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  • Bariatric FAQMore than two thirds of adults and one third of all children in the U.S. are overweight or obese, and the medical effects contribute to a major number of health problems in America. Dr. Metz answers a few commonly asked questions around bariatric weight loss surgery:
  • Bariatric weight loss surgery is surgery for people that are struggling with their weight, and have not had long-term success with diets, exercise, and other strategies.  The surgery is reserved for people that are more than about 100 pounds overweight, so it's not for everyone. There are a number of different procedures out there, but the ones most commonly performed in the U.S. are the gastric bypass, the lap adjustable gastric band, and the sleeve gastrectomy.  While all of these procedures significantly reduce the size of the stomach, the bypass also acts by limiting the amount of food that a person can absorb from their diet.
    Insurance companies tend to drive this to some degree, but in most cases, people with a body mass index (which is a ratio of height and weight) greater than 40, or greater than 35 with at least one major medical problem associated with their weight are candidates for surgery. The math gets a little tricky, but it works out to patients that are about 100 pounds overweight.
    Being more than 100 pounds overweight is associated with a lot of different health problems. For instance there is a well known association between weight and heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, joint pain, and even diabetes. And weight loss surgery can make all of those things significantly better, and in a lot of cases, surgery can make those medical problems go away completely.
    Yes. In some patient populations, we're seeing as high as a 94% resolution of Type II diabetes. That's the best treatment we've ever seen for diabetes as health care providers.  And think of how many millions of Americans suffer from adult onset diabetes!
    The best way to find out if a person is a candidate is to start by calculating the BMI, or body mass index. The easiest way to do that is to look up a BMI calculator on the internet and plug in your height and weight.  If someone's BMI is  greater than 40, or greater than 35 with at least one major medical problem associated with weight, that person would meet the basic qualifications for surgery. After that, I would suggest that person contact his or her local Bariatric surgeon. In most cases, Bariatric teams are made up of not just surgeons, but mental health counselors and dietitians, too. All of those providers work together to with an individual patient to determine if that person is a good candidate for surgery.
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