When Should You Consider Weight Loss Surgery?

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When Should You Consider Weight Loss Surgery?

Diet and exercise are always the first-line treatment for weight loss, but only some are as successful at shedding the pounds as they would like. At what point in your weight loss journey should you consider surgery to improve your efforts?

At Advanced Surgical Associates of Northern Minnesota, board-certified general surgeon Dr. John Bollins and his team offer weight loss surgery to help their overweight and obese patients lose weight and regain their health. It’s not a decision you should make lightly, though, and you should talk this through with the doctor before committing. Here is what you need to know about the procedure and what it can do.

The numbers explained

Nearly 1 in 3 adults in this country (30.7%) weigh more than their frame can comfortably support, and more than 2 in 5 adults (42.4%) are obese (including severely obese). The classification relies on your body mass index (BMI), which is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared. It’s related to the amount of fat in the body. 

For adults 20 and older, a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 indicates a normal or healthy weight. 25 to 29.9 indicates you’re overweight, 30+ indicates obesity, and 40+ indicates severe obesity.

Health consequences of being overweight

Being overweight or obese is more than just carrying around extra pounds. Those pounds stress your body and increase your risk for many serious health conditions, including:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, or high triglyceride levels
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Vein disease
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • Many types of cancer
  • Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders
  • Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning

The good news is shedding the extra pounds improves your physical and mental health.

Weight loss surgery

Surgery becomes an option if diet, exercise, and even medically supervised weight loss don’t produce positive results.

There are many different types of weight loss surgery. At Advanced Surgical Associates of Northern Minnesota, our team performs sleeve gastrectomy 1) because it has the highest success rate and 2) because it has the fewest complications. The procedure is also minimally invasive and robotic-assisted, allowing the surgeon to be extremely precise.

Dr. Bollins removes 80% of your stomach during the procedure, leaving behind a long, narrow, banana-shaped pouch. This new stomach limits the amount of food you can eat at a time, as it can only hold one-half to three-fourths of a cup. Along with the smaller stomach, your appetite shrinks, too, because the removal of the outer part of your stomach dramatically reduces the release of hunger hormones.

Sleeve gastrectomy also results in metabolic changes that improve type 2 diabetes, with more than 60% of patients going into remission. And you’ll lose just as much weight as patients who get gastric bypass surgery but without the complications of the more complex procedure.

Sleeve gastrectomy takes about 60-90 minutes to perform, and you can expect to spend a night or two in the hospital for monitoring and to help with residual effects, like nausea, from the surgery.

What now?

Dr. Bollins will give you detailed aftercare instructions, which you must follow exactly. You must follow strict dietary guidelines to ensure your stomach heals well in the short term. After a few months, you can start eating a more normal diet, but you’ll have to choose your foods wisely. Since you won’t be able to eat as much as before the surgery, what you eat must be nutritious enough to sustain your energy needs. You’ll also start taking vitamins shortly after surgery to supplement whole foods and must continue them permanently.

You can expect to lose 25% to 30% of your body weight in the first year to two years, but that will depend somewhat on your lifestyle habits and how well they support your continued efforts to lose weight. This number is generally consistent over five years post-surgery.

If you’re overweight or obese and are struggling to lose weight, it’s time to come into Advanced Surgical Associates of Northern Minnesota to see if weight loss surgery is right for you. To schedule, call us at our Hibbing, Duluth, or Ely, Minnesota, office, or book your consultation online