Despite their best attempts, many obese individuals cannot lose weight through traditional dieting and exercising. They must instead consider other methods to drop pounds and to overcome health conditions related to their obesity. One of the more popular options available to morbidly overweight people today is bariatric surgery.
- Bariatric surgery can help obese patients lose weight and avoid or lower their risk for illnesses associated with being severely overweight
- If you are wondering: “What is bariatric surgery?” then we can help you understand the benefits
What is Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery is a surgical procedure that involves reducing the size of an obese patient’s stomach. This procedure is also referred to as a gastric bypass because it entails bypassing the small intestines from its normal position and attaching it to the stomach.
The stomach itself is divided into two sections, a small upper segment and a large lower portion. The upper section is called the pouch and is the part of the stomach that will receive the food that the patient eats. It is the size of a walnut and therefore can only hold about a teaspoon’s worth of food. This significantly reduced capability compels the patient to eat less and thereby lose weight.
A small portion of the small intestine is attached to the pouch, allowing it to absorb needed calories and assist in the digestive process. The body eliminates excess calories via the small intestine, likewise helping the patient lose weight effectively.
Bariatric Surgery Process
Bariatric surgery can be done invasively through a large incision in the abdomen or it can be done laparoscopically, which is less invasive and painful for most patients. Laparoscopic bariatric surgery requires that the surgeon make three to four small incisions into which the surgical devices will be inserted and used during the operation.
This less invasive method requires fewer stitches and allows patients to be up and around sooner after surgery. Many doctors prefer to utilize this process because there is less risk for post-operative bleeding and infection.
Regardless of the method chosen for the bariatric surgery, the procedure itself requires that the patient recover for a few days. This recovery period allows the individual to be monitored for bleeding, infection, blood clots, breathing difficulties, and other rare but possible complications. After the patient can eat and drink food and water without vomiting, he or she may be discharged and allowed to go home to recover fully.
Bariatric Surgery Eligibility
While bariatric surgery is ideal for many obese patients, it is not an option for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or suffer from health conditions like hemophilia, seizures, or blood clots. Patients must undergo an extensive pre-surgery physical examination to determine if they are healthy enough to go through the operation.
The best candidates for bariatric surgery are people who:
- Have a body mass index of 40 or above
- Have a body mass index of 35 or higher and suffer from diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and other obesity-related illnesses
- Are 100 pounds or more overweight
- Cannot lose weight through dieting or exercise
Doctors have the final say on who is best suited for the surgery and who may do well to consider other weight loss methods.
Bariatric Surgery Recovery
After they are sent home from the hospital, patients are strongly urged to follow their surgeon’s advice if they want to recover fully and lose weight effectively. Despite their stomachs being reduced to the size of a walnut, it is still possible for patients to not lose weight at all or lose weight and then gain it back.
The primary piece of advice that patients are cautioned to keep in mind involves changing the way that they eat. They must reduce their portion sizes to accommodate the size of their pouches. They also must eat foods that are high in vitamins and minerals and low in fat and cholesterol. If they fail to eat nutritious foods, they could develop illnesses like anemia because of not taking in enough nutrients like iron, protein, and Vitamin C.
To keep patients on the right track after bariatric surgery, many surgeons refer them to nutritionists and counselors who can provide educational resources to patients. These healthcare professionals can also monitor patients’ weight loss and ensure that they are taking in enough calories and nutrients at mealtimes.
What is bariatric surgery? Bariatric surgery is designed to help obese individuals lose and keep off weight. It may be ideal for people who cannot lose weight through diet and exercising as well as those who suffer from obesity-related illnesses like diabetes, apnea, and high blood pressure.