Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, helps you lose weight lowering the risk of other health problems such as obesity.
It is the operation by which you lose weight by making changes to your digestive system in two ways:
- One is to limit the amount of food your stomach can hold that further limits the number of calories you can eat.
- Another is the operation which is used to bypass part of the small intestine reducing the number of nutrients and calories the body absorbs.
Top risks of being Overweight
- Being overweight may bring a lot of health problems such as heart diseases, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. Therefore, shedding weight may prevent or slow down many of them.
- You could get breathless quickly while doing simple activities such as climbing stairs. Your body may prevent your lungs from expanding fully so you may face trouble while breathing.
- Fat starts building up in the liver which may scar the healthy tissues in the liver. This may cause fatty liver disease.
- The more the weight of your body, the more is the pressure and strain on your joints and cartilage which protects the ends of your bones causing pain and stiffness.
- Gallstones may form in the gallbladder when the digestive fluid solidifies. This happens when you have more cholesterol in the bile. This is another problem due to excess weight.
Which is the most common weight loss surgery?
The most common types of weight-loss surgery are:
Gastric bypass, also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, works by decreasing the amount of food you eat and reducing the nutrition absorption. In this operation, the surgeon staples your stomach, creating a pouch in the upper portion of the stomach. It makes your stomach smaller and limits the food you can comfortably eat and drink at one time.
In the other part, the small intestine is cut a short distance below the main stomach and connected to the main pouch. So the food flows directly from the pouch to this part of the intestine. The bypassed section is still attached to the main stomach so that the digestive juice can move from the stomach and the first part of the small intestine to the lower part of the small intestine.
Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band
In laparoscopic surgery, an adjustable gastric band is placed around the upper part of the stomach that contains an inflatable balloon. A port is placed under the skin of the abdomen which is connected to the band via a tube. The balloon can be inflated or deflated and size can be adjusted by injecting or removing the fluid from the port. So gastric banding restricts the amount of food that your stomach can hold.
Gastric sleeve surgery or sleeve gastrectomy
In this surgery, a portion of the stomach is separated and removed from the body. The remaining stomach is stapled and formed into a tubelike structure. This small portion of the stomach cannot hold much food.
How do you qualify for weight loss surgery?
Weight loss is a major life-changing procedure. You may require certain guidelines to qualify for weight loss surgery. So, gastric bypass or other weight loss surgery could be your option if :
- You were unsuccessful with diet and exercise.
- Your body mass index is 40 or higher.
- If you have serious problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea, and your BMI is 35 or more.
The doctors and dietitians evaluate you if you are eligible for weight loss surgery and ready to undergo the process psychologically.
How much weight do you lose after weight loss surgery?
The amount of weight loss depends on the individual and on the type of surgery he or she opts. A study followed people after surgery found that the patient loses on an average of 40% of the access weight. But keep in mind that achieving your goal is not just about taking surgery, it is also about maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout your life.
Open vs Laparoscopic
In open surgery, your surgeon makes a long incision to open the abdomen and operates with “traditional” medical instruments. Whereas in laparoscopic surgery, or minimally invasive surgery, the surgeon performs the same types of procedures using a few small incisions, a fiber-optic camera, a video monitor and long-handled precision instruments.
People prefer laparoscopic surgery for the following reasons:
- No cuts, no pain, no wounds
- Short hospital stay
- Quick recovery
- Performed by highly experienced doctors
Weight loss surgery vs diet and exercise- which is the best way?
Obese people must consider several options to lose weight and lead a healthy lifestyle whether you opt for weight loss surgery or diet and exercise. Let us discuss the pros and cons of both.
Diet and exercise
A healthy and nutritious diet must be an essential part of life whether you need weight loss or not. Physical exercise provides plenty of mental benefits by elevating moods. A well-balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables increase energy levels and helps prevent brain disorders.
- You may save money without surgery: Many patients have the insurance coverage for weight loss surgery while some may not. People find the other option more cost-effective where they hire a personal trainer or get healthy meals to stay fit and healthy.
- No risks associated if you choose diet and exercise: Some people may choose open surgeries that have the risk of wound infections, blood clots or slow recovery. There is no such side effect if you follow a proper diet and regular exercise as your weight loss option.
- Weight loss may take longer: Weight loss depends on the body of each person when you chose diet and exercise. Exercise alone may not result in weight loss, proper food is equally important. You need to follow a regime which may even take longer.
- Need vigilance for diet and exercise to be effective: It is vital to put control over your food intake. Sometimes you may feel tempted and eat more which may cause more weight gain.
Sometimes the weight gain is genetic and people don’t see a noticeable change even after making dietary changes and regular exercise.
If you have tried to lose weight through diet and exercise and still haven’t lost that excess weight, weight loss surgery may be the answer. Patients considering weight loss surgery should talk to a doctor for insights and recommendation.
- Easy control over food intake: The purpose of weight loss surgery is to reduce food intake and reducing the size of the stomach. Therefore, after surgery, you start eating less and lose weight. It naturally helps you feel full more quickly.
- Weight loss surgery does not require much recovery time: Laparoscopic weight loss surgery does not require much time for recovery. It is a painless and no cuts process. There are only small incisions through which the surgery is performed. So there are negligible chances of infection or blood clots.
- Relief from other health issues which were results of obesity: Improved cardiovascular health, relief from depression, joint pain relief, improved fertility and lot more.
- It is a surgical process: Surgery can make anyone nervous – anesthesia, uneasiness, stress. But after surgery, these feeling usually subside replacing them with confidence and happiness.
- Need to make positive dietary and lifestyle changes: If you undergo weight loss surgery, you must be ready to make positive changes to your food habits. That is beneficial if you want to sustain long-term weight loss results. Exercise is important to reduce the risk of other diseases and gain mental health benefits.
Consult a doctor for post-surgery dietary changes because it varies from body to body and the type of weight loss surgery you opt.
Decide if you want to go for surgery, starting with a weight loss surgery consultation. Understand your nutritional needs before, during and after the surgery. Even after the surgery, maintain a physically active lifestyle. Start your journey with a doctor by your side. Weight loss surgery may transform your life and jump start your health.