Weight Loss Surgery

Frequently Asked Questions

What is body mass index?
Body mass index is a measurement of weight versus height. It is used to determine whether or not a person is considered underweight, normal, overweight or obese. An index of below 18.5 is considered underweight; 18.5 to 24.9 is considered a normal index; 25.0 to 29.9 is considered overweight; and 30.0 and above is considered obese.

How do I calculate my body mass index (BMI)?
Body mass index is calculated using pounds and inches. The equation reads like this: BMI=weight in pounds divided by height in inches squared, times 703. For instance, a person who weighs 220 pounds and is 6 feet 3 inches tall has an equation that reads: 220 divided by (75 X 75) X 703=27.5. Their body mass index is 27.5.

Can weight loss surgery prolong my life?
There is scientific evidence indicating that people suffering from Type 2 diabetes (or other serious obesity-related health conditions) will benefit. Also, for those who are at least 100 lbs. over ideal body weight, and are able to comply with lifestyle changes (daily exercise and low-fat diet), weight loss surgery may also significantly prolong your life.

Can weight loss surgery help other physical conditions?
According to current research, weight loss surgery can improve or resolve associated health conditions.

What is the youngest age for which weight loss surgery is recommended?
Generally accepted guidelines from the American Society for Bariatric Surgery and the National Institutes of Health indicate surgery only for those 18 years of age and older. Surgery has been performed on patients 16 and younger, however, there is a real concern that young patients may not have reached full developmental or emotional maturity to make this type of decision. It is important that young weight loss surgery patients have a full understanding of the lifelong commitment to the altered eating and lifestyle changes necessary for success.

What is the oldest age for which weight loss surgery is recommended?
Patients over 65 require very strong indications for surgery and must also meet stringent Medicare criteria. The risk of surgery in this age group is increased, and the benefits, in terms of reduced risk of mortality, are reduced.

What can I do to prevent lots of excess hanging skin?
Many people heavy enough to meet the surgical criteria for weight loss surgery have stretched their skin beyond the point from which it can “snap back.” Some patients will choose to have plastic surgery to remove loose or excess skin after they have lost their excess weight. Insurance generally does not pay for this type of surgery (often seen as elective surgery). However, some do pay for certain types of surgery to remove excess skin when complications arise from these excess skin folds. Ask your surgeon about your need for a skin removal procedure.

Is there a difference in the outcome of surgery between men and women?
Both men and women generally respond well to this surgery. In general, men lose weight slightly faster than women do.

Can I get pregnant after weight loss surgery?
It is strongly recommended that women wait at least one year after the surgery before a pregnancy. Approximately one year post-operatively, your body will be fairly stable (from a weight and nutrition standpoint) and you should be able to carry a normally nourished fetus. You should consult your surgeon as you plan for pregnancy.

What impact do my medical problems have on the decision for surgery, and how do the medical problems affect risk?
Medical problems, such as serious heart or lung problems, can increase the risk of any surgery. On the other hand, if they are problems that are related to the patient’s weight, they also increase the need for surgery. Severe medical problems may not dissuade the surgeon from recommending gastric bypass surgery if it is otherwise appropriate, but those conditions will make a patient’s risk higher than average.

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