Weight loss can be tough, and if you’re not getting the results you need through diet and exercise, then you might be considering a surgical option. However, with so many options available, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed in understanding what might be a good option for you. Help is at hand! If you’re considering private weight loss surgery, then this guide provides you with an overview of your options. With this information to hand, you can then have a more informed discussion with your chosen health care professional.
Types of Surgeries For Weight Loss
There are two common kinds of surgeries that help with weight loss, and both work in different ways. Keep in mind these are different from non-surgical body contouring solutions
Such surgeries shrink your stomach and slow down digestion. A smaller stomach means that you eat less, which, in turn, means more weight loss.
A normal stomach can hold up to 3 pints of food. After you get a restrictive surgery, your stomach might only be able to hold one ounce, which can stretch to up to 3 ounces with time.
Such surgeries change the way you take in food. Basically, you get a smaller stomach and bypass part of the digestive tract, making it difficult for the body to absorb calories.
Restrictive Surgery Options
In gastric banding, the surgeon squeezes the stomach into two sections using an inflatable band. A small device connected to the band is placed under the skin to tighten it after surgery.
The stomach is divided into a large lower section and a small upper pouch; both are connected by a small channel that makes sure that the upper pouch empties slowly. Most people who get gastric banding can eat 1 cup of food at most before they start to feel full or sick. Plus, the food must be well-chewed or at least soft.
Gastric banding is safer and more straightforward than other operations like gastric bypass. Recovery is also faster, you get just a small scar, and you can get the band removed via surgery. However, vomiting is a common side effect, especially if you eat too much, too quickly. Plus, the band can leak, become loose, or move from its place.
In this weight loss surgery, you get up to 75% of your stomach removed. Only a narrow tube (sleeve) that connects to the intestines is left.
Sleeve gastrectomy is particularly suited for sick or very obese people, especially since other surgical options might be extremely risky in this situation. Plus, since it doesn’t affect the intestines, it doesn’t affect the way the body absorbs food, so a lack of nutrients won’t be a problem.
However, sleeve gastrectomy is irreversible. Plus, there’s always the risk of blood clots, infection, and a leaky sleeve.
Malabsorptive/Restrictive Surgery Options
A gastric bypass involves the use of surgical staples to make a tiny pouch at the stomach’s top. This pouch bypasses the rest of the stomach and directly connects to the small intestine. So, you feel full after eating a small portion, and you absorb fewer calories from what you eat.
The most significant advantage of a gastric bypass is that you lose a considerable amount of weight in just a short time, and the results are long-term. You can lose half of your weight in just the first six months, and weight loss continues up to 2 years post-surgery.
This more weight loss, in turn, leads to other benefits. For instance, diseases affected by obesity like heartburn, sleep apnea, arthritis, high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure get better quickly.
However, since your body won’t absorb food like it used to, you might be at risk of not getting sufficient nutrients. Lack of iron and calcium can cause anemia and osteoporosis. So if you opt for a gastric bypass, you will have to take medicines regularly and be extremely mindful of your diet for the rest of your life.
Dumping syndrome is a common risk associated with a gastric bypass, where the food “dumps” into the intestines even before it is completely digested. Symptoms include diarrhea, weakness, sweating, pain, bloating, and nausea; roughly 85% of individuals who opt for a gastric bypass experience some dumping.
Gastric bypass is more complicated and riskier than a restrictive surgery. Like with most surgeries, blood clots and infection can also occur. Hernias are also a possibility and might need additional surgery. The rapid weight loss could also result in gallstones.
Biliopancreatic Diversion With Duodenal Switch
The best way to understand biliopancreatic diversion is to think of it as an extreme version of a gastric bypass, where the surgeon creates a tube-shaped or sleeve-like stomach and bypasses up to 75% of the small intestine.
As a result, the weight loss is much more pronounced and faster than the weight loss due to a gastric bypass. It also affects intestinal hormones, improves blood sugar control, increases fullness, and reduces hunger.
Plus, even though the surgery involves removing more of your stomach, the pouch formed is still larger than the one created during a gastric banding or bypass. So compared to other surgical options, you can eat larger meals once you get a biliopancreatic diversion done.
However, this option is not as common as a gastric bypass. One reason for this is the greater risk of malnutrition. Micro-nutrient and vitamin deficiencies are also common. It is also one of the riskiest and most complicated surgeries and requires more operating time. The risk of hernias and dumping syndrome is also present.
You can only qualify for weight loss surgery if you have a BMI over 40. And if you have some other medical condition like heart disease, then your BMI must be over 35.
Remember that surgical options are not a simple and quick fix for losing weight. They are just a tool that helps with the process.
Regardless of the option you settle for, you will have to follow a strict exercise regimen and alter your diet to get good results. Also, make sure you consult your healthcare provider before settling on an option.