The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal reported that obesity is a global health problem. According to an article published on December 2013, about one-third of the world population are having problems with weight, either they are overweight or obese. Healthcare experts believe that the consequences of having such condition are difficult to defeat. Obesity is a major culprit why people with weight problems encounter certain diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases. Common consequences of obesity are physiological and psychological in nature. However, cardiometabolic consequences share the major spot.
Dietary and physical weight loss programs have been proven effective in defeating obesity. However, lifestyle changes have not been quite effective at a population level. Women, especially, who come to age of 35 onwards have been encountering metabolic problems to which the body has the natural tendency to exceed its normal weight. By this time, women, as well as men with unhealthy lifestyles, lose the ability to control their weight. Thus, the last solution to this problem is through surgery.
Bariatric surgery can be regarded as the last resort to losing weight if diet and exercise are less effective. Those who are desperate to lose weight find bariatric surgery as the most effective in the treatment of obesity because they believe this is quicker and is a more realizable solution to weight loss.
The effects of bariatric surgery are discussed by bariatric surgeons concerning the process and the physiological changes the body will undergo post surgery. Using minimally invasive surgery, bariatric surgeons will explore in detail the safety and possible adverse effects concerning bariatric surgery so that patients who decide to go on with the procedure are well informed before making a decision.
What is bariatric surgery?
If you are familiar with gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or lap band surgery, they are procedures that define bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery is an encompassing idea which concerns weight loss treatment by any surgical method done on the intestines or stomach. Gastric balloons and duodenal switch also fall under this category.
Bariatric surgery is done based on the examples mentioned. One of the most popular today using minimally invasive surgery is laparoscopic surgery or lap band surgery. Gastric bypassing or restricting are two major points of bariatric surgery in the aim to limit the amount of food your stomach can hold, making you feel fuller. The reason why people with obesity come at that morbid stage is because the stomach and some physiological reasons fail to send signals to your brain that you are full but always feeling hungry, giving you the tendency to satiate hunger through uncontrolled eating. Generally, every type of bariatric surgery has its own advantage and disadvantage. Thus, prepping up the one who will undergo surgery should take healthful steps to avoid complications.
Why do you need bariatric surgery?
Since obesity results to common health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, it is hard to reverse the condition. Bariatric surgery procedures are considered effective and a safe solution against obesity. Bariatric surgery is offered to individuals who exceeded the body mass index (BMI) criteria. Those with a BMI of more than 40 kg/m2 and when all non-invasive options fail, bariatric surgery is the ultimate choice.
There are other conditions or signals that define your body exceeded the allowable weight. If you cannot manage to move comfortably anymore, then something is wrong and something has to be done. What are the signs that you have reached the benchmark of obesity?
- When you breathe heavily just taking a few steps on the stairs.
- When you cannot squat.
- When you your arms cannot touch the floor when you are bending.
- When you have plus-size clothes.
- When you occupy two seats in a bus.
- When you cannot stand for long.
- When you struggle to button your jeans.
- When your knees and feet hurt when you walk.
- When you cannot tie your shoes or wear socks without assistance.
What to do before the surgery
Patients who are aware that their lives are endangered due to obesity decide to undergo bariatric surgery. In bariatric surgery, portions of the digestive system are “bypassed” or “reduced” by putting up lap bands (some kind of a belt or balloon) around the stomach to make it appear smaller. We know that the stomach serves as the pouch where food goes. Once the pouch becomes smaller, the individual will begin to lose weight and should start to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle for the procedure to be more effective. Dietary and lifestyle changes are crucial before you decide to undergo bariatric surgery. To understand this procedure better, the obese individual may want to get to know the different types of bariatric surgery.
Identifying the types of bariatric surgery
- Lap Band Surgery—In full form it is called laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding and is a minimally invasive weight loss procedure. The bariatric surgeon will place a silicone ring with an inflatable balloon around the upper portion of the stomach, creating a small pouch. The smaller pouch is intended to make you feel fuller after eating a small portion of food. Overtime, you will get used to it and digestions will occur normally. The band is adjustable and the bariatric surgeons will inflate or deflate the balloon by removing or injecting the saline solution depending on the need of the patient. If the procedure is not effective, surgeons adjust the band through follow-up visits.
- Gastric Bypass Surgery—This surgery involves stapling your stomach to create a smaller pouch, wherein you feel fuller after eating less. The concept of “bypassing” involves the cutting of the small intestine and then connecting its lower part to the “stapled” smaller stomach pouch. This is done to let your body absorb fewer calories when taking in food as it bypasses the larger portion of the stomach, causing changes in gut hormones and bacteria that affect the appetite and metabolism. This procedure is hardly reversible but it can be done by a bariatric surgeon if highly required.
- Gastric Sleeve—Gastric sleeve surgery is permanent and irreversible because most of your stomach is removed, making you get satiated easily. Similar with gastric bypass, it also affects hormonal and metabolic changes. However, the stomach is reduced permanently.
- Duodenal Switch—Considered the most powerful bariatric operation, duodenal switch surgery combines restriction with malabsorption. It is done by removing about 80 percent of the stomach. The second stage of this operation involves cutting the duodenum, which is the lower portion of the small intestine, of about an inch. This intends to divert the food from most of the small intestine. The bariatric surgeon reconnects the bypassed section to the last portion of the small intestine, where the mixing of juices and food happens. This operation is not reversible but can be modified.
You can expect to do some healthful steps before you start with your bariatric surgery. At most, you will be meeting with healthcare providers, which include the bariatric surgeon, internist, psychiatrist, and a dietitian. Here are what these experts have to do before your operation:
- The doctor will make a preliminary checkup, know your medical history, and then will advise you to undergo diagnostic and laboratory procedures, e.g., blood tests and physical exams. If you have been found smoking, you will be likely to be compelled to stop the habit for at least 6 weeks prior to surgery.
- The bariatric surgeon will inform you about what to expect after the surgery and help you get ready for it.
- A psychologist or psychiatrist will make an evaluation, which includes your personal, social, and psychiatric history, if this procedure is fit for you. He or she will also check if you are prepared to change your current diet before and after surgery. For instance, alcohol or substance abuse may reduce bariatric surgery success.
- The dietitian will advise you of the benefit of a healthy diet prior and post surgery. The benefit of losing weight even before the operation will lower the chances of surgery-related complications. Besides, fitness therapy is crucial in preparing your body for obesity-related operation.
Be ready, be healthy
To look better means to feel better. Just keep in mind that bariatric surgery is not for aesthetic purposes; it is rather focused on improving quality and longevity of life. All things which come from inside will reflect on the outside. When you lose weight by getting into the root cause, the results are always desirable.