If you are considering weight loss surgery, known as bariatric surgery, you’ll want to know what types of surgery are available, how each procedure will affect your bodily functions, and whether the operation is permanent or reversible. A medical evaluation by your personal doctor is recommended when selecting the most beneficial bariatric surgery for you. The choice of a preferred surgical procedure may also depend on your current health status, how much weight you plan to lose, and if, or how much, your insurance policy will pay for the operation.
One determining factor for bariatric surgery is a patient’s BMI (body mass index). The BMI is a computation that is calculated using a person’s height and weight. Severely obese individuals with a BMI of 40 or higher, and who do not have any contributing glandular health risks, tend to be serious candidates for weight loss surgery. This BMI generally equates to females who are 80 pounds or more overweight and to males who are 100 pounds or more overweight. Obese individuals with a BMI between 35 and 39.9, and who do have contributing medical risks, are serious candidates for bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery can often help patients with more than weight loss. Patients who were severely obese and had contributing major health problems, such as diabetes, arthritis, sleep apnea, or heart issues, often reported fewer complications after they achieved significant weight loss following bariatric surgery. However, your results may vary.
Having bariatric surgery is a major decision. But surgery alone is no assurance that you will automatically lose the excess weight and gain control over a lifelong battle with obesity. The entire process requires your participation. You will need to alter your previous eating habits and, depending on your capabilities, you’ll need to increase your physical activities to maintain your anticipated results.
Currently, there are two methods used for weight loss surgery. The surgery categories are restrictive and a combination of malabsorptive and restrictive. Restrictive surgery makes the stomach smaller while malabsorptive surgery bypasses a section of the small intestine. Each category will help with long term weight loss while functioning in a different manner.
Restrictive Bariatric Surgery
Restrictive surgery reduces the size of a person’s stomach so that food digestion is slowed down. The surgery allows for a steady, slow pace of permanent weight reduction that is based on the principle that less food is required to fill full so that weight loss is easier to achieve. Two common forms of restrictive surgery are adjustable gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy. Typical three-year weight loss from the time of the operation for adjustable gastric banding patients is about 16 percent and about 21 percent for sleeve gastrectomy patients, but results do vary.
Combination Malabsorptive And Restrictive Surgery
This type of surgery reduces the size of a person’s stomach as well as bypassing or removing a portion of the digestive tract. Combination surgery alters how food is processed by the body. This is based on the principle that it is harder for the stomach to absorb calories and weight loss is faster than with a purely restrictive procedure. Two common forms of combination surgery are roux en-y gastric bypass and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. Typical three-year weight loss from the time of the operation for roux en-y gastric bypass patients is about 32 percent and about 35 percent for biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch patients, but results can vary.
This type of minimally invasive surgery involves several small incisions in the abdomen. Special laparoscopic instruments are inserted through one or two of the incisions. One instrument has an attached camera on it that gives the surgeon a better view of the operation site. After the surgery, the small incisions are closed with stitches that may be dissolvable or may need to be removed later by the surgeon. There is little to no scarring from a laparoscopic procedure and the recovery time is shorter than when the operation is performed as an open surgery.
This type of operation uses one incision site made in the abdomen that will give the surgeon full access to the stomach area. The incision site for women is typically 2.5 to 6 inches in length and is 3.5 to 7 in length for men. After the surgery, the incision is closed with stitches that may be dissolvable or may need to be removed later by the surgeon. There will be a scar line at the incision site. The recovery time for an open operation is longer than when the procedure is performed as a laparoscopic surgery.
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