Opting to go for surgery is a major decision, and when the surgery has more to do with aesthetic reasons than health issues, you really need to be sure you need that surgery.
Going for weight-loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery involves a comprehensive weight management plan. Your doctor will first tell you that to qualify for a bariatric surgery, your BMI should be 40 or above. Alternatively, if your BMI ranges between 35- 39 and there are associated co-morbid conditions like type 2 diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, severe arthritis, etc, you could also qualify for bariatric surgery.
Before going for the surgery, the patient usually undergoes counseling to understand the risks and benefits and possible complications of this irreversible surgery. They are also advised on dietary and lifestyle changes that are needed to keep the weight off permanently.
Weight-loss surgery is typically performed using three popular methods:
Lap-Band – This type of surgery involves the wrapping of a band around the upper stomach to limit food intake as well as slow down its movement through the digestive system.
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass – In this method the size of the stomach is reduced to that of an egg. The small intestine is then attached to this small pouch, bypassing the stomach and minimizing absorption. Weight loss here is due to smaller amounts of food consumed.
Gastric sleeve surgery – This is done through laparoscopy whereby a major portion of the stomach is removed, leaving behind only a tube or sleeve shaped pouch. A smaller incision here means faster healing. The patient can only take in small portions of food after this surgery.
A newer method is through the use of Electric Implant devices that are implanted in the abdomen and remotely controlled; they work like pacemakers and send electrical pulses to the brain from the vagus nerve in the stomach telling when the stomach is full.
It’s noted that most people regain back some of their weight after 18-24 months after weight loss surgery; focusing on a healthy diet and maintaining an active lifestyle is crucial here.
Weight loss surgery also helps in improving some of the existing obesity-related health issues like diabetes, sleep apnea, depression and blood pressure, etc.
There are some common side-effects to weight loss surgery including nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, sweating and dizziness, especially after consuming a meal. This is a result of the ‘Dumping Syndrome’ where the food is now passing too fast through the small intestine. It can occur in about half the surgery patients and can be improved by following diets high in fiber. You’ll also need to make sure you are getting sufficient nutrients as surgery makes it harder for the body to absorb nutrients.
After knowing all this, you need to decide if you really need bariatric surgery for a quality life.