Many people on a weight loss journey realize that exercise and diet alone are not effective in helping them attain their weight loss objectives. Here, they start researching effective weight loss procedures such as those offered at Alabama Bariatrics.
But, there’s always confusion about the difference between bariatric surgery and cosmetic surgery. A bariatric surgical procedure is one done to assist the patient in losing weight by altering the digestive system. There are different types of weight loss surgery, such as gastric bypass.
Cosmetic surgery done for weight loss purposes, such as liposuction, is a procedure that removes existing fat from your body. A contouring procedure assists the patient in enhancing their body shape after losing weight. Cosmetic surgical procedures are more suitable for people with specific trouble areas than significantly obese or overweight individuals.
Weight loss surgery entails a group of procedures that help a person lose weight by adjusting the digestive system. Some weight loss procedures make the stomach smaller to limit the amount of food you eat per session, making you feel full quickly. Other operations change the small intestine, the digestive system section that absorbs nutrients and energy from foods and beverages. This weight loss procedure minimizes the number of calories absorbed by the body. Also, a weight-loss surgical procedure can impact bacteria or hormones in the gastrointestinal tract to reduce hunger and appetite and improve how your body uses insulin and metabolizes fat (niddk.nih.gov, 2022).
Who Should Have Weight Loss Surgery?
You may require a weight-loss surgical procedure if you are an obese adult and have not succeeded in losing excess weight or regaining the weight you’ve lost through other means such as medication, exercise, or dieting.
The Body Mass Index (BMI) is the first thing that determines if you should undergo a weight-loss surgical procedure. BMI evaluates your body fat based on weight concerning your height. If your BMI is 35 or higher, it can be difficult to treat obesity with exercise and diet alone, so your health care provider may recommend a bariatric operation. You may also require this surgery if your BMI is 30-35 and you have type 2 diabetes that you cannot control with lifestyle changes and medications (niddk.nih.gov, 2022)
Types of Bariatric Weight Loss Surgeries
Bariatric surgeries function differently by limiting the amount of food the stomach can accommodate, decreasing the body’s capacity to absorb nutrients. The different bariatric surgeries are duodenal switch, adjustable gastric band, sleeve gastrectomy, and gastric bypasses (WebMD.com, 2022).
1. Gastric Bypass
This is among the most common type of bariatric surgical procedures. This procedure is done in two stages. Firstly, the surgeon creates a small pouch in the top part of the stomach to separate it from the rest of the abdomen. Then the surgeon divides the first section of the small intestine, and the lowest end of the small intestine is attached to the new small pouch in the abdomen. Lastly, the upper part of the divided small intestine is attached to the lower part of the small intestine. This alters the food stream and makes changes in gut hormones. A gastric bypass procedure limits the quantity of food the stomach can accommodate and controls the absorption of nutrients and calories.
2. Sleeve Gastrectomy
This is a procedure that removes about 80% of the stomach. The remainder is a sleeve or a tube-shaped pouch. It becomes impossible to hold a lot of food with a smaller stomach. Production of the appetite-regulating hormone ghrelin is also reduced after the procedure.
3. Gastric Band
An adjustable gastric band entails placing an inflatable band near the top part of the stomach to create a smaller pouch above. Consequently, the stomach stores less food, and the patient achieves fullness quicker. The band is decreased eventually with repeated adjustments.
4. Duodenal Switch
A duodenal switch involves two stages, as well. The surgeon starts by creating a portion of the stomach to form a tube-shaped pouch, such as that in a sleeve gastrectomy. Secondly, a significant part of the small intestine is bypassed. This results in restricting the quantity of food held by the stomach and encourages fullness faster. Furthermore, it reduces nutrient absorption. A duodenal switch is highly effective, but it has higher risks of malnutrition or vitamin deficiencies.
What to Expect Before Surgery
Before you go for surgery, you will consult with different health care professionals, such as a bariatric surgeon, psychologist, dietitian, and internist.
• The bariatric surgeon will educate you about the procedure, including preparations and required follow-up after the procedure.
• The psychologist may evaluate you to establish if you can manage the challenges that accompany weight-loss surgeries.
• The dietitian will expound on what and how much food and drinks you can take after the procedure and assist you in preparing for life changes after the surgery.
• The internist will enquire about your medical history, conduct a thorough physical evaluation, and request blood tests.
Health care professionals will also urge you to adopt healthy eating habits and be more active before and after surgery. It is essential to lower your blood sugar and lose weight before surgery to decrease your chances of problems related to surgery.
What to Expect During the Surgery
Bariatric surgeries are performed in hospitals using general anesthesia, meaning that you’ll be unconscious during the surgery. Details of your surgery are dependent on individual circumstances, the type of procedure you want, and the doctor’s or hospital’s practices. Some weight-loss surgeries are conducted with traditional open or large incisions in your stomach.
Nowadays, most types of surgeries are done using a laparoscope, which is a small tubular instrument that has an attached camera. The surgeon inserts the laparoscope through small incisions in your abdomen. The instrument has a tiny camera at the tip that enables the surgeon to see and operate inside the stomach without having to make large incisions. Laparoscopic surgery can quicken and shorten your recovery, although it is not appropriate for everyone.
Usually, surgery lasts for several hours. You will awaken in the recovery room after the procedure to monitor any complications by medical staff. Depending on the procedure, you may have to stay at the hospital for a few days.
What to Expect After Surgery
You will be required to rest and recover. It may be helpful to walk and move around the house as it helps recover more quickly. Start gradually and follow the advice given by your health care professional about suitable physical activities. When you begin to feel more comfortable, increase your physical activity.
Immediately after the surgery, you should only have a liquid diet. You will transition to a soft diet over several weeks that includes foods such as soup, yogurt, or cottage cheese. Over time, you will start to eat solid foods again. Before you leave the hospital, your doctor or dietitian will tell you the kind of food and beverages you can take and the ones to avoid. You will be required to chew your food and eat small meals properly. Also, dietary supplements are essential to ensure sufficient minerals and vitamins.
Life after Surgery
Having surgery to reduce weight can achieve dramatic results, but it cannot cure obesity. You will have to adopt permanent lifestyle changes to avoid regaining weight. You can:
• Change your diet. Immediately after surgery, you will take a soft or liquid food diet for several weeks. However, you will move to solid foods that have to support your weight loss goals for the rest of your life.
• Regularly exercise. After recovering from surgery, you can start an exercise program following your doctor’s advice and stick with it for life.
• Go for regular appointments for follow-up purposes to enable the doctor to assess your condition, advise you accordingly, and provide support.
A woman who has had this surgical procedure should avoid getting pregnant during the initial 12-18 months after surgery.
Risks Associated with Weight Loss Surgeries
According to nhs.uk (2022) there are small complication risks with this surgery, including:
• You can have excess skin folds after the surgery that may require another surgery to remove, which is an extra cost to you.
• Because of the restricted diet, you may not get sufficient minerals and vitamins from the diet. Therefore, you will have to take supplements for your entire life after having this surgery.
• Formation of gallstones
• Deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism
• The gastric band may move out of place, food may leak through the joint between the small intestine and the stomach, and the gut may narrow or get blocked.
Before you have the surgery, ensure that you understand all the risks and benefits of the procedure.
Usually, weight loss surgeries are performed by women. But, there has been a significant increase in men seeking surgical weight loss. Alabama Bariatrics is a comprehensive weight loss and bariatric surgeries clinic that provides Southern Tennessee and North Alabama services. To know more about this surgical procedure, please register for our next webinar, call our offices, or visit our website. Our specialist are ready to help you lose weight.