Gastric Bypass Diet PDF and High BMI Risks

Question Below Submitted By:  

Susan (a patient from Tuscaloosa)

I know that sometimes in order to get the benefits of bariatric surgery you need to follow the pre op before and after diet. I downloaded a gastric bypass diet pdf, and it all make senses. The PDF also said that the higher the BMI, the more risk there is for surgery, and so we’re all encouraged to lose as much weight as possible prior to surgery.

I have a BMI of 45, I know this is high… Do the benefits of bariatric surgery outweigh the risks of gastric bypass at this BMI? Will the pre gastric bypass diet get me to a safe enough weight where I can get this surgery without major risk?

I keep reading it’s best to lose as much weight as possible before surgery, so I’m nervous about being this heavy and the potential surgical risks involved.

Thanks,
Susan

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Expert Responses to the Question Above

Surgeon Response To: Gastric Bypass Diet PDF and High Risk BMI's

by: Dr. John Rabkin, M.D.

Dear Bonnie,

You should feel confident heading into your Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) at your current BMI of 45. WLS is very safe and is routinely performed on patients with MUCH higher BMIs than 45. In fact, a BMI of 45 is considered at or below average for patients undergoing WLS. The benefits of WLS ABSOLUTELY outweigh the risks provided that all other potential medical considerations in your case are routine (in other words that you don't have any specific medical condition that makes WLS abnormally "high risk" for you).

With the above in mind, you are correct that complications can and do occasionally occur when patients undergo WLS. The risks do increase with increasing BMI as well as other conditions/situations such as being non-ambulatory, overly sedentary, de-conditioned, etc. Many studies in the WLS literature outline the reduced risk of complications if WLS patients achieve a prescribed wight loss prior to the WLS. This weight loss provides for a technically easier operative procedure in part by a reduction in the size of the left side of the liver which sits in front of the stomach and needs to be moved out of the way to perform the surgery.

Therefore, optimizing your health prior to WLS is strongly recommended. This includes losing weight (if able) as well as being active with a routine exercise regimen and optimizing treatment of any associated medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension before WLS. The recommended 'pre WLS diet' outlined by your WLS provider should allow you to lose the (often required) weight in advance of your surgery.

John M. Rabkin, M.D.
Pacific Laparoscopy

(click here for Dr. Rabkin's full bio & contact info)

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the details provided. The above should never replace the advice of your local physicians as they have the ability to evaluate you in person.

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