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Who Can Get Weight Loss Surgery?

Who Gets Weight Loss Surgery?

Weight loss surgery works, but it's serious stuff. Doctors usually only recommend it for people who are very overweight and face big medical problems because they can't lose weight.

People who get weight loss surgery — also called bariatric surgery — have to prepare for the operation, but there's a lot to do after surgery, too. Patients have to cope with the recovery time and learn to adjust to a whole new way of eating and living. That can be hard. Not everyone is ready for it.

Most doctors only do surgery when they're sure patients will make the effort to stay healthy for the rest of their lives.

What Makes a Good Patient?

Figuring out who's a good candidate for weight loss surgery is a big decision. It involves a lot of people: patients, families, doctors, nutritionists, and psychologists.

Teens can only be considered for weight loss surgery if:

Weight and age are just part of it, though. Before someone can get surgery, doctors look at a lot of other things:

Making the Decision

Anyone thinking about weight loss surgery should have several meetings with doctors and psychologists to decide if an operation is the best choice. Sometimes, doctors don't think a person is ready. Other times, patients and their families decide they're not there yet.

After hearing the facts about weight loss surgery, some people choose to try traditional weight loss options one more time — like eating better and getting more exercise.

Weight loss surgery is not for everyone. But the effort may be worth it for people whose health is affected by obesity and who are willing to make the commitment to a new way of life.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: April 2015

Note: All information on TeensHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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