Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery: Is It Right for You?

For those who are obese, losing weight with diet and exercise doesn’t always provide the results needed for optimal health. Individuals with a body mass index (BMI) above 40—or those with a BMI above 35 and who experience comorbidities—may be candidates for bariatric weight loss surgery.

Dr. Brian Bollo, a surgeon at Cayuga Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, discusses what patients considering this type of surgery should ask. “It’s not just about losing weight,” he says. “It’s also about resolution of obesity-related diseases. The goal we really want to zero in on is for the patient to say, ‘Will I benefit?’”

Crucial Considerations Prior to Surgery

The first step is to establish your personal expectations for the surgery. Are you hoping to attain a lower weight or resolve your diabetes? Be specific in what you expect to gain from the surgery. Then, ask your surgeons if the procedure will realistically help you meet those goals.

“An important thing for patients to know is that almost everyone will regain some amount of weight,” notes Dr. Bollo. It’s imperative patients understand this possibility from the beginning.

The next thing to resolve is family support. It helps to have a team behind you, as surgery isn’t easy on the patient. You may need some post-surgical assistance, and lifestyle changes could impact your loved ones.

Surgical Options

After a discussion with the surgeons about one’s weight loss expectations and obesity-related diseases, a procedure is selected to match the case. The Cayuga Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery offers adjustable gastric banding, gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy.

“Part of the doctor’s work is to guide patients through their expectations so they end up a happier and healthier person,” explains Dr. Bollo.

Life After Surgery

Each individual discovers what can and cannot be eaten post-surgery. Every person’s tolerance is different. A registered dietician can help tailor a diet that supports long-term success.

Dietary restrictions is a standard inquiry among patients, but it’s best to ask any questions that come to mind regarding life after surgery, even if they may not seem important. For example, patients may be curious about excess skin after weight loss or how long it will take comorbidities to resolve. Another common question is how this procedure affects how patients follow up with other providers. “Every question is good,” assures Dr. Bollo.

Ultimately, Dr. Bollo wants to caution patients that obesity is a lifelong disease, and bariatric surgery is not a quick fix. Potential long-term complications may occur after surgery and patients need to be fully aware of both the benefits and the risks.

Dr. Bollo is board certified in general surgery and has fellowship training in minimally invasive and bariatric surgery. He is on staff at Cayuga Medical Center and can be reached at Cayuga Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at (607) 252-3555. To learn more about bariatric surgery, visit cayugamed.org/BARhome.cfm

Listen to the full interview here, cayugamed.org/audio/bollo_podcast110818.mp3

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