Weight-Loss Surgery: Challenges Facing the Pre-Surgical Patient


Weight-loss surgery can seem like a big step, but for the morbidly obese, the challenges of daily life can be their own kind of struggle. Prior to surgery, many patients report quality of life issues, from struggling to find clothes that fit properly to not having enough energy to make it through the day.

The psychological toll can be high, as well, with obesity being linked to poor body image and self-esteem, and even depression. According to research published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, obese individuals had a 55 percent increased risk of developing depression over time.

Physical complications from obesity can be just as alarming, if not more so. Compared to people at a healthy weight, those with morbid obesity are at increased risk for developing more than 40 diseases and conditions, including:

  • Joint problems
  • Sleep apnea
  • Gastroesophagael reflux disorder (GERD)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Certain cancers

Even more sobering, individuals who are obese, defined as a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30, have between a 50 and 100 percent increased risk of premature death than those who maintain a healthy weight, according to the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery.

The good news is that weight-loss surgery can significantly reduce this risk, and help prevent, reduce, or resolve many of the other individual health risks associated with morbid obesity in the majority of cases. The team at the Penn Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Program offers comprehensive care for patients contemplating weight-loss surgery including, psychiatric evaluation, nutrition counseling, and patient support groups, ensuring that every patient’s unique challenges are met.

Learn more about the program, and sign up for a free weight-loss surgery information session here.