If you have tried losing weight by eating a healthy diet or exercising yourself into submission but do not see any progress, you may consider going for a weight loss surgery. You can qualify for a bariatric surgical procedure if you have a body mass index of 40 or higher. Individuals with a BMI of between 35 and 40 may be eligible for surgery if they have other underlying conditions such as diabetes, fatty liver disease, or high blood pressure. However, it can be difficult to choose the right weight loss surgery especially if you are doing it for the first time. This article looks at the benefits and risks of different types of bariatric surgical procedures to help you determine which surgery is best for you.
Main Types of Weight Loss Surgery
A gastric bypass surgery involves the creation of a new pouch to restrict the amount of food that enters the stomach. This pouch is created from the upper part of the stomach and then connected to your small intestine, thus ‘bypassing’ or missing out the rest of the stomach. You will feel full faster and fewer calories will be absorbed from the food you eat.
The gastric band is a surgical procedure that uses minimally invasive techniques. A small band is placed around the stomach to create a small pouch at the top. Unlike gastric bypass, it does not require re-routing of the digestive system. The band is connected to a small device embedded under the skin so that it can be tightened after the surgery.
In sleeve gastrectomy, the large part of the stomach is curved out making it smaller than it was before. This surgical procedure does not require re-routing of the digestive system but only reduces the size of your stomach to a ‘banana-like’ shape. This makes you feel full sooner since you cannot eat as much food as you could before the surgery.
Biliopancreatic diversion (BPD) is a medical weight loss surgery that removes a portion of the stomach and then attaches the new, smaller stomach pouch with a section of the small intestine. Because the stomach is smaller, it holds less food and bypasses much of the small intestine, where calories are absorbed.
Which Type of Surgery is the Best for Weight Loss?
All the above types of surgery can help you lose a significant amount of weight. However, individual preferences may vary depending on the techniques used and the expected outcomes since each weight loss surgery comes with its benefits and downsides. For instance, sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass can help you lose a significant amount of weight after surgery but they pose a greater risk of serious complications after surgery. On the other hand, gastric bands are removable which means that the procedure can be reversed if you develop serious problems. However, some of the risks associated with gastric band surgery include inflammation of the stomach lining, wound infection, hernia, and gastrointestinal scarring that may cause bowel blockage.
Another factor that may influence your decision on the best surgery for weight loss is your individual preferences. Perhaps you feel re-routing your digestive system will be too complicated, or you cannot withstand the idea of living with a foreign device inside your body. Although gastric bypass and the gastric band may help you achieve weight loss, you may not be willing to undergo any of the two procedures thus, it may force you to go with other options that may work best for you.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Weight Loss Surgery
Before you undergo a weight loss surgery, your doctor may refer you to a specialist clinic for an assessment to determine whether the operation is suitable for your condition. Some of the factors to consider include your physical health, diet or eating patterns, and mental health. Your practitioner may ask about your expectations of surgery to determine whether you can adapt to the long-term lifestyle changes after the procedure. Before the surgery, you may be placed under a strict calorie diet to reduce the size of your liver. This is done to make the surgery easier and safer.
No surgery works best for everyone since different people have different needs. Bariatric surgical procedures have their benefits and downsides so it is important to have an idea of what each surgery entails to make up your mind. If you are considering a weight loss surgery, make sure you discuss with your surgeon about the different techniques involved to decide which option is best for you.