Bariatric Surgery: An Overview
Obesity is the root of many many harmful diseases or disorders. Numerous diet plan, exercise routines and other traditional medical care have been designed to help obese people red rid of their excess fat and weight. But what if despite all that you are unable to lose your weight? What if obesity is giving birth to life-threatening or disabling diseases like cholesterol, diabetes, arthritis, high BP and more? What choice do you have?
Well, there is a surgical choice. Bariatric Surgery has proven to be a great success as a weight loss surgery. But what exactly is it?
Let’s understand some basics of bariatric surgery.
What Is Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery includes various procedures which aim at making changes inside your digestive system (for instance, clipping the stomach, reducing the size of your intestine etc) so that you either consume less food or less amount of the intaken food is absorbed by the body. These procedures ultimately help you in losing excess weight.
Bariatric Surgery Vs Liposuction
- Both of them are surgical procedures. But while bariatric surgery aims at giving you a healthier weight, liposuction is for a cosmetic makeover.
- In liposuction, the excess fat is sucked out. In bariatric surgery, the internal digestive organs are trimmed such that it prevents you from gaining weight.
- Bariatric surgery is a procedure performed inside your belly and is meant for overall weight loss. Liposuction is a localised procedure and can be performed on various parts of the body like abdomen, thighs, arms, chin etc, It shows results only at the operated area.
Can You Take A Bariatric Surgery?
One thing you must understand about bariatric surgery is that it is not a ‘traditional’ weight loss surgery. Many people want to opt for surgery for cosmetic purposes. But we strongly recommend that bariatric surgery is taken to get a healthy lifestyle (cosmetic upgradation will be a byproduct of this).
We recommend a bariatric surgery if a patient is unable to shed the excess weight even after careful diet and exercises. This mostly happens to people who are excessively or morbidly obese.
Here is the general criterion:
The basic unit of measuring weight is BMI (kg/m2). If your BMI is more than 35, you may be a victim of lifestyle diseases like diabetes and high BP. You may have also acquired arthritis, breathing disorders, difficulty in movement etc. If you are finding it difficult to lead a normal life because of your obesity, we may list you for bariatric surgery.
Sometimes, we recommend bariatric surgery to a patient with lower BMI but a heavier truncal (mid-body) region if the localised weight is causing health issues.
Of course, you have to pass certain health tests, follow a certain diet, and must not have severe chronic diseases like a heart condition, HIV etc.
All Bariatric Surgeries Aren’t The Same!
The most common type of bariatric surgery is the procedure of stomach clipping, also known as, gastric bypass surgery. This is why the common notion is that that is the only type of bariatric surgery. However, this is far from the truth. There are many types of bariatric surgeries.
To mention a few of the most common types:
In this procedure, the top section of your stomach is clipped out of the rest of the stomach so that, when you eat, it only fills the top section and does not fill the entire stomach. This way, your appetite decreases. The newly trimmed section is then connected to the small intestine.
Food bypasses most of your stomach and hence, this procedure is called gastric bypass surgery. This procedure is irreversible.
Biliopancreatic Diversion With Duodenal Switch
Similar to gastric bypass surgery, in this procedure, the trimmed (the trim can be made vertically as well) upper section is connected to the lower end of the small intestine. The result is that you not only eat less but also fewer nutrients are absorbed by the intestine.
However, the risks of nutritional deficiency are higher in this procedure and hence, are only done in people who are morbidly obese or has a BMI of 50 or higher.
In sleeve gastrectomy, the stomach is trimmed vertically (unlike a gastric bypass surgery, where the clipping is horizontal). The new banana-shaped stomach will accommodate less food and you will feel less hungry. However, the intestine is left intact which means that you can absorb all the nutrients from the food you eat. So, as long as you are eating a balanced diet, you are less likely to suffer from malnutrition.
Adjustable Gastric Band
An adjustable band is wrapped around the upper section of your stomach. It constricts food from going into the lower section of the stomach from the upper section. This makes you feel ‘full’ even if you eat a small portion of food.
The constriction of the band can be adjusted by inflating it with saline water through a port placed through your skin. This procedure prompts less/slower weight loss but is a much safer procedure.
Earlier, during bariatric surgeries, surgeons would cut a big hole in the operating area and do the procedure. Such a procedure is called open surgery. This procedure involves more procedural risks like bleeding, longer hospital stays; although, it yields equally successful results at the end.
As opposed to that, you can now opt for a laparoscopic surgery where modern medical equipment allows surgeons to perform the same procedure with equal efficiency but with a much smaller cut. It involves less bleeding, quick recovery and a much smaller scar.
How Can You Benefit From A Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric Surgery is considered a major surgery with some undeniably associated risks. But research shows that when the right candidate is chosen, the benefits overcome the temporary drawbacks like dizziness, acid reflux, nutritional deficiency, loss of cosmetic appeal etc. However, when you consider the benefits, a bariatric surgery can really help you lead a healthier life.
Here are the major benefits of bariatric surgery:
- Losing weight will help you manage many chronic diseases better like diabetes, cholesterol, arthritis etc.
- Overweight may lead to difficulty in breathing and movement. When you lose weight after a bariatric surgery, these problems will go away.
- Overweight tampers with your sex life and fertility. In overweight women, PCOD is very common. In men, hormonal changes induced by various factors related to obesity may lead to sexual problems like erectile dysfunction.
- Bariatric Surgery also eliminates the risks in pregnancy which an obese woman might face.
- The heath of your heart has a close relationship with your weight. Having a healthy weight can prevent heart attacks and strokes.
- A healthy weight also prevents liver diseases, urine inconsistency, and other potential disorders.
- The cosmetic consequences of bariatric surgery are also undeniable. You will feel younger and more appealing aesthetically after a bariatric surgery.
- Living with obesity and all the associated hurdles is not easy It’s is very natural that it drains your positivity. But after a bariatric surgery, when you see the results, it will help you get your self-confidence back.
- Last but not least, lighter weight will prompt easier movement and you will feel motivated to perform more activities like sports, domestic chores and even exercises. This will ensure that you do not regain the lost weight, reaping the full benefits of this procedure.
Since bariatric surgery takes care of so many health issues, in a way, you can say that this surgery gives you a lease of life and helps you live a longer and fuller life.
Is Bariatric Surgery A Permanent Solution?
Ideally, yes, bariatric surgery is a permanent solution; at least, you are supposed to maintain it this way.
After a bariatric surgery, you lose weight fast initially. During that time, you must visit your doctor as per the schedule so that he can keep an eye on your recovery.
Post that, you must maintain the weight with a healthy diet and exercise. You must not fall back to lavish eating habits. Because, now that your digestive system has a limited capacity, if you overburden it, you can run serious health risks like inflammation in your oesophagus (food pipe) causing breathing troubles.
However, the good news is that nearly 80% of the patients who have undergone a bariatric surgery are capable of maintaining a healthier weight. Naturally, the other health issues related to obesity are also controlled.
If you are an obese person and are facing problems because of that, you can consult our doctors at Sunshine Hospitals. We can help you choose the best treatment that will help you lead a fuller life.
About Sunshine Hospitals:
A Multi Super Speciality Institution, 500 bedded Sunshine Hospitals (Paradise Circle, Secunderabad) is promoted by globally reputed Joint Replacement Surgeon Dr AV Gurava Reddy (Orthopedic Doctor) and like-minded associates who share the objective of making world-standard healthcare available, affordable and accessible to the common man. Sunshine has now become one of the best hospitals for many treatments including Orthopedic, Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Trauma and Neurology.