Obesity can not always be treated with diet and exercise alone. Due to a variety of factors, some people's bodies do not respond correctly to those methods of weight loss and need an option to help avoid weight-related health issues. That's where bariatric surgery, a term that covers all weight-loss surgical procedures, comes into the picture, helping obese patients lose excess weight.
First, who is even considered a candidate for these types of procedures? Without a person has tried traditional weight loss methods and had poor results, they would not have considered. Common candidates have a high-risk condition related to their weight, along with those who have a genetic condition that is obesity-related. It is best to consult with your physicist to discuss and explore alternatives.
Let's discuss gastric bypass first. It's the most common method and involves stapling the intestines in a manner that reduces the usable portion of the stomach and allows food to quickly reach the small intestine. Patients must be careful with their eating habits afterward, as the stomach is a fraction of the size the patient was used to pre-operation. There are several variations on the gastric bypass based on the method by which the intestine is reconnected. The stomach will never be able to handle more than 4 to 6 ounces of food at one time, and the stomach may be unable to tolerate sugary, fatty foods. Post-op patients will have to work with a nutritionist to develop a diet plan.
Another bariatric surgery option is the adjustable gastric band, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in early 2011. This procedure reduces appetites, slows digestion and limits food intake by using an inflatable plastic band. The band is placed around the upper part of the stomach, which essentially reduces the stomach size without adjusting the stomach or intestines permanently. The "new stomach" will be able to accommodate about a half cup of food, which is 12 times less than the typical stomach. As patients progress in their weight loss, the band can be adjusted as needed. As with any type of weight-related surgery, one of the most important factors is the patients' adherence to a proper diet and exercise regimen. Once the band is removed, the stomach is fully usable, so weight can be regained.
There are other options, which can be explained to you by your physician or a bariatric surgeon. Aside from the normal risks associated with these types of procedures, potential candidates need to consider the commitment they'll have to make to change their lifestyle post-op. The body will have a harder time absorbing vitamins, so it will be necessary to regularly take supplements. Also, patients need to learn to prioritize high-protein foods and learn to balance their diet. Other minor changes, such as learning to completely chew food and take time between bites, are necessary to avoid pain or discomfort.
Overall, bariatric surgery is a lifesaving option for some, but it is also a big commitment. Talk to your doctor about the best plan for managing your weight.