Modern-Day Weight Loss
Increasing amounts of people are opting for weight loss surgery these days, as it seems to have answered our obesity epidemic especially for those who have failed to achieve their weight loss goals through diet and exercise.
Weight loss surgery is a major life change and it has to be permanent if you’ve exhausted all of other options.
It certainly has an allure. It promises easy answers and a simple fix, yet, weight loss surgery is not a quick fix as some might believe it is. It is just as psychologically difficult as exercise and dieting. Weight loss surgery can be life-saving, but you need to be dedicated to making dramatic and permanent changes to how you eat, exercise, and live.
There are different types of surgeries and you’ll have to decide what is best for you depending on your goals, your health, and your doctor’s recommendation. It is key to note that weight loss surgery is not for everyone.
Doctors only recommend it to people who:
- Have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more. This would be about 100 pounds overweight for men or 80 pounds for women.
- Have a lower BMI (but are still obese) and have a serious health problem related to obesity, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, severe sleep apnea, or high cholesterol.
- Have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight by other means.
Below are the types of weight loss surgeries:
Restrictive surgery works by shrinking the size of the stomach and slowing down digestion. A normal stomach can hold about three pints of food. After surgery, the stomach may at first hold as little as an ounce, although later that could stretch to two or three ounces. The smaller the stomach, the less you can eat. The less you eat, the more weight you lose.
Malabsorptive/restrictive surgery changes how you take in food. It gives you a smaller stomach and also removes part of your digestive tract, which makes it harder for your body to absorb calories. Doctors don’t do purely malabsorptive surgeries anymore because of the side effects.
Electrical device implant is the newest of the three techniques prompts weight loss by interrupting nerve signals between the stomach and the brain.
It is important to note that all procedures have pros and cons.
Adjustable gastric banding is a type of restrictive weight loss surgery. The surgeon uses an inflatable band to squeeze the stomach into two sections: a smaller upper pouch and a larger lower section. The two sections are still connected by a very small channel, which slows down the emptying of the upper pouch. Most people can only eat a half to one cup of food before feeling too full or sick. The food also needs to be soft or well-chewed. This operation is simpler to do and safer than gastric bypass and other operations. You get a smaller scar, recovery is usually faster, and you can have surgery to remove the band.
However, the most common side effect of gastric banding is vomiting after eating too much quickly. Complications with the band can happen, it might slip out of place, become loose, or leak. Some people need more surgeries. As with any operation, infection is a risk. Although unlikely, some complications can be life-threatening.
Sleeve gastrectomy is another form of restrictive weight loss surgery, it is more popular as most people opt for it. During the operation, the surgeon removes about 75% of the stomach. What remains of the stomach is a narrow tube or sleeve which connects to the intestines. Sometimes, a sleeve gastrectomy is the first step in a series of weight loss surgeries. For some people, it’s the only surgery they need.
It is a safer option for people who are very obese or sick because other weight loss surgeries may be too risky. It gives them a lower-risk way to lose weight. If needed, once they’ve lost weight and their health has improved (usually after 12 to 18 months), they can have a second surgery, such as gastric bypass. Some potential risks include infection, leaking of the sleeve, and blood clots.
If you want to gain the maximum benefit from weight loss surgery, it is important to adhere to any post-surgical advice, such as recommendations on diet and exercise. Failure to do so could lead to a worsening of your health and possibly regain some of the weight you previously lost.