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Morbid obesity is a complex, multifactorial chronic disease. For many patients, the risk of death from not having the surgery is much greater than the risk of complications of having the procedure.
That is the main reason why between 1998 and 2006 the volume of weight
loss surgery in the United States rose 1,494% from 13,386 to 200,000
procedures performed annually.
Patients who have had the procedure and are benefiting from its results report improvements in their quality of life, social interactions, psychological well-being, employment opportunities and economic condition. In clinical studies, candidates for the procedure who had multiple obesity-related health conditions questioned whether they could safely have the surgery. These studies show that selection of surgical candidates is based on very strict criteria and surgery is an option for the majority of patients.
Weight loss surgery is major surgery. Its growing use to treat morbid obesity is the result of three factors:
Surgery should be viewed first and foremost as a method for alleviating debilitating, chronic disease. In most cases, the minimum qualification for consideration as a candidate for the procedure is 100 lbs. above ideal body weight or those with a Body Mass Index of 40 or greater.
Occasionally a procedure will be considered for someone with a BMI of 35 or higher if the patient's physician determines that obesity-related health conditions have resulted in a medical need for weight reduction and, in the doctor's opinion, surgery appears to be the only way to accomplish the targeted weight loss. In many cases, patients are required to show proof that their attempts at dietary weight loss have been ineffective before surgery will be approved. More important, however, is the commitment on the part of the patient to required, long-term follow-up care. Most surgeons require patients to demonstrate serious motivation and a clear understanding of the extensive dietary, exercise and medical guidelines that must be followed for the remainder of their lives after having weight loss surgery (see Life After Surgery).
You may hear comments from people suggesting that surgery is the "easy way out". People, who uderwent successful weight loss surgery can testify that this is not true. Surgery is just a tool that one can utilize to facilitate weight loss attempts, but a lifelong dedication is necessary for ultimate success.
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