Is Bariatric Surgery Right for You?

Bariatric surgery may be the next step if, after trying non-surgical approaches, you remain severely obese or if you have an obesity-related disease. According to the National Institutes of Health, bariatric surgery should be considered only for a person diagnosed with morbid obesity; it is not for those with a mild weight problem. It is a serious undertaking, not a cosmetic procedure. Anyone thinking about undergoing this type of operation should understand that the surgery will cause a reduction in the number of calories you may consume, and you must commit to lifestyle and dietary changes to derive maximum benefit from the procedure.

The surgery is not a cure — it is only a tool. Success is possible only with your full cooperation and commitment to behavioral change and medical follow-up, which must be carried out for the rest of your life.

Your health insurance company may have additional criteria or exceptions for weight loss surgery. Be sure to check with your carrier about your plan and find out whether there are any additional requirements.

Deciding on Weight-Loss Surgery: Questions to Ask

The following questions may help you decide whether weight-loss surgery is right for you:

  • Do you meet the weight and health guidelines established to determine eligibility?

  • Are you determined to improve your health and lose weight?

  • Have you been unsuccessful at long-term weight loss using non-surgical methods?

  • Are you well informed about the surgical procedure and the effects of treatment?

  • Do you fully realize how your life may change after the operation, such as requiring you to chew food well and eat smaller meals?

  • Have you been informed of the potential for serious complications, dietary restrictions, and occasional failures?

  • Are you committed to lifelong medical follow-up and vitamin/mineral supplementation?

Information about Bariatric Surgery

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery has created a film to show how surgery has helped those suffering with obesity.

This four-part documentary features case studies of American families struggling with obesity. 

PBS Civic Summit: Obesity, Weight Loss and Body Acceptance
Experts in the field of weight loss surgery, mental health, wellness and body acceptance will discuss the struggles, stigma and prejudices faced by members of the obese community and the many options available to them.