Sunday, May 08, 2005

Weight Loss Surgery – Is It for You?

posted by Jeff Dedrick

Bariatric surgery is for cases of severe obesity –for folks who have tried to lose weight again and again unsuccessfully. There are two basic types of bariatric surgery (also known as gastrointestinal surgery), each with a different purpose. Yes, there are risks involved – some extremely serious.

Then again, bariatric surgery is an extreme method for weight loss.

Restrictive Weight Loss Surgery

The first type of bariatric weight loss surgery is 'restrictive'. Its purpose is to limit the amount of food that can be eaten at one time. Doctors create a small pouch at the top of the stomach that holds about one ounce of food, with a small opening at the bottom to hold food in the pouch and cause a feeling of fullness. After the surgery, a patient can eat no more than 3/4 cup to a cup of well-chewed bland food at a time without becoming nauseous. By restricting the amount of food that can be eaten at once, patients will hopefully lose weight.

Variations of restrictive surgery include 'lap banding', in which the pouch is created by wrapping a silicone band around the upper part of the stomach. There’s no need to cut into the stomach or intestine, so the complication rate is lower and the recovery period is shorter.

The second type of bariatric surgery for weight loss is the malabsorptive variety. These surgeries are fairly common, and include the gastric bypass procedure. The purpose of gastric bypass and other types of bypass surgery is to prevent the effective absorption of nutrients from food eaten by 'bypassing' most of the intestine in the food's path through the body. The malabsorption results in significant weight loss and a reduction of appetite.

Now, the possible side effects of gastric bypass surgery include:

Chronic diarrhea
Ulcers of the stomach
Foul-smelling stools and gas
Risk of nutritional deficiencies
Dumping syndrome - symptoms include faintness, fainting, nausea, sweating and diarrhea after eating

Who are the best candidates for bariatric surgery? People who are at least 80-100 pounds overweight, and who have shown little success with traditional weight loss methods. Also, patients who have other physical problems which require weight loss may be candidates.

If you're considering weight loss surgery, you must realize several things:

1. The risks of surgery are serious and can be life threatening.
2. You will need lifelong medical supervision after the surgery.
3. You will still need to make lifestyle and dietary changes.
4. Many health insurance plans will not cover it.

If bariatric surgery sounds like an option for you, make sure you choose a surgeon experienced in bariatric techniques. Also check to see that you will be provided with full physical and emotional support before, during and after the surgery.
The Blog Directory