Have you thought about weight loss surgery, but don’t know where to turn for information? Are you confused about advertising you have seen for gastric banding, and in search of more information? In this article, you will learn the 7 Steps to answering the question: “Is Weight Loss Surgery with a Lap-Band or Realize Band for me?
At present, according to the NIH, 66% of the US adult population is overweight, roughly 33% is obese, and approximately 15million Americans are classified as morbidly obese. The author of this article was one of them. Obesity is a growing health problem. Weight loss surgery is being recommended as an option to treat diabetes, and heart disease in people who have failed to reach and maintain a healthy weight with diet and exercise alone.
I was someone who struggled with obesity all my life, but now I am someone who has successfully used a Lap-Band to reach and maintain my desired weight. I also struggled with how to research the surgery. There is a lot of information available on the web, some more reliable than others. My Lap-Band mentor and I have come up with a step by step approach to help make an informed decision grounded in realistic expectations.
· Step 1: Build Your Team (this step is ongoing; you will add to your team throughout your journey)
The goal of this step is to build the best team, to help you understand your options. You also need to understand what support you will or won’t get from the people closest to you. Your team includes: your family and loved ones, your primary care physician, the barariatric surgeon you choose, other patients you can learn from, your friends and colleagues
· Step 2: Build Foundation
In this step you get the facts. Gastric Banding is not for everyone and you need the facts. You need to understand if you fit within NIH Guidelines and your insurance guidelines. You should learn how a band may or may not help improve your health concerns. You should also learn about other weight loss options and other weight loss surgeries available.
· Step 3: Set Goals
The purpose of this step is to establish realistic goals in terms of weight, health and quality of life
· Step 4: Understand Life with a Band
The goal of this step is of this step is to be able to understand why the Lap-Band option is different than all the diets you’ve been on. You should learn how the band works, learn what “restriction” is, learn “”rules of the band”, understand the role of aftercare, understand your eating habits and what needs to change with a band
· Step 5: Attend a Seminar
Most surgical practices offer free informational seminars. Once you have the facts, and have begun to understand what life is like with a band, you can get the most from these free informational seminars. The seminar is a great way to learn about banding and your prospective surgeon and his or her program including aftercare. It may also be an opportunity to meet other patients, and staff from the surgeon’s practice.
· Step 6: Initial Surgical Consult
If you make it this far, you are probably seriously considering getting a Lap-Band. This is your opportunity to get your specific questions answered, and learn more about the surgeon and his/her practice. People who get bands need to see their doctor often, especially during the first year. You need to determine if the practice is for you.
· Step 7: Put it All Together
Having done all your homework, you are in a position to make an informed decision grounded in facts and realistic expectations. If you chose to proceed with surgery, you are well-informed and prepared.
In future articles, we will each of these steps in more detail.