If you have significant problems with excess weight, of course, you should at least consider weight loss surgery. You only get one pass through life and you must not reduce your quality or quantity of that life by ignoring a possible solution to this chronic and disabling problem. You should know what options are available and have some estimate of the benefits they could bring to you and the costs and risks that go with each option.
The first step is decide if you have a significant problem. Let’s ask you some questions:
Is your obesity severe enough?
We usually discuss the levels of obesity by referring to the body mass index (BMI) which is calculated by dividing your weight in kg by the square of your height in metres. You need to have a BMI greater than 30 to be considered for gastric banding and it should be above 35 to be considered for the stapling procedures.
Is your obesity associated with health problems?
Obesity causes or makes worse more than 30 different diseases. The common ones include diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea, heartburn, back pain, asthma, anxiety states, infertility, hip or knee pain and depression. And there are many others.
Is your obesity limiting you physically and socially?
Do you find you have difficulty doing the simple activities of daily living such as tying shoe laces, attending to personal hygiene, buying clothes and getting in and from your car?
Do you feel embarrassed by your appearance and tend to avoid social activity except with your close family?
Are you concerned that your obesity is likely to reduce your life expectancy?
We know that, across the community, people who are obese will die earlier than those with normal weight. We cannot easily predict what will happen to any individual but we know that, if you are obese, you are at increased risk.
Have you tried and failed to control your weight with the lifestyle treatments?
The lifestyle treatments should always come first. These include the various measures to get you to eat less and do more such as the never-ending list of diets plus exercise programs, diet pills, and Jenny Craig or other commercial weight loss groups.
If your BMI is greater than 30, if you are concerned about missing out on those extra years of life, if the quality of what life you do have is being reduced by the health problems or physical and social restrictions that your obesity places on your life and if you have given the lifestyle measures enough of a try to know they will not solve your problem then, yes, you should consider weight loss surgery.