Summit Medical Center - Surgical Treatment Center Oklahoma City OK


Summit Medical Center Blog


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Are You a Candidate for Weight Loss Surgery?

Severe or morbid obesity is chronic, hard to manage, and difficult to define. It can be caused by a number of conditions and lifestyle choices. Worst of all, it can really do a number on your life. It can shorten lifespan drastically, and do real damage to your quality of life, as well. For that reason, and many others, it's not uncommon for sufferers to ask their primary care physicians or our specialists at Summit Medical Center about bariatric surgery – what many people call weight loss surgery.

While it's possible that you are a candidate for this surgery, it cannot be said enough that bariatric surgery is not the first option. Medical professionals both in Oklahoma City and around the world agree on this. If you're suffering from chronic weight problems, you have multiple paths to tread before the decision to undergo a complex and serious surgery should be made.

Here is a short list of criteria you should meet before even considering surgery:

  • You have a BMI of 35 or higher, complicated by health effects such as diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, or other severe conditions related to your weight.
  • You have a BMI of over 40.
  • Your efforts to lose weight in other ways (diet, exercise, quitting smoking, etc.) have been unsuccessful – this must be documented.
  • You are more than one hundred pounds overweight. 

Assuming you meet these criteria, you may be a candidate for a bariatric procedure. If that is the case, there are a number of things you should know.

How does digestion normally work and how does bariatric surgery change it?

There are a number of procedures – lap band surgery, gastric bypass, and more. Read here for a comprehensive, detailed list, if you like.

In normal digestion, as food moves along your intestinal pathways, enzymes and such reach the food, absorb what the body needs, and pass the rest on to the bowel for disposal. In America, in particular, we're guilty of putting more food in our stomach than the three pints it's designed to hold. Nevertheless, in people with medical obesity, often the body will react differently than just described, leading to a slower metabolism and ensuing weight gain. That's when patients may find traditional weight loss methods ineffective and consider bariatric surgery. In Oklahoma, over thirty percent of adults qualify as obese, with 67% ranking as at least overweight. That qualifies as an epidemic.

Historically, intestinal surgery usually solved this problem by creating a malabsorption, where food would travel through your body faster due to the removal of sections of intestine. Simply put, you could eat more food and absorb less of it. Problem, though: your body gets fewer nutrients this way. Early patients didn't enjoy the results. Today, surgeons have got a handle on it, but procedures can vary.

Most procedures follow two basic premises: the limiting or restrictive surgery and the malabsorptive surgery. The former simply limits what you can eat by making the stomach smaller, making overeating impossible. The latter changes the way your body handles food. It's a more invasive surgery, bypassing parts of the intestinal tract. All surgeries today are either purely restrictive, or a combination of the two. Strictly malabsorptive surgeries have been deemed dangerous.

Armed with information? Come speak to one of our doctors at Summit Medical Center and get another opinion. We have the experience to tell whether or not the surgery would benefit you and to explain all of the details that you need to know. Call us today at 405-359-2400!



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