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Is Obesity Surgery Right For You?

Apr 27, 2018

Living a life as an obese adult can have a major effect on everyday quality of life. Many individuals will consider weight loss surgery in order to live a better life. Having weight loss surgery is a procedure that will have lasting effects on the patient's life. Making the decision to have weight loss surgery is one that cannot be taken lightly, mostly because it is a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Adults who have weight related illnesses are more likely to be approved for weight loss surgery. There are several different types of weight loss surgery but all involve altering the size of the stomach, intestine, or both. In general, individuals need to meet certain criteria before being considered for bariatric surgery. A body mass index, or BMI, must be above 30 is needed and adults that have a weight related illness such as type 2 diabetes or have had a heart attack are more likely to be approved for surgery. A commitment to lifestyle changes is also one of the criteria that doctors will look for prior to approving surgery. Once the surgery has been completed, no matter which procedure is performed, patients will have to make major modifications in regard to diet especially in the first few weeks as the body recovers. It is possible that a liquid diet will be necessary for several week post operation and new foods will need to be introduced slowly. There are many things to consider prior to deciding if weight loss surgery is the best choice.

How Does Weight Loss Surgery Work?

There are 4 different types of weight loss surgery that are commonly used today. In general, weight loss surgery restricts the amount of food that can enter the stomach, or restricts absorption of the nutrition in the food that is eaten. Gastric sleeve and gastric banding (lap band) surgeries reduce the size of the stomach in order to limit the amount of food that can be comfortably consumed. Gastric sleeve surgery cuts off about 75% of the existing stomach and attaches it to the intestines. Gastric Bypass creates a small pouch to limit food consumption and the stomach is also directly connected to the intestines. Biliopancreatic Bypass is an option that is not widely used but available. This option is similar to gastric bypass as it reduces the size of the stomach and connects directly to the small intestine. This option is not popular because it limits the amount of nutrients a patient absorbs.

Questions and Answers

There are many questions that may arise when deciding if weight loss surgery is the best decision.

Q: How long is the recovery for weight loss surgery?

A: Recovery is based on which surgery option is chosen and based on the individual having the surgery. Post op, depending on surgery type, a hospital stay of 3-5 days is common. Most procedures are done laparoscopically with minimal incisions. IT might take 3-5 weeks to get back to normal activity.

Q: What kinds of food can be eaten post-surgery?

A: At first a liquid diet is needed until the stomach heals. Slowly the doctor will all solid foods to be incorporated. Small, frequent and healthy meals are best to maintain and stomach size and prompt continued weight loss.

Q: Is the weight loss surgery reversible?

A: Gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and biliopancreatic bypass at not reversible procedures. Gastric banding, lap band, is reversible.

Q: What are the complications of weight loss surgery?

A: Weight loss surgery can have some long-lasting effects. Each patient is different, and complications are on an individual basis. Some long-term complications include dumping syndrome, iron or calcium deficiencies, wound infections, bowel issues, and Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Complications are low, generally less than 10% of patients experience complications.

Q: How much weight will be lost?

A: It is important to remember that weight loss surgery is a commitment to make healthy lifelong changes, and results can vary from person to person. It is best to consult your surgeon to determine your expected weightloss. 

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