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Quality of Life After Successful Weight Loss Surgery

Five 'successful losers' tell their story about life after bariatric surgery.
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WebMD Feature

Are you on the fence about weight loss surgery? There are good reasons to think long and hard about it -- as well as reasons to do it.

That’s because, as the pounds melt away, people feel the difference immediately -- and that helps them embrace a new mind-set, says Anita Courcoulas, MD, MPH, chief of minimally invasive bariatric surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

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You may be a candidate for weight loss surgery if: You're an obese adult, especially if you have a weight-related condition, such as type 2 diabetes. You know the risks and benefits. You're ready to adjust how you eat after the surgery. You're committed to making lifestyle changes to keep the weight off. Teens usually don't get weight loss surgery unless they're extremely obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35, and with a weight-related condition. If you're thinking...

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"They learn what it feels like to feel better and have improved health," she tells WebMD. "The surgery gives them a tool to reinforce the positive lifestyle changes. That's where support groups are really important, too, in reinforcing their commitment."

Want to know more? These profiles should give you a sharper picture of life after successful weight loss surgery.

Joy (Jray946) on WebMD's Message Board:

Joy had gastric bypass surgery a little over a year ago -- and reached her goal by the ninth month out.

"I am so glad I had the surgery. In fact, every time someone tells me how great I look it makes me feel like a million bucks," she says. "I would recommend it to others. In fact I have and some of them are well on their way to reaching their goals."

To maintain her weight and health, Joy exercises almost every day. "I feel so much better for the change," she says. "My health has improved so much my doctors are amazed. I am able to do things that a year ago I could never have managed, such as playing basketball with my grandchildren."

Joy's dress size has dipped from 26/28 to a size 8. "My husband is so proud of me ... says he has a new wife!"

Joy's key challenge: Joy has a lot of loose skin, which she didn't expect. Because of serious reactions to anesthesia, surgery to remove it may be too risky. Daily exercise is keeping the weight off, but so far it hasn't helped tighten her skin much. She keeps a positive attitude: "I tell everyone that I have become a sexy senior citizen with my new look, and they agree."

Mignon P., Memphis, Tenn.:

Four years ago, 27-year-old Mignon weighed 275. After gastric banding surgery, she is now 160 -- well past her original goal of 175. "My mom says ‘Don't you lose any more weight,’" she says. "That's something I've never heard!"

Overweight since childhood, Mignon tried everything -- Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, fad diets. The decision to have weight loss surgery was difficult, but once she had made up her mind, the rest was easy.

Mignon's key challenge: She doesn't like getting adjustments in her band. It requires a needle stick in the abdomen -- and "the stick is nothing compared to the sight of that needle," she says. "I just close my eyes. I know it's going to fix my health in a positive direction."

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