Weighing In On The Right Weight Loss Surgery

Posted by e-Medical PPT Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bariatric surgery, or more commonly know as weight loss surgery, can be an elected alternative for a morbidly obese person to lose weight after other more traditional means (caloric restriction and increased exercise) have proven to be unsuccessful.

By definition, a person who is morbidly obese has a body mass index (BMI) level that is 40 or above, or a BMI higher than 35 or above accompanied by a serious medical condition, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. Even with these conditions, a person needs to seriously educate themselves on the severity of having weight loss surgery and the changes that will be associated with the surgery, both before and after the procedure.

A qualifying patient has to have already undergone a dramatic change in their caloric intake, as well as an increase in their physical activity, and perhaps even tried certain medications, with no effective results in weight loss. A surgeon will also communicate that weight loss surgery needs to be for the better good of the health of the patient and not for cosmetic reasons.

Advantages for choosing weight loss surgery include a decrease in body weight resulting in a healthier and more active lifestyle, thus improving the quality of a person's life. The possibility of reversing some weight related health conditions like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

The disadvantages to having weight loss surgery can vary depending on the type of weight loss surgery that is chosen by the patient. In general, the surgery results in a lifestyle change that has to be strictly followed by the patient after the surgery to have the expected success rate. This radical change in lifestyle is permanent in order for the weight to come off and stay off. Both gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy are also irreversible procedures. The side-effects of the surgeries can also be serious including: fluid leakage, pain and swelling, blood clots, weight gain due to stomach stretch, and infection.

Gastric band weight loss surgery is a procedure where a band is placed around the top of the stomach, which creates a small pouch for food to enter. Since this small pouch fills up much more quickly than the normal size stomach, the patient feels fuller faster, and eats less. The food in the small pouch then passes into the remainder of the stomach and travels as usual through the digestive system. The surgeon is able to control the size of the band using a pump under the skin. This typically is a few times after the surgery, so regular follow-ups are important. Most recipients of the gastric band surgery generally show a reduction in their weight between half and two-thirds.

Another variation of weight loss surgery is gastric bypass surgery. This procedure actually removes part of the stomach and the small intestine. The surgeon creates a smaller stomach at the top of the original stomach and then builds a bypass to a section of the small intestine, which results in the food consumed bypassing the old stomach and top of the small intestine. The length of small intestine bypassed can be adjusted to ensure that the patient is eating enough to maintain their weight at their particular height. Patients can expect to see weight loss results between two-thirds and three-quarters of their excess weight.

A third variation of weight loss surgery is called sleeve gastrectomy. The procedure removes about 25% of the stomach creating what resembles a sleeve or tube. The surgeon performs this surgery laparoscopically using a small flexible fiberoptic instrument. The lower part of the stomach is removed and then medical titanium staples are used to close up the remaining stomach. The laparoscopic technique is less invasive to the patient, which results in a faster post-op recovery time. Most patients see a decrease of half to two-thirds of their initial body weight with this procedure.

Weight loss surgery does offer some options for morbidly obese people who are still struggling to lose excess body weight, and who may also suffer from other weight related medical conditions. However, as with any surgery, each of these procedures comes with there own risks and side-effects and the patient needs to understand all of the information prior to having any operation. They also need to be well versed on the dramatic effects and responsibility it will require to maintain the results of the surgery.
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