Are You A Candidate For Weight Loss Procedures?

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- Last night, we told you about the Caldwell family on the FOX Files.

After a life-long battle with obesity, Mike and Shelly Caldwell and their son Mike, have lost a combined total of 432 pounds through bariatric or weight loss surgery and they are still losing. 

 Dad has lost 183 pounds with gastric bypass. Both mom and son Mike had a newer procedure called the "sleeve." Mom has lost 96 pounds, Mike 153, both plan to lose another hundred plus.

Today, we have a follow-up on these surgeries that restrict food intake and absorption of calories.  Are you a good candidate for such a procedure? If so, what kind?

Doctors use guidelines established by the NIH based on the body mass index, an index of weight in relation to your height.

 Good candidates have a BMI of 40 or more or a BMI of 35 or more with diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Doctor Esteban Varela of Washington University performs three types.

The most common bariatric surgery, performed laparoscopically, it restricts food intake by creating a small gastric pouch and reduces absorption of nutrients by by-passing the stomach. Good for weight loss and helping with health problems like diabetes.

The laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is a newer procedure that is growing in popularity.

It's a more straight forward surgery and easier on patients who've had a lot of stomach surgery with resulting scar tissue. Weight loss and health benefits are good.

The sleeve is sometimes used in a two-step surgery for the super obese to drop the first 100-200 pounds, followed by a gastric bypass.

The lap band cinches off the top of the stomach, restricting food intake and making you feel full. Dr. Varela says it's a safe procedure with no cutting or reouting. But it does not provide as good a weight loss as the other procedures is becoming less popular and has even been dropped by some programs.