Obesity in America has become a national epidemic, with 60 million Americans considered obese. This affects about one-third of the adult population and the figures have been rising since 1960. The government has declared obesity on the verge of passing smoking in the U.S. as being the leading cause of preventable death. Cost associated to the overweight and obesity is over $117 billion a year, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Is laparoscopic weight loss surgery the right option for me?
Recently some insurers have begun covering expensive laparoscopic weight loss surgery procedures because of its long-term benefits that are expected to decrease overall health care costs because of secondary diseases caused by obesity like:
- heart disease
Though highly effective for some people, laparoscopic weight loss surgery is not for everyone. In order to qualify for the procedure, a patient must have a body mass index of more than 40, or between 35 and 40 with associated health complications. A body mass index is the person's height to weight ratio.
After undergoing a laparoscopic weight loss surgery patients are required to make long-term lifestyle changes, which is not easy for many people to do. They will have to learn to eat differently and to exercise regularly. Failing to adhere to a new lifestyle can be dangerous. Patients must undergo physical, psychological, cardiac and sleep evaluations in order to even be considered for laparoscopic weight loss surgery.
How is the procedure performed?
Before laparoscopic weight loss surgery, 10 to 20 percent of patients who had weight loss surgery required follow-up operations to correct complications. The most common complication requiring follow-up surgery was abdominal hernia, a problem the laparoscopic weight loss surgery technique has been able to solve.
During the laparoscopic weight loss surgery the surgeon will make one or more small incisions to allow slender surgical instruments to pass through, eliminating the need for large incisions that results in less tissue damage and faster healing.
Weight loss surgery has been around for a long time, though it used to be associated to extremely risky outcomes. Even though laparoscopic weight loss surgery is a very serious procedure requiring a major lifestyle commitment on the patient's part, the improvement in efficacy and safety from the original gastric bypass surgeries has been dramatic.
The benefits of laparoscopic weight loss surgery are effective at not only treating the obesity problem, but the medical issues often connected to it as well. The Department of Health and Human Services has estimated obesity could be the cause of 300,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2004 alone. Surgical methods like laparoscopic weight loss surgery have allowed severely obese Americans to turn their life around.