidates for bariatric surgery often undergo counseling or psychological support to ensure they have set realistic expectations, understand the potential risks and benefits of surgery, and are prepared for the challenges that may arise during their weight loss journey.

Da Vinci Robotic Surgery System

Da Vinci remote robotic surgery. Credit: Medical Illustration, Wellcome Images

At Summit Bariatrics, we specialize in minimally invasive bariatric and general surgery for adults in Boerne, San Antonio, and the surrounding areas. Dr. Farrer uses the Da Vinci robotic surgery system, one of the most advanced robotic medical platforms ever built. He has years of experience performing several different kinds of bariatric procedures, including:

  • Gastric bypass

  • Gastric sleeve

  • Single anastomosis duodenal switch

  • Revisional surgeries

The decision to undergo weight loss surgery can be challenging. This life-changing decision is something Dr. Rex Farrer, founder and surgeon at Summit Bariatrics, personally understands.

Dr. Farrer is a bariatric patient who underwent a surgical weight loss procedure to improve his overall health. His firsthand experience with bariatric surgery and the post-surgery lifestyle gives Dr. Farrer a unique perspective on patient care. His insight allows him to develop compassionate and genuine connections with his patients, a provider-patient relationship that most surgeons do not have. Dr. Farrer understands the challenges that post-surgery life presents and is empathetic and skilled in helping patients navigate this process successfully.

If you are interested in learning more about weight loss surgery, attend one of our free information sessions. Call our office to reserve your spot today! (830) 223 – 8150

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