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August 4, 2004

Other, Weight and Weight Loss

Question from Fairfield, California, USA:

I am 5'0" and weigh 210 pounds. I am desperate to lose weight. Is gastric bypass or a similar surgery in any way possible? I have had type 1 diabetes for 17 years. I have an A1c of 7.5. I am in good health otherwise, no other medical concerns besides the diabetes and weight, such as hypertension, retinal problems, other serious medical conditions.


Your question is a hard one to answer in a few words. Most surgical departments now have surgeons that perform some sort of weight loss surgery. The key is to work with someone with expertise gathered through training and experience. It is not a surgery without risk. Some people have even died after surgery. You need to speak with your medical physician and your surgeon to make sure you minimize your preoperative risks if you chose to have the surgery. Many programs have a mandatory waiting period of one year that allows for medical management and psychological counseling prior to a surgery. Your glucose management should be very good to assure good healing and avoidance of infection following the surgery. Finally, there are multiple procedures that are being performed. Be sure you know which one your surgeon performs and the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of surgery. For instance, some are short-term solutions whereas others have more durable weight loss associated with them. In the end, there is no absolute yes or know to your question. It is a compilation of risks versus benefits of the procedure.