If you are suffering from morbid obesity and still you have not attained your ideal weight despite diet and exercise, try considering minimally invasive bariatric surgery. Exercise and diet alone cannot help people suffering from extreme and excessive obesity. Bariatric surgery helps obese people lose weight.
Also known as weight loss surgery, bariatric surgery has a history of proven results. Any surgical procedure performed on the stomach or intestines to induce weight loss is called a bariatric surgery. Results will show that it has helped patients with severe obesity lose weight, especially when coupled with lifestyle changes and healthy eating after surgery.
Bariatric surgery is performed only by trained and experienced bariatric surgeons. They have the proper skills, knowledge and training to perform this kind of surgery.
What are the Principles of Bariatric Surgery?
The basic principles of bariatric surgery is the restriction of food intake and to decrease the absorption of food in the stomach and intestines.
In the process of digestion, food is broken down into substances that can be used by the body.
- Digestion starts in the mouth. The food is chewed to break down the food into small particles.
- The food is swallowed and it moves through the esophagus, stomach and intestines which is also known as the digestive tract.
- As food moves through the digestive tract, it is broken down by enzymes and digestive juices.
- Once broken down, individual components of the food are absorbed into the wall of the small intestine. Food components include protein, carbohydrates and other nutrients. They are absorbed by the duodenum, jejunum and ileum.
- The process is assisted by strong acids in the stomach and by the bile and pancreatic enzymes in the duodenum.
- Undigested food moves to the large intestines or colon and eliminated from the body as feces.
Bariatric surgery alters or interrupts this digestion process. It prevents the food from being broken down and absorbed in the normal way. Thus, it reduces the amount of calories and nutrients that will be absorbed by the body. This reduction enables you to lose weight and lessens your risk of health risks or disorders which are related to obesity.
Main Categories of Bariatric Surgeries
Bariatric procedures are classified into three main categories:
The principle behind this kind of bariatric surgery is to block the absorption of food. It also reduces stomach size. It includes the following procedures:
- Biliopancreatic diversion
- Jejunoileal bypass
- Endoluminal sleeve
In restrictive procedures the bariatric surgeon shrinks the size of your stomach or takes up space in your stomach so that you feel full immediately. Thus you eat less. Usually they place a band around your stomach to create a smaller pouch.
Restrictive procedures include:
- Vertical banded gastroplasty
- Adjustable gastric band
- Sleeve gastrectomy
- Intragastric Balloon
- Stomach folding
Some bariatric surgeons use block and restrictive procedures at the same time.
Some mixed procedures are:
- Gastric bypass surgery
- Sleeve gastrectomy with duodenal switch
- Implantable gastric stimulation
How to Choose the Right Bariatric Procedure
Since there are several bariatric surgery procedures currently in the market, you may be asking, “How do I choose the bariatric surgery procedure that is right for me?”
All of the bariatric surgery procedures are effective when and if:
- It is performed by a competent bariatric surgeon.
- The procedure is done in a center that has an aftercare program focusing on dietary, behavioral and exercise changes.
- The patient is willing to work with their operation.
The kind of bariatric surgery does not matter. What is important is that the patient is willing to implement some lifestyle changes after surgery. The bariatric surgery is only a tool to help the patient control hunger and portion size. The rest is up to the patient.
Things to consider when choosing a minimally invasive bariatric surgery procedure
- Expected weight loss. It all depends on how well a patient works on the necessary lifestyle changes that they must follow after surgery to achieve a successful long-term result. Patients must look beyond losing weight, by looking at significant improvements in their health and quality of life.
- Reliability of weight loss. Almost all bariatric procedures result in the expected weight loss. But the problem is regaining the lost weight after a few months. Again, this will happen if the patient does not make the necessary lifestyle adjustments and changes in the first few months after surgery and do not backslide.
- How fast or how slow does a bariatric procedure show results? Gastric bypass and sleeve patients generally lose 5 to 7 pounds each week until they can achieve their expected weight loss. Gastric banding patients will experience a slower but more steady weight loss. It may take them about 2 years to achieve their expected weight loss.
- Afraid of what will happen? Gastric bypass and gastric banding have shown long-term effects and surgeries of these types are proven to be safe, lead to significant weight loss and improvement of medical problems related to obesity. However, in sleeve gastrectomy, since it is very new, studies are still undergoing to see if this is safe and effective.
- Your ability to do follow ups. Adjustable gastric band procedure can only be effective if it is adjusted from time to time. Patients undergoing this type of bariatric surgery must make follow-up appointments with their bariatric surgeon to achieve the maximum weight loss.
- Afraid of Needles? So that your band can be filled, the bariatric surgeon has to use a needle. It is very small and will not likely cause much pain. But nevertheless, if you are afraid of needles the size will not matter. Do not choose this kind of bariatric surgery if you really have intense fear of needles.
- Do not cheat so you will not be punished. Most patients who underwent gastric bypass and eat food containing sugar experience severe abdominal pain, dizziness and sometimes diarrhea. So follow religiously the diet prescribed by your nutritionist.
- Afraid of a foreign body inside your stomach? The band is a foreign body inside you. If you cannot stand having a foreign thing inside you, do not choose a gastric banding procedure.
- Can the bariatric procedure be reversed? Except for sleeve gastrectomy, all other forms of bariatric surgery can be reversed. However, most bariatric surgeons would not advice removal of band or reverse gastric bypass because the patient will start re-gaining weight as they no longer have a tool to control their hunger and portion size.
- Afraid that bariatric surgery is dangerous and not safe? Although it is more invasive, studies will show that bariatric surgery has never been as safe today as it was in the past.
What you must not consider when choosing a bariatric surgery
- Loose skin is evidence that you have lost a significant number of pounds. If you lost 150 pounds you will always have some degree of loose skin. Consider it as your trophy or award for losing weight. You can exercise more to tone your skin.
- The cost of the procedure. Gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy are more costly than gastric banding. You should not worry because if you have an insurance, it will pay for your surgery. If you are paying for it, consider it an investment for your health and life. Choose your bariatric surgery first and then plan how to pay for it.
If you are suffering from health problems because of your obesity, then you must consider minimally invasive bariatric surgery. Visit a bariatric surgeon to discuss your situation. Although the bariatric surgeon cannot tell you what the best procedure is for you, he or she can tell you if you are a good candidate for bariatric surgery.
If you qualify, then it is most likely that you could do well with any minimally invasive bariatric surgery. The decision is in your hands. If you value your life and you desire to live healthy, go for it. The kind of bariatric surgery you think is right for you, is most likely the right kind for you.