Did you know that over 650 million adults worldwide are classified as obese? Bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, has recently received significant attention for its effectiveness in addressing obesity and associated health concerns. As its popularity grows, many individuals have expressed inquiries and concerns regarding the various types of bariatric surgery procedures, as well as the potential risks and benefits involved.
In this blog, we'll discuss 10 questions about bariatric surgery with insights from experts in the field.
Types of Bariatric Surgery
Here are some types of bariatric surgery:
- Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Sleeve gastrectomy, commonly called bariatric surgery sleeve, is a procedure where a large portion of the stomach is surgically removed, resulting in a banana-shaped sleeve. This surgery helps curb food intake and reduces hunger hormones. It is typically recommended for individuals with a BMI above 40 or those with comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes.
- Gastric Bypass Surgery: Gastric bypass surgery, also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, is a surgical procedure that involves creating a smaller stomach pouch and rerouting the small intestine. This leads to reduced food intake and decreased absorption of calories and nutrients. It is recommended for individuals with a BMI of 35 or higher who are experiencing health problems related to obesity.
- Adjustable Gastric Banding (Lap-Band): Lap-Band surgery, also known as adjustable gastric banding, is a surgical procedure that involves placing a silicone band around the upper part of the stomach to create a smaller pouch. This adjustable band allows for flexibility in food intake. It is typically recommended for individuals with a BMI of 30 or higher.
- Biliopancreatic Diversion: The Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS) procedure combines elements of both restriction and malabsorption. It involves removing a portion of the stomach and rerouting a section of the small intestine. Typically, this surgery is recommended for individuals with a BMI above 50 or those without desired results with previous procedures.
The Bariatric Surgery Procedure
Bariatric surgery procedure typically follows a set of stages:
- Preoperative Preparation: Before undergoing surgery, a comprehensive preoperative process takes place. This includes thorough medical evaluations, psychological assessments, and consultations with a team of specialists from different fields. This phase ensures the patient is fully prepared and ready for the surgical procedure.
- The Surgery Process: The specific surgical procedure for bariatric surgery differs based on the chosen type. It can be done almost always laparoscopic (minimally invasive) or through traditional open surgery, with the patient under general anesthesia.
- Post-operative Recovery and Follow-up: After surgery, patients are carefully observed in the hospital to ensure a smooth recovery. While recovery times may differ, most patients can resume their regular activities within a few weeks. It is important to have regular follow-up visits with healthcare professionals to track progress and address any potential complications or concerns.
Benefits of Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery offers numerous benefits:
- Weight Loss: One of the key advantages is the potential for significant and lasting weight loss. Many patients see notable improvements in their overall health and a decreased risk of obesity-related illnesses as a result.
- Improvement of Associated Health Conditions: Several health issues commonly associated with obesity, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea, often show improvement or complete resolution following bariatric surgery.
- Enhanced Quality of Life: Improving one's weight can positively impact multiple aspects of life, including increased mobility, enhanced self-esteem, and an improved sense of well-being. This results in a higher quality of life for individuals.
- Long-term Health Benefits: Sustaining a healthy weight over time can greatly reduce the chances of developing chronic diseases and extend life expectancy.
Risk of Bariatric Surgery
Although bariatric surgery provides various advantages, it's crucial to understand the possible risks of bariatric surgery that may arise.
- Surgical Risks: As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks. These may include the possibility of infection, bleeding, or adverse reactions to anaesthesia. It's important to note that these risks are typically low but should still be thoroughly discussed with your surgeon.
- Nutritional Deficiencies: After undergoing bariatric surgery, patients may experience nutritional deficiencies, including iron, vitamin B12, and calcium. It is crucial for patients to closely follow a strict dietary regimen and take prescribed supplements to prevent these deficiencies.
- Psychological Challenges: Coping with the transition after surgery can be emotionally difficult. Patients may encounter shifts in their body image and face obstacles while adjusting to new eating habits.
Bariatric Surgery and Lifestyle Changes
Bariatric surgery is not a standalone solution; it requires significant lifestyle changes:
- Dietary Modifications: Patients must follow a specific diet plan that begins with consuming liquid and soft foods, gradually transitioning to solid foods. It is crucial to practise portion control.
- Including Exercise: Regular exercise is essential for long-term success. It's important to create a fitness routine that suits your capabilities and preferences.
- Emotional and Psychological Support: Emotional and psychological support can be incredibly valuable when it comes to navigating the emotional aspects of weight loss and adjusting to changes in body image. Counselling and involvement in support groups are examples of resources many people find beneficial.
- Building a Sustainable, Healthy Lifestyle: Achieving and sustaining a healthy lifestyle is not just about bariatric surgery as a standalone solution for weight loss. It serves as a valuable tool to jumpstart the process, but long-term success relies on permanent changes in diet, exercise, and overall habits. Patients should fully commit to adopting these lifelong adjustments
Qualifying for Bariatric Surgery
Several factors determine qualification for bariatric surgery:
- BMI and Eligibility Criteria: Bariatric surgery procedures typically have a minimum BMI requirement of 35-40, although specific criteria may differ. Additionally, eligibility for these procedures also considers the presence of obesity-related health conditions.
- Medical and Psychological Evaluations: Before undergoing surgery, patients undergo comprehensive medical and psychological evaluations to ensure they are in optimal physical and mental condition.
- The Role of Insurance and Financing: Understanding the role of insurance and financing is crucial for those considering bariatric surgery. It's important to review insurance policies and explore potential financing options carefully.
Bariatric surgery can be a transformative step towards attaining and sustaining a healthier weight and overall well-being. However, it's vital to approach this decision with thoughtful deliberation and seek guidance from professionals.
By addressing the most important inquiries regarding bariatric surgery, our goal is to equip you with a thorough comprehension of the procedure and its associated journey. Keep in mind that each person's experience is individual, and consulting experiences in the field are crucial for making informed decisions about your weight loss endeavour.