In today’s complex world of medicine and healthcare, certain medical terms, as well as medical “slang” and those handy medical abbreviations, often go misunderstood. Most of us are too embarrassed to say “what does that mean?”when something comes along that we don’t understand, so in the medical world, we more often than not remain in the dark. With the premise that knowledge makes you a better person, let’s take a look at one of those medical terms to gain a better understanding of its meaning.
Bariatric Surgery is simply a glorified name for “weight loss surgery.” You may have heard the terms gastric bypass surgery, adjustable gastric band or lap band surgery, which are both forms of bariatric surgery. Let’s look at the specific types of weight loss or bariatric surgery available and review the differences between them.
The two most common forms of bariatric surgery are the adjustable gastric band surgery and the Rouen Y gastric bypass surgery. They are both offer very effective weight reduction solutions but are actually very different from one another.
Adjustable Gastric Band surgery (AGB) or lap band surgery involves the the fastening of a medical device near the very top of the patient’s stomach. Under normal circumstances, the stomach in most of us is about the size of a football or roughly 6 liters in volume. After the band is secured to the stomach, it is inflated with saline solution, which constricts the band, closing the stomach and creating a much smaller pouch that will hold only about 1 ounce. This obviously greatly reduces the amount of food the patient is able to consume in one sitting. Over a relatively short period of time, the patient is then able to lose a great deal of weight simply by the high reduction of caloric intake. The fact is, most bariatric surgery patients will lose 75% of their weight within the first 12-14 months following surgery with the notion that they should reach their weightloss goal by the end of the 24th month.
Rouxen Y Surgery (RXY) or otherwise known as Gastric Bypass Surgery is considered a more involved procedure. In RXY surgery, the end of the esophagus is severed at the point in which it meets the stomach and a one-ounce pouch is formed at the end of the esophagus to take the place of the patient’s stomach. Next, the small intestine is cut relatively close to where it joins the large intestine. That end is then brought up to the patient’s one-ounce pouch, thereby bypassing the majority of the small intestine. This restructuring of the digestive system takes the form of a “Y” within the patient’s body, which is why the “Y” is included in the name of the surgery.
The AGB surgery has traditionally been performed as a laparoscopic surgery. Recent advances in laparoscopic surgery technology and the development of new instrumentation have made RXY surgery less invasive and taxing on the patient. Many doctors have been doing both surgeries using laparoscopic techniques for quite some time, while others still prefer traditional surgery. I would certainly ask your surgeon about his preferred method before moving forward with weight loss surgery.
Both surgeries have advantages over the other in terms of making one procedure more appropriate than the other for any given individual. Lap band (AGB) involves no cutting of the stomach and typically takes about one hour to perform making it easier on the patient than gastric bypass surgery. However, gastric bypass surgery is known to offer better weightloss potential than the purely restrictive lap band procedure.
In either case, mal-absorption occurs making supplementation with bariatric vitamins and bariatric supplements extremely important going forward after surgery. In order to maintain optimum health, the bariatric patient should consider a multi-vitamin, B12, Iron and Calcium supplement. There are specific vitamins and supplements on the market for bariatric patients designed to work best with their new, re-engineered digestive systems.
As with most medical procedures, bariatric surgery carries risks of complications. Each patient should be aware of these risks before going through the procedure of choice. With lap band surgery, erosion of the band can occur with the consumption of alcohol and certain spices as well as certain types of medications. Also, slippage of the band is common if the person eats too much food. Surgery is then required to fix the band. Just as with any surgery, infection can occur during the lap band or gastric bypass procedure. Remember, following doctor’s instructions before and after your surgery should certainly minimize the chance of any complications.