Surgery for weight loss may work for you

Surgical weight loss has been shown to be very effective in dealing with obesity because it is a procedure which has been designed to gain complete control over a persons weight situation. This website has been developed to provide exceptional information for those who believe their health may be at risk and want to know more about their options, including laparoscopic gastric banding (also known as Swedish Adjustable Gastric Banding, or SAGB, LAP-BAND™ surgery, laparoscopic banding (sometimes abbreviated to lap. banding), or stomach banding), gastric bypass and other procedures.

Obesity Stats Australia

Generally, weight loss surgery is very effective and for the procedure to be considered successful, a patient will show a large reduction in weight coupled with an improvement in overall health. This encompasses the removal of previously life threatening risk factors as well as an improvement in the patient’s day to day living.

Understanding Your Surgical Options

It is now understood that severe or morbid obesity is not just the result of excess eating but also a chronic disease with many contributing factors including genetics.

You may be considered overweight, or obese, if your Body Mass Index (BMI) is 30 or higher. Obesity means that your excess weight may be putting your life at risk. Most complications take time to develop so the timing of your weight loss surgery can greatly improve your life if your doctor believes that your current health may be at risk of getting worse. This is why even though there are some risks involved, the benefits from surgery may actually outweigh most of the things that may go wrong, most importantly worsening of a patients overall health without losing weight.

Am I A Candidate for Weight Loss Surgery?

Only a qualified bariatric surgeon can confirm if you are a eligible for bariatric surgery, however you may be suitable candidate if you are:

  • greater than 45.4 kg over your ideal body weight
  • have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40
  • have a Body Mass Index of over 35 and are suffering from problems directly related to being overweight and cannot sustain a “healthy body weight” even when under medical supervision.

It is essential that you speak with your GP or a weight loss surgeon about the criteria for bariatric surgery and there are some questions below that you can print out and ask your GP or Surgeon to get more information about your eligibility for weight loss surgery.

Obesity Surgery Studies

An Australian expert review of data available on the effectiveness of the various weight loss procedures available showed that: laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, vertical banded gastroplasty and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass were all significantly effective in causing weight reduction in patients after the surgery was performed on them. Most good weight loss surgeons will have past patients you might be able to get in touch with who will happily share their success stories because of how well it worked for them. You can also watch before and after videos of weight loss surgery patients from around the world.

How much weight will I lose?

How much weight a patients loses after undergoing obesity surgery depends on several individual factors which can include:

  • Age
  • Current weight
  • Any prior health conditions
  • Which surgical procedure is being performed
  • Diet following surgery
  • Individual motivation and support of family and friends post-surgery

Generally, patients can expect to lose an average of 60% of their excess weight. This number depends on the above factors and which surgery is performed. The surgeon is only person who will be able to make the decision about which weight loss procedure you should do.

Questions for my GP

Documenting your previous attempts at weight loss is an important step that you should talk with your doctor about because weight loss surgery is a big step that can change your life. Talk with your GP about how good or bad your previous attempts at weight loss have been and any obesity-related health conditions that have been identified and if they are getting worse.

If you have been getting poor sleep, trouble walking, or your blood pressure has worsened over the last 2-3 years, these will be helpful for your GP in deciding if weight loss surgery is suitable for you.

Other questions for my GP

  • Will I benefit from weight loss?
  • What options do I have now?
  • Am I eligible for weight loss surgery?
  • Can you give me a referral for a weight loss surgeon?
  • Which weight loss surgeon should I go to?

Questions for my Surgeon

As the process continues, you will learn more and more about weight loss surgery and what impact it will have on your life, both positive and possibly negatively. It is important to be well-informed as it will help you understand the whole process and whether it will be a great decision. Below are some questions you should definitely ask your bariatric surgeon and whether you think this surgeon is the one that you want to perform the procedure on you.

  • Which types of surgery for weight loss have you performed before?
  • How many times have you perfomed each of those procedures?
  • Is the surgery minimally invasive (i.e. keyhole surgery)?
  • Am I still eligible for weight loss surgery even though I have some of the negative health conditions related to my weight?
  • Which procedure do you think is best for me and why?
  • What risks are involved with this procedure and other procedures?
  • How long does the surgery take?
  • How long will I have to stay in hospital?
  • How long until I will be able to function at the level of activity I was just before the surgery?
  • Will my eating habits change?
  • How much will it cost and are there payment plans or ways I can get access to funds for this treatment?
  • What is the general change in weight and associated health conditions of your past patients?
  • Are there patients of yours who I could talk to about their experience, and whether they were positive or negative?
  • What information could I share with my friends and family to better understand the surgery that I will be having?

Where Do I Begin?

Familiarising yourself with the information on this website is a good place to start. It’s been designed to provide you with all the information you need to know about the benefits and risks of weight loss surgery, before making a decision.

Next Steps:

  • Speak to your family doctor, a specialist or local General Practitioner.
  • Contact bariatric surgeons and support groups that may exist in your area.
  • Find a surgeon in your area, and ask if they provide seminars or free information sessions for the public.
  • Reach out to other patients that have had or considered weight loss surgery in your community.

There are numerous sources about weight loss surgery, and not all of them are reliable. Speaking to others who have had the surgery you are now contemplating may prove useful in helping you to make a decision you can be happy with.

A bariatric surgeon qualified to look after your needs pre, during and post surgery, is the best source of information about weight loss surgery.