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Bariatric Surgery

About bariatric surgery: Is bariatric surgery right for me?

At an Alberta Health Services bariatric clinic, you and your healthcare team will decide if bariatric surgery is the right treatment for you. Your experience will be your own. Your journey may be different than the journeys of others who are thinking about having bariatric surgery or who’ve had the surgery. Thinking about having the surgery is the first step in this journey.

Your doctor, surgeon, and other healthcare providers will also use guidelines as they work with you to help you decide if bariatric surgery is the right treatment.

Why do I want to have bariatric surgery?

Take time to think about why you want to have bariatric surgery. Use these questions to help you decide if bariatric surgery is right for you.

  • What are my reasons for wanting bariatric surgery?
  • Is bariatric surgery something I want or what someone else wants me to have?
  • Will bariatric surgery have an impact on being able to do things that are important to me?

Am I ready to make changes to my lifestyle that will last the rest of my life?

You’ll need to make changes before and after you have bariatric surgery. These changes will have to last the rest of your life. Knowing if you’re ready to make these changes will help you decide if bariatric surgery is the right choice for you.

You may want to think about:

  • Is this a good time to make a change for better health and weight?
  • When I’ve made changes in the past, what’s helped make these changes work?
  • Do I have all the information I need to make these changes?
  • If I don’t think bariatric surgery is right for me now, am I ready to look at other options that will help me manage my health and weight?

See After your surgery to find out more about the changes you’ll need to make and keep for the rest of your life after bariatric surgery.

Is bariatric surgery a good option for me?

Bariatric surgery may be a good option if you:

  • are over 18 years old
  • have a body mass index (BMI) that’s higher than 40 kg/m²​​​
  • ​​​​have a BMI that’s higher than 35kg/m² and 1 or more weight-related health problem, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, diabetes, or joint problems
  • have tried different ways to manage your weight but your weight is still high
  • understand the benefits and risks of bariatric surgery
  • are ready and able to make and keep lifestyle changes that will help your health get better after the surgery

Deciding if surgery is right for you is more than just meeting the guidelines. Each person has different treatment needs. Your healthcare team can help you develop a plan that’s best for you.

If you’re interested in learning more about bariatric surgery, talk to your healthcare team.

When is bariatric surgery not the right treatment?

Bariatric surgery may not be the right treatment for everyone with obesity. It may not be a good option if:

  • you’re younger than 18 or you’re an older adult
  • your body mass index (BMI) is not high enough
  • you have certain health conditions
  • your risk of surgery is too high
  • you aren’t able to understand or continue with the lifestyle changes you need to make
  • you smoke or vape (including tobacco, tobacco-like products, and cannabis)​
  • you can’t keep your appointments
  • you’re pregnant, planning on getting pregnant within 12 to 24 months after surgery, or breastfeeding

What if I want to have the surgery, but I’m not ready to make all of the changes?

There may be some things you’re not ready to do yet. That’s OK. Focus on the changes you’re ready to make. For the changes you aren’t ready to make, take time to learn why these changes are important.

It’s also normal to have other things going on in your life. You may need to deal with other things before you’re ready to have bariatric surgery.

Talk to your healthcare provider about what you can do and other ways to help manage obesity if you’re not ready to have the surgery.

What if I have more questions?

If you still have questions about bariatric surgery or don’t know what to do, write down your questions and concerns. Take them to your next appointment with your healthcare provider.​

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