Weighing the Option of Bariatric Surgery

Weighing the Option of Bariatric Surgery

Deciding to have a conversation about something deeply personal like weight is far from easy. Discussing what you eat, how much you exercise and other lifestyle habits can be intimidating and emotionally charged. But with access to bariatric medicine specialists close to home, the time may be right.

“Being significantly overweight doesn’t mean you’re a failure,” said Jeremy Bushman, MD, board-certified bariatric surgeon with Grand Health Partners. (Dr. Bushman performs bariatric surgery at Holland Hospital.) “Obesity isn’t simply a matter of willpower or behavior. It’s a complex, metabolic disease tied to genetic, cultural, social and emotional factors.”

“Talking to your primary care doctor is a great first step,” he added.

To help you begin the dialogue, here are some questions to consider:

  • Do I have an underlying health problem or medications that could be causing my struggles with weight?
  • What is body mass index (BMI), how is it calculated and what is my BMI?
  • What is a healthy weight for me?
  • How could losing weight help me?
  • What are some healthy ways to lose weight and keep it off?
  • Should I consider medical weight loss?
  • Are there medications that could help me lose weight?
  • What about bariatric surgery? Am I a candidate?
  • What should I look for in a weight-loss and/or bariatric program?
  • What qualifications should I look for in a bariatric surgeon?

Gain More From Your Life

Should you decide to explore bariatric surgery or a medically supervised weight-loss program, Holland Hospital Bariatric Services now offers close-to-home access to these services in partnership with Grand Health Partners.

As our patient, you can expect to spend significant time with a variety of providers who understand and are dedicated to treating obesity, including nutritionists, exercise physiologists, behavioral therapists and bariatric surgeons. Their single goal? Helping you improve your health and gain more from life.

“Transforming people’s lives through weight loss is our sole focus,” Dr. Bushman said, “and because we are bariatric specialists, we have more weight-loss tools in our toolbox.”

Is Bariatric Surgery Right for You?

Bariatric surgery isn’t right for everyone, but it can be a very successful option for many, especially with an experienced surgeon and comprehensive program behind you. “Bariatric surgery can offer big advantages,” Dr. Bushman said. “With diet and exercise alone, people with BMIs greater than 40 only have a 1% chance of losing weight and keeping it off, but with bariatric surgery, that percentage goes up to 90%.”

Along with losing excess weight, bariatric surgery can also deliver other health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, reducing joint pain, boosting energy levels and mood, decreasing cancer risks, and controlling diabetes. In fact, research shows that bariatric surgery can significantly improve complications and even lead to disease remission for obese individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Are You a Candidate?

Potential candidates for bariatric surgery include:

  • People with a BMI of 40 or higher.
  • People with a BMI of 35 to 39 and experiencing obesity-related conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep apnea or diabetes.
  • People who have made attempts at medical weight loss before.

For insurance authorization, most candidates first start with a weight-loss orientation, and from there, receive a complete medical evaluation, bloodwork and additional testing. “A six-month medically supervised weight-loss program is also usually required before insurance will cover bariatric surgery,” Dr. Bushman said. “While it may seem like a lot of hoops, the lifestyle education and preparation are worth jumping through.”

Learn more about weight-loss surgery and Holland Hospital Bariatric Services at our upcoming Facebook Premiere event, Dec 16 at 1 PM. Presented by our bariatric surgery experts from Grand Health Partners, Drs. Jeremy Bushman and Randal Baker.

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