My weight loss surgeon in Houston wants me to lose weight before gastric bypass Surgery. I can't lo
Most bariatric surgeons require some weight loss before surgery. Personally, I ask my patients to lose 5% of their total body weight. So, that means, if a person weighs 300 lbs. I want them to get to 285 lbs. before surgery. However, we do not expect people to do it on their own.
The reason for asking patients to lose that weight is to lower the complication rate of surgery, and not to make patients jump through hoops. The liver is the first thing in the body to show the effects of weight loss. When we lose weight, the liver contracts and shrinks. Nearly all morbidly obese patients have an enlarged, fatty liver. The stomach lies underneath the left lobe of the liver. This means that during the surgery, the left lobe must be retracted up to work. If the surgeon cannot get enough space between the liver and the stomach to see the top of the stomach, all of the surgeries are made more difficult, and may result in complications. This is what happened recently to a young Texas girl who went out of state to have a gastric bypass. The surgeons had to do a sleeve because the liver was too large. But I believe this surgery was very difficult as well.
Bariatric surgeons, of all people, should understand how hard it is for patients to lose 20 or 30 lbs. This being so, we encourage patients to participate in medically supervised weight loss where we provide them education and encouragement to diet and lose the weight. Many programs use very low calorie or liquid diets. This can be done 4 to 6 weeks before surgery. Some patients on certain medications, like steroids or insulin, have a particularly hard time losing the weight. This is taken into consideration when setting a weight goal.
Everyone can lose the weight with the right program, but keeping it off is the hard part. Losing weight right before surgery decreases the risk of complications; then, after surgery, the weight will continue to come off and they will be able to keep it off. Having weight loss surgery is not an easy decision, and it takes a lot of work on the patient’s part. Surgery is, by no means, an “easy way out,” as I have heard some people say. If you know someone trying to lose weight, be supportive and encourage them. They can do it with your help!
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