When contemplating weight loss surgery, many factors need to be taken into consideration. Is weight loss surgery right for you?
Types of Surgeries
There are several different types of weight loss surgeries available to overweight people. Gastric Bypass is the most commonly performed weight loss surgery today. The intent of this surgery is to restrict the amount of calories that are absorbed by the body. The stomach is divided into two parts. The upper part is then connected to the lower part of the small intestine. By creating this shortcut for the food, fewer calories are absorbed. The subsequent weight loss is quick and dramatic. Long term results are promising and most patients keep their weight off for at least 10 years. However, due to the bodys lack of absorption of calories, nutritional defiencies can result. You must be prepared to be diligent with your daily diet and pay close attention to the amount of vitamins and minerals you injest. Supplements may be warranted.
Gastric Banding is the least invasive procedure. It involves the placement of an inflatable band which divides the stomach into two sections. A smaller upper pouch and a lower larger section. As a result, the amount of food you can eat in any meal is greatly reduced. You many begin to feel sick after only eating slightly more than one cup of food. An advantage of this procedure is that it is minimally invasive. Recovery is fast and you can have it reversed by surgically removing the band. However, gastric banding patients experience less dramatic weight loss than with other, more invasive surgeries. The long term results are not as promising either.
Sleeve Gastrectomy is a relatively new weight loss surgery. In this operation, approximately 75 percent of the stomach is removed. What remains is a slender tube that is connected to the intestines. This surgery does not affect the absorption of food and works about as well as gastric banding.
General Guidelines Followed by Surgeons
Most surgeons follow some general guidelines before approving a candidate for weight loss surgery: You must have a Body Mass Index (B.M.I.) of 40 or higher. This is a measure of your body fat based on your height and weight. You have a life shortening disease that could be improved by weight loss, for example, diabetes or heart disease. You have attempted to lose weight for at least two years. You have been obese for at least three years. You are under age 65. You are a non smoker and do not abuse drugs or alcohol. You are able to care for yourself and are motivated to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Weight loss surgery is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Consider all of your options before making a decision. Consult your physician and even get a second opinion. Make sure you realize that surgery is not a quick fix option. Lifestyle changes are necessary to maintain good health. Discuss this decision with your loved ones and prepare for all possible outcomes.