If you would like to learn more about reaching a healthy weight and discuss what is needed to achieve sustained weight loss, contact our office today to schedule a consultation. There are many different types of gastric surgery, and our doctor can help you discover the one that would fit best with your life and current health.
A change to how your stomach and small intestine handle food may be the key to helping you lose weight. When other methods of weight loss fail, a procedure known as gastric surgery may be recommended as a biological solution to encouraging a reduction in the amount of food you consume by reducing your stomach’s capacity to hold food. The goal of gastric surgery is to make you feel full with less food to facilitate weight loss and improve your overall health.
How Gastric Surgery Works
Performed under general anesthesia, gastric surgery is typically a two-stage procedure. The first step in the surgery is to physically make your stomach smaller. Using staples, your stomach will be divided into two sections, with the bottom section being larger than the upper section. About the size of a walnut, the “pouch” is the smaller top section where your food will go. After surgery, your stomach will be able to hold about an ounce of food. Normally, the human stomach is capable of holding up to 33 ounces of food and liquid.
The second stage of the procedure is the bypass involving the connecting of a part of your small intestine with a hole in the newly created pouch. This will allow the food you consume to go from the pouch directly to the new opening in your small intestine. Gastric surgery can be done as either a traditional open procedure or as a less-invasive procedure using a tiny camera to guide the surgeon who will be able to view inside of your stomach on a monitor in the operating room. The minimally invasive method is ideal, because it involves less recovery time. Altogether, the procedure takes about two to four hours to complete.
Before Gastric Surgery
Prior to the surgery, you will undergo a physical exam that will include an evaluation of your medical history and the identification of any underlying conditions. Even if you have diabetes or another issue, whether or not the surgery is right for you will depend on how such conditions are managed.
If you’re a good candidate for the procedure, you’ll be given details of how the procedure is performed and instructions on what to expect afterwards. If you smoke, you’ll be asked to stop prior to the surgery. You may also be asked to work with a nutrition counselor to learn how to make appropriate dietary changes.
The exact instructions that you receive will depend on your current health and lifestyle. It is very important to follow these instructions carefully so that you have the best chance for success.
After Gastric Surgery
Immediately after the procedure, you may have to use a catheter for a few days. You will start with a liquid diet before moving to pureed foods before being able to eat solid foods again. You’ll likely be given some temporary pain medications, as well as medications to prevent infection.
You’ll also be encouraged to make the recommended dietary changes and adopt a regular exercise routine to further assist in your weight loss efforts. Follow-up visits will determine how well you are healing and how your weight loss is proceeding, which is often dramatic at first before tapering off once your body adjusts to your smaller stomach.
The exact results that you experience may vary. Each patient is different. By talking with your doctor about your weight loss goals and understanding what is expected of you following the procedure, you will have a better idea of what you can realistically expect.
Why Consider Gastric Surgery?
Gastric surgery is for patients who need to lose significant amounts of weight. If you’ve had a history with having difficulty either losing weight at all, or sustaining your weight loss results, you may want to consider this type of surgery. The purpose of gastric surgery is to set up your stomach in a way so that fewer calories will be absorbed by your body and turned into fat, since it won’t be able to hold as much food.
Gastric surgery may be a viable option if you’ve failed to lose weight through diet and exercise alone, especially if you have experienced unhealthy weight fluctuations, such as losing a large amount of weight and gaining it back later. It’s also a procedure worth considering if:
- You’re more than 100 pounds above your ideal weight
- You have at least two obesity-related conditions
- Your body mass index (BMI) is 40 or greater
- Your BMI ranges from 35 to 39.9 and you have significant weight-related health issues
Your doctor can help you determine if this type of weight loss surgery is a good choice for you, or if there are other things that should be attempted for weight loss.
Benefits of Gastric Surgery
The average weight loss experienced after gastric surgery varies for each patient. You’ll likely see additional benefits from the surgery if you’re committed to making the recommended lifestyle changes, including adjustments to your diet and the adoption of a regular exercise routine.
Most of the immediate benefits of gastric surgery are health-related, especially if you have preexisting conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Many patients report having a higher energy level as their weight goes down following surgery. Losing weight after gastric surgery may also:
- Lower blood pressure
- Help control blood sugar
- Reduce cholesterol levels
- Resolve sleep apnea issues
Your doctor will talk with you about some of the health related benefits that you could see following weight loss surgery.
Many people who have difficulty with either losing weight or keeping excess pounds from coming back attempt various diets, including some that may not be all that healthy or safe. Gastric surgery is a procedure that can allow you to enjoy meaningful weight loss and management — and the many benefits that go along with reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.