Is Weight Loss Surgery Right For You?

Dr. Mustafa Ahmed

A successful outcome is dependent on adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Every person considering bariatric surgery must thoroughly understand the consequences and weigh the decision very carefully.

More than one-third of Americans are obese, according to the National Institutes of Health. For those who have battled their weight for years and who suffer from a wide range of obesity-related health problems, weight loss surgery (or bariatric surgery) may be the solution that finally helps them lose weight, keep it off, and dramatically improve their health. But, according to bariatric surgeon Dr. Mustafa Ahmed, founder and medical director with Southern Nevada Bariatrics, surgery is not a shortcut to losing weight and it isn’t for everyone. “Weight loss surgery is a life-changing event,” he says. “It can convey critical health benefits, enhance quality of life, and improve longevity. But it isn’t a way to avoid changing diet and exercise habits. On the contrary, a successful outcome is dependent on adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Every person considering bariatric surgery must thoroughly understand the consequences and weigh the decision very carefully.”

Bariatric surgery refers to any surgical procedure that makes changes to the stomach or intestines that induce weight loss. There are several types of surgery that achieve that goal by different means: by restricting the amount of food the stomach can hold or by restricting the nutrients than can be absorbed or a combination of the two. “Deciding whether you’re eligible for surgery and which procedure is right for you is based on several factors and is determined in consultation with a bariatric surgeon,” says Dr. Ahmed.

Am I qualified for bariatric surgery?

Medical guidelines indicate surgery as an option for those who are extremely obese – 100 pounds or more overweight or with a body mass index (BMI) over 40 – or those with a BMI over 35 who also have obesity-related health problems such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or severe sleep apnea. Dr. Ahmed adds: “In addition to these guidelines, candidates for surgery have generally been unable to sustain a healthy weight by other means, even…

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