3 Simple Steps for Deciding if You’re Ready for the Lap Band

Weight loss can be overwhelming.  And when an unfamiliar medical procedure is involved, it can be even harder!

You may have heard the saying, “Even a thousand mile journey begins with a single step.”  In order to determine if the Lap Band is right for you, you must take the first step. So, let’s take that step together – and maybe the second one too – so you can get the information you need to make an informed decision.

Step #1: See if you fit the general profile.

Generally, if you’re over 18, with a BMI of 30 or more (measure your BMI with our BMI calculator) and have tried unsuccessfully for years to lose weight, then you may be a candidate for Lap Band surgery.

Step #2: Learn more about the Lap Band.

If you haven’t already, you should read up on the Lap Band:

Also be sure to take a look too at what other knowledgeable sources have to say, including WebMD and the Mayo Clinic.

Step #3: Get a medical evaluation from the experts.

Once you’ve learned more and determined you’re a candidate, there’s one more step: go see a medical professional who knows all the ins and outs of Lap Band surgery.

This is such an important step.  Not everyone who walks in the door and meets the criteria above is going to be ready for Lap Band surgery.

In our Diagnostics department (where I work), we sit down with you and do a complete medical history and physical so we can see what’s going on with you head to toe. 

Some of the things we look at:

  • What known medical conditions do you have?  Are they stable?
  • What medications are you taking?
  • Have you had surgeries in the past, and how did it go?
  • What conditions have your family members had that might impact you too?

We’re looking for anything that could cause problems during surgery – breathing issues, heart problems, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, intolerance to anesthesia, etc.  If you’re worried one of these will show up, please don’t let that keep you away. Just because you’re not a candidate the first time you have your physical doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to get the surgery.  It may just mean a delay so you can resolve a medical issue. 

Recently a potential patient walked into my office.  Other than being overweight, he looked perfectly healthy.  Imagine his surprise when our medical exam revealed he was breathing at only 50 percent of lung capacity.  We sent him to a pulmonologist for treatment.  As a result, he got healthier, felt better and was cleared for Lap Band surgery.  And the weight loss that came with the surgery meant even more health benefits for him.

If your medical history, symptoms or blood work raise any concerns, we’ll send you for more tests.  Some of the most common tests are EKGs, breathing tests and sleep studies.  Those who have certain medical conditions will be asked to get clearance for surgery from a specialist, such as a cardiologist, neurologist, pulmonologist or oncologist.

Once it’s determined your health is stable and that you’re a good, safe candidate for a surgical procedure, you’ll be good to go!

I know it can be hard to take the first step, especially when you’ve struggled with weight loss before.  Here’s the good news: if you’re reading this article, you’ve already taken that first step.  Keep up the momentum and go for it!

- Steve Fandre

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