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After Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery has become one of the most rapidly growing areas of surgery in the United States today. Obesity in the U.S. is now recognized as a disease and has been categorized as a national epidemic, affecting 60 million Americans. More than 23 million Americans are considered to be morbidly obese, which is defined as at least 100 pounds overweight. As weight loss surgery is being performed more and more, advances in surgical techniques and increased scientific knowledge has greatly reduced the high risks associated to the procedures, though the surgeries still carry high risk and are still last resort methods for qualified individuals willing to adapt to a new lifestyle after weight loss surgery.

In order to be qualified for a weight loss surgery, there will be strict requirements that must be met, which varies slightly depending on doctors, insurers and other factors. A person must have a body mass index, the person's height to weight ratio, of more than 40, or between 35 and 40 with associated complications like hypertension, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. With more than 23 million Americans considered morbidly obese, or at least 100 pounds overweight, weight loss surgery has been successful in long-term studies showing it has a significant rate for maintaining the loss after weight loss surgery.

Patients must be prepared to deal not only with physical changes after weight loss surgery, but psychological ones as well. Many patients are starting to view weight loss surgery as no more serious than a gallbladder removal surgery, or something similar, however dealing with changes after weight loss surgery has been described as the most grueling part of the process. Eating habits and exercise must be changed drastically after weight loss surgery or patients can risk complication. As technological advances have allowed weight loss surgery to become as perfected as possible and as minimally invasive as possible, the surgery reroutes the digestive system and a patient not able to understand these implications will not be prepared for life after weight loss surgery.

After undergoing a physical evaluation, as well as psychological, cardiac and sleep evaluations, patients are better prepared to make the changes necessary after weight loss surgery. Many doctors are hoping weight loss surgery used properly will be able to address both the obesity problems present in the U.S. as well as the risks of secondary disease caused by obesity. Since the increase in gastric bypass surgery has been a very recent development, with the number of surgeries climbing from 40,000 procedures in 2001 to 120,000 procedures in 2003, experts will be evaluating its impact on the overall number of obesity related health effects that occur after weight loss surgery when long-term data is able to be compiled.

As the after weight loss surgery effects begin to show, some patients will be unable to see the extreme difference in their appearance because of the extra, loose skin that will be hanging from their body. The outer skin can develop into extra folds since such a substantial loss of mass occurs after weight loss surgery. In order to get rid of this excess skin, a person may choose to have plastic surgery to complete the transformation that has been achieved after weight loss surgery. It is best to wait until all the weight has been shed and the goal weight is stable for at least a year after weight loss surgery before deciding to have the plastic surgery performed.