What is Weight Loss Surgery?
Weight loss surgery, also known as Bariatric surgery is essentially surgery designed to cause or aid in weight loss. There are three main types of weight loss surgery currently offered routinely in the United States. These are the Gastric Band, often referred to as Lap Band surgery, Gastric Bypass surgery (Roux n Y), and the Gastric Sleeve surgery.
The Gastric Band is the least complicated of the three procedures. It consists of laparoscopic i.e. tiny incisions, used to place an adjustable surgical band around the the upper portion of the stomach. An access port is also attached under the skin, close to the surface, to allow for fluid to be added or removed from the Band thus controling food intake. Patients are sent home the same day and usually back to work within a week.
The Gastric Bypass procedure is a more complicated procedure. There are several variations but the Roux en-Y procedure is the most common. This surgery is also performed using laparoscopy and tiny incisions. The Roux en-Y decreases the size of the stomach and causes food to bypass part of the small intestine. This causes a feeling of fullness much sooner and decreases absorption of the calories taken in. Patients are often sent home the same day but some surgeons may prefer you to spend the night in the hospital or Surgery Center. Depending on the type of work you do, it is possible to return to work within two weeks after surgery.
The Gastric Sleeve is a procedure that essentially removes the lower portion of the stomach, leaving a "sleeve" shaped and much smaller stomach. Surgical staples are used to close the new stomach into the shape of a banana. Because a portion of the stomach is completely removed, this procedure is not reversible.This procedure is also done with the laparoscopic approach.
Weight Loss surgery Options
The Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery
Weight Loss Surgery is used for treatment of Morbid Obesity. The definition of morbid obesity according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) is being 100 pounds over the ideal body weight with a BMI of 40 and higher or being 75 pounds over weight with a BMI of 35 or higher and the addition of an obesity related health condition such as type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure.
Besides the obvious loss of weight, there are many other health benefits related to successful weight loss surgery. Weight loss alone, with or without weight loss surgery will lead to better health. Improved blood pressure, increased energy, lower cholesterol, and a general sense of feeling better can come from weight loss. Sleep apnea is also improved in many cases.
The major and most astounding health benefit from weight loss surgery, specifically from the Roux en-Y and Sleeve procedures is the complete remission of type 2 diabetes in more than 75% of patients. This is a tremendous plus for these patients. Diabetes can lead to a shortened life span with terrible quality of life if not managed well. The complete remission of diabetes after weight loss surgery is a game changer for these patients.
Please note - weight loss surgery is not a magic wand treatment. You will have to do your part to make it work for you.
Many health insurances will cover weight loss surgery. As of 2013 Medicare covers certain weight loss surgery procedures for those under age 61. Check with your insurer to get the details. Many insurances have strict regimes you must follow before they will approve the surgery.
Weight Loss Surgery may be the answer to your obesity related health problems. Talk with your local Weight Loss Surgeon to learn more.
Cons to be aware of
I need to add the negative side effects coming to light after weight loss surgery. According to Web MD - they quote an article from HealthDay News June 20, 2019. "A new study offers some sobering news about weight loss surgery. People who undergo a gastric bypass procedure called Roux-en-Y are three times more likely than those in the general population to die of drug or alcohol-related causes, according to research from the University of Pittsburgh." The article goes on to say that the effect is completely physiological, not psychological.The changes from removing 95% of the stomach effect the alcohol receptors in the stomach and liver. Removing so much of the stomach leads the alcohol to be metabolized almost completely by the liver. The effects related to the sleeve gastrectomy is currently being studied.
This was a decent sized research study, 2500 adults who had undergone weight loss surgery in 10 different hospitals within the US. For more information check out Web MD's article "Drug, Alcohol deaths Soar After Weight-Loss Surgery"
Zavrina on January 08, 2015:
The abiilty to think like that shows you're an expert
Sheila (author) from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State on October 20, 2012:
Thank you tebo - we see so many life transformations everyday in our clinic - it is truly a life saving procedure for some people and a life changer for others.
tebo from New Zealand on October 20, 2012:
I watched a documentary on gastric band surgery and was surprised at the time to learn the person was no longer a type 2 diabetic afterwards. Thanks for explaining the whole procedure - very interesting. I also have a neigbour who has had the operation - I don't think she suffered from diabetes, but she just looks great now - a completely different person.
Sheila (author) from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State on October 14, 2012:
Thank you mscott45 - we see so many patients whose lives are transformed by this surgery. Diabetes and morbid obesity are both kileers and you are right if someone cannot manage weight/diabetes this is a life saving alternative.
Michelle Booth from UK on October 14, 2012:
Well explained! When I worked in a gastric band clinic, I met dozens of patients who no longer had diabetes since their surgery and massive weight loss. It is certainly something to think about for those with poorly managed diabetes. I think I would be tempted.