Weight Loss Surgery: Am I Suitable? | Great Health Guide
Weight Loss Surgery: Am I Suitable?

Weight Loss Surgery: Am I Suitable?

Written by Dr Ken Wong principal bariatric surgeon

Many of us have been reflecting on our health during this Covid pandemic. We became more aware of the importance of our health and that life is very precious and that time is not to be wasted. For many of us, our body weight is something that we have struggled with over many years. We have tried endless diets, exercises, hypnosis and everything else in between. We lose weight sometimes but it always seems to come back on with interest.

Weight loss surgery has become very popular in recent times. It is estimated that over 50% of Australians are battling with excess body weight. You may even have met people who have undergone surgery. Is it something that you should consider?

“50% of Australians are battling

with excess body weight.”

Surgery may be suitable on the following grounds.

1. Commitment to lifestyle change.

Like anything in the weight loss journey, surgery is not a magic trick or a quick fix. It is definitely not an easy way out. It is however, a very useful tool in your battle to achieve a healthier body weight with all its attendant benefits, improved quality of life, improved mobility and generally to be the best version of yourself. The research is conclusive that there is no stronger tool currently available to achieve and sustain weight loss than surgical intervention. However, without a commitment to changing diet and exercise, the surgery will fail.

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2. Accepting that there are risks of surgery.

Everything we do has risks, from crossing the road to having surgery. Surgery for weight loss can have a small chance of disastrous complications and cause issues such as reflux which can be permanent. However, we need to weigh up the certain risks of doing nothing about excess weight/obesity such as diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, versus the lower incidence of surgical risks.

3. Satisfying the medical guidelines for weight loss surgery.

This is not cosmetic surgery. It is not suitable for someone who has gained a few kilograms after a good holiday, indulging in too many wines and fine food. In order to make sure that the benefits of surgery outweigh the risks, the person must meet defined criteria in terms of height and weight. Usually this is measured with a calculation called a body mass index (BMI). The BMI is simply the person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of the body height in meters, that is, expressed kg/m². For example, a person weighing 70kg and is 1.7m tall has a BMI of 24. Weight loss surgery is generally recommended if one’s BMI is greater than 40 or between 35 to 40 if there are associated medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Generally, surgery is best for people between the ages of 18-70.

4. Are you mentally and emotionally ready for surgery.

Surgery is a big step to deal with both mentally and emotionally. Many have tried and failed. So, it is important that you have realistic expectations for surgery. It does not transform you overnight. People with various alcohol, drug addictions and psychological eating disorders such as binge eating will not do well from surgery and would not be suitable.


If you believe that you are prepared physically, emotionally and mentally to consider weight loss surgery and meet the defined medical criteria, it is best to talk to a trained professional such as a weight loss surgeon. They can discuss the various types of weight loss surgery that will best suit your individual circumstances.

Author of this article:

Dr. Ken Wong is a specialist gastro-intestinal and weight loss surgeon based in Gosford, New South Wales, Australia.  He works closely with dietitians and psychologists in order to maximise health outcomes for his patients. Dr Wong can be contacted via his website.

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