Bariatric surgery demystified

September 12, 2017 Lifestyle Diseases 10521 Views


Bariatric surgery

Obesity is a major problem. It is not only for a person’s physical health but also for his/her mental well being. Obesity can cause an array of physical illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes among others.

People who are obese an immense pressure to look a certain way, and find it difficult to be able to fit in the society.

This can seriously affect the person’s morale and self-esteem leading to problems like depression and bulimia among others. People with obesity often feel extremely demotivated as they do not seem to be able to lose the amount of weight that they desire. There are a few who may manage to beat the odds, but for those who are highly obese, traditional ways such as exercise and diets may not suffice. In such cases, you will need medical intervention in the form of surgeries.

What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery, or weight loss surgery, is an umbrella term that encompasses the various surgical procedures that surgeons use as a treatment for obesity. It is for people that have a BMI over 40 with or without co-existing morbidities. You may also be recommended surgery if your BMI is between 35 – 40 along with other health threats or illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease. It is usually enters the play when other methods of weight loss such as diets, exercise or medicines fail to show much improvement in a person’s condition.

Types of Bariatric Surgeries

There are many types of bariatric surgeries, the most common being Gastric Bypass Surgery, Lap banding and Sleeve Gastrectomy.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery reduces the amount of food one can consume, by reducing the size of the stomach and also reduces the amount of calories the person can consume through the food, thus aiding weight loss. The stomach is divided into two pouches, a small upper pouch and a larger lower pouch. The small intestine is then divided and rearranged, in a ‘Y’ configuration, and connected to the upper smaller pouch to enable passage of food. This procedure allows food to bypass most of the stomach and reach directly into the intestine, allowing less absorption of the food which would in turn reduce absorption of fats from the food causing weight loss.

Lap banding

Another type of surgery that can help with weight loss is the Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB). This procedure consists of an adjustable band that is placed around the stomach. The band is adjusted through a device called port. The port is placed under the skin by injecting or removing saline liquid. With a tighter band you may lose more weight as you will be able to eat less. It is usually performed on patients with a BMI of more than 30 with a co-existing medical condition.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

When the BMI is high (40 and above), lap banding may not be the best option considering the fact that weight loss is slower and takes longer. The risk to perform a bypass may also be too high. In such cases, surgeons may recommend a sleeve gastrectomy. They perform gastric sleeve surgery reducing the stomach to almost 15% of its original size. The surgeons staple open edges and remove the excess stomach tissue. Reducing the size of the stomach automatically reduces the amount of food one can consume thus aiding in weight loss.

Why should one do a Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgeries are extremely helpful in the reduction of weight. They also help in the improvement of other obesity-related conditions such as sleep apnea. You can lose almost 60-70 percent of the excess weight depending on the type of surgery and your condition. The success rates are also higher in comparison to the complications or risks involved. There are chances that you might regain weight after some time. But it would still be lower when you’ll compare it to the weight you lose due to the surgery. In addition to surgery, maintaining a healthy lifestyle such as eating healthy and exercising are essential.

Bariatric surgeries entail their own risk. For more information, book an appointment with a bariatric surgeon today. 

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