Weight Loss Surgery: a Life-Changing Medical Procedure for Obese People

Being overweight does not mean that you are obese. A person is considered obese when his weight is 20% or more of the desired body weight as measured by his Body Mass Index (BMI). There is a growing number of Americans that are in this category, which is rather alarming because obesity increases the person’s risk of developing various life-threatening diseases like diabetes, hypertension or heart problems. Due to the various health risks that obese persons face, many are now turning to weight loss surgery as a solution to their weight problems.

Weight Loss Surgery for Obese Individuals

Weight loss surgery, which is also known as bariatric surgery, is one of the proven methods being taken advantage of by obese individuals for long term and permanent weight loss. Simply put, this surgery helps by restricting a person’s food intake, or making changes in the digestive processes.

However, it must be emphasized that weight loss surgery is not recommended for everyone. It is recommended only for people who are severely obese and who have been unsuccessful in losing weight through diet, exercise or other weight loss medications.

Those who are planning to go through weight loss surgery must fully understand the potential risks and complications, and must be willing to make the necessary changes in their lifestyle as a consequence of the surgery.

Kinds of Weight Loss Surgery

Many obese individuals are considering weight loss surgery as an option because it offers a more permanent solution to their weight problem. Today, there are several types of weight loss surgeries to choose from.

The more common types of weight loss surgery are:

• Lap banding, also known laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, is a surgery to reduce the amount of food that a person can eat at a given time through the use of an adjustable band. The adjustable band is placed at the stomach opening and it can be adjusted or removed. Many patients prefer lap band surgery because the operation is simple and there is little chance of complications after the surgery. However, the person must be able to make the necessary changes in his diet for the weight loss to be maintained.

• Gastric bypass, or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, is a type of surgery where a surgeon divides the stomach thus creating a small stomach pouch which is then attached to the small intestine. The smaller stomach can only allow a small amount of food or liquid, at the same time, the food bypasses the upper small intestine; thus, the body absorbs fewer calories and there is a change in how the body breaks down food. Gastric bypass can result to an average overall loss of 50 to 75 percent of excess body weight.go straight from the source for more updates.

• Gastric sleeve, also known as sleeve gastrostomy, is done by reducing stomach size, and with a smaller stomach, the patient feels full even with a small amount of food. It also results in the reduced production of the hormone that induces the feeling of hunger. Gastric sleeve is believed to be safer than gastric bypass because no changes are made in the way a person digests the food, and the feeling of hunger is controlled. Persons who undergo this type of weight loss surgery can expect an average of 33 percent loss in their excess body weight in the first year.

What to Expect After Weight Loss Surgery

Just like in any other medical procedure, some complications can happen during and after a weight loss surgery. Some of the more common early surgical complications include bleeding, infection, and problems in bowel movement or sometimes there is a need for the surgery to be redone.

Other more serious medical complications can also occur after surgery such as blood clots, heart attack and urinary tract infection. To avoid these complications, it is advised that weight loss surgeries are done in medical centers that are adequately equipped and have experienced staff to perform the surgery.

Weight loss surgery is a life-changing operation, so it is important that the patient make the necessary physical, mental and emotional preparations.

This means meeting with specialists like a dietician, counselor, and the bariatric surgeon so that all his concerns can be addressed before the surgery. It is also important, aside from having a competent surgeon, nurse and dietician, that treatment continues even after the surgery.

Benefits and Risks of Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery is a serious and critical medical procedure so any person who wants to undergo this must be adequately informed of the corresponding benefits and risks.

Among the benefits of weight loss surgery are:

• Immediate and permanent weight loss.

• Improvement in overall health of the patients such as lowering of blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

On the other hand, the more common side effects of weight loss surgery are:

• Nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, excessive sweating and dizziness.

• “Dumping syndrome” which is caused when the contents of the stomach move too fast through the small intestine. Symptoms include nausea, sweating, feeling of faintness and diarrhea.

• Complications like abdominal hernias and infections.

• Developing gallstones, which can be prevented by taking a supplement of bile salts after surgery.

• Nutritional deficiencies that could lead to cases of anemia and osteoporosis. To avoid these deficiencies the patient must take vitamins and mineral supplements.

• Women of childbearing age are advised against getting pregnant until their weight stabilizes due to rapid weight loss and nutritional deficiencies being harmful to the fetus.

Effects of Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery can definitely improve your appearance and enhance your self-esteem. But ultimately, a person should undergo weight loss surgery to improve their health condition and reduce the risk of various life-threatening illnesses associated with obesity such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer and other similar diseases.http://nsmcweightloss.org/web/right_for_me.aspx


However, for the surgery to be successful, it is imperative that the patient strictly follows the doctor’s orders. They should stay in the hospital until the doctor allows them to go home. At home, the patient must do what the doctor has ordered as to what activities are allowed, and follow the dietician’s recommended diet and exercise. It is also important that the patient continue coordinating with these specialists on a regular basis to better monitor their health.

Recovering from the weight loss surgery and maintaining a new lifestyle can be very challenging; thus, it is important to have continued medical attention and to enlist the support of not only family and friends, but also find a support group that can help you cope with the drastic changes that the surgery can bring to your life.

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