Robin Wilk, 58, of Woodland Hills made an appointment to see weight-loss surgeon Dr. Mark Paya a few years ago.
Weight-loss surgery can come with risks, because many who seek these procedures already suffer from chronic illnesses due to obesity.
Dr. Paya says that's why it's important to be strict about screening patients before surgery.
"We do blood work, chest X-ray, EKG, sometimes we have to do echo on their heart to make sure these patients are candidates for surgery," said Paya.
Wilk did a lot of research before she chose her doctor.
Paya says you should look for a program that offers nutritional and psychological counseling. Plus make sure a facility's designated as a "center of excellence" by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
"Performing a lot of surgeries, you have great outcomes and a very low complication rate, you're designated as a center of excellence."
Wilk first had a Lap-Band, but had to have it removed due to side effects. Her options included the gastric bypass or the fairly new gastric sleeve.
"We take the normal size stomach and we reduce it down to a very thin, slender stomach that basically looks like a banana," said Paya.
How successful and how well you tolerate any of these procedures depends on your age, how much weight you have to lose and any medical conditions you may have.
"But if somebody who's older, who's got diabetic hypertension, who needs to lose 150 pounds, we don't recommend the Lap-Band for them," said Paya.
Wilk underwent the gastric-sleeve procedure a few years ago. Since then, she's learned a whole new way of eating and lost 30 inches.
One of the most important things, experts say, is to have good rapport with your surgeon. Make sure he or she is willing to spend time describing and discussing the procedure as well as how things may be after surgery.