Health Care Public Health

Is It the Right Time for Weight-Loss Surgery?

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If you’ve worried about your weight for years, had trouble keeping pounds off or struggled to manage a chronic health condition, you may have wondered if bariatric surgery could help. Is it finally time to move forward?

“Weight-loss surgery can seem like a miracle fix — and it can absolutely be life-changing — but it also takes a lot of work, preparation and commitment,” explains AdventHealth bariatric surgeon Dr. Dennis Smith. “We’re here to help ensure you’re ready to take the next step and support you completely along the way.”

4 Signs You Might Be Ready for Bariatric Surgery

If you answer “yes” to all these questions, that’s great. But a “no” doesn’t rule out bariatric surgery. It simply highlights an issue you should discuss with your health care team.

  1. Are you concerned about how your weight is affecting your health? The desire for a longer, healthier life is a major motivating factor for many people who get bariatric surgery.
  2. Are you committed to making healthy behavior changes for life? For optimal long-term results, the surgery should be combined with a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
  3. Are you tobacco-free — or if not, are you ready to quit smoking? Not smoking or using any nicotine for a time prior to bariatric surgery helps enhance healing and reduces the risk for complications. You’ll also have to avoid smoking or nicotine after surgery.
  4. Do you use alcohol responsibly? Are you able to stop drinking? Following bariatric surgery, you will need to avoid alcohol due to changes in how your body metabolizes it.

Waiting for a Big Life Milestone

Another common concern is whether you should reach certain life milestones before moving ahead. There’s no reason to think that having bariatric surgery will hold you back from reaching your life goals.

“In fact, intervening in obesity earlier in life allows patients to live with fewer restrictions,” says Dr. Smith, “and helps you avoid developing health problems like diabetes and hypertension.

If you’re a woman who wants to become pregnant, you will need to avoid pregnancy for 12 to 18 months following surgery. Patients often find that they are more fertile than before, and the risk for pregnancy-related high blood pressure or diabetes is lower.

“Bariatric surgery has been shown to relieve many patients’ struggles with diabetes, infertility and other conditions,” says Dr. Smith. “But there can be complex health factors at play; our specialists and other support team members work together to address your unique needs and goals leading up to surgery and afterward as you navigate your new lifestyle.”

If you’re concerned about missing out on work or social events, rest assured that most people only need a week or two of time off following bariatric surgery. Afterward, many report having a better quality of life, both at work and at home. In the long run, having bariatric surgery might help with achieving some important life milestones.

Lean on the Bariatric Leaders

If you’re considering bariatric surgery, you likely have many questions. When it comes to this very personal, life-changing process, know that world-class experts are waiting to be your guide.

“We’re here to help you feel informed and empowered about your care and health decisions,” assures Dr. Smith.

You can learn more about the comprehensive services of the AdventHealth Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery program and schedule a convenient virtual consultation here.

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