To learn more about the different types of weight loss procedures and to explore your weight loss surgery options, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation with our staff.
Undergoing surgery for weight loss is a drastic step, yet it’s a necessary one for those who have exhausted all other weight loss options. Weight loss surgery incorporates a few different procedures, each of which is appropriate in different circumstances. Many people have succeeded at losing and keeping off large amounts of weight with surgery, but it takes dedication and an understanding of how the surgery will affect the rest of your life.
Types and Methods
Losing weight by physically restricting intake has three main forms. One is straightforward restriction, where the stomach size is reduced, for example. Another is malabsorption, where part of the small intestine is removed, making it harder for your body to absorb all of the food you’ve eaten. A third method, which is not as common, involves electrical interruption of the communication between the brain and stomach. Many procedures offer a combination of restriction and malabsorption.
Plain restrictive options include:
–Adjustable gastric banding, in which an adjustable band compresses part of the stomach, creating two sections with a very small opening between the two. This compression helps you feel fuller when you eat because the top section is very small, so you feel like you’ve reached your limit sooner.
-Sleeve gastrectomy, in which most of the stomach is actually removed, and the small intestine is reattached to the remaining stomach pouch.
Restriction/malabsorption options include:
-Roux-en-Y, in which the stomach is physically divided in two — you have a smaller top pouch that accepts food, and this pouch is surgically connected to the small intestine. The larger section of the stomach is surgically connected to another part of the small intestine to allow the digestive acids in the stomach to enter the rest of the digestive system.
-Biliopancratic diversion with duodenal switch, in which much of the stomach is removed and part of the small intestine is rerouted. You’re left with a very small stomach pouch, and food you eat along with the digestive enzymes in the small intestine are sent right to the last part of the small intestine.
The best weight loss procedure for you will depend on many things, including your weight and medical history. When explaining all of your weight loss surgery options, your doctor will be able to help you determine which procedure would ultimately be best for you.
Finding out you’ve been approved for weight loss surgery is not a matter of just being very overweight. You have to have proven that other methods either don’t work at all or don’t keep the weight off. In many cases, especially if you’re under 18, you have to have health problems that put your life at serious risk if you don’t lose weight. Many institutions have body mass index (BMI) minimums, especially for youth, who generally have to have a BMI of at least 40.
However, even those factors aren’t enough. Being so overweight that surgery is necessary can often cause complications with anesthesia, and you may have to undertake an initial non-surgical weight loss program to bring your weight into a surgically safer range. This program would be monitored by your doctor.
Other factors that you need to meet to qualify for the surgery include counseling regarding the effects of the surgery on the rest of your life. Your food intake is going to be greatly restricted, there may be types of food you can no longer eat, and you are going to need to take vitamins and supplements carefully for the rest of your life in order to avoid deficiencies. These factors have secondary effects, like not being able to participate in large family meals on holidays (you can still go, but your food intake will have to be drastically different), or having to make special arrangements before traveling overseas.
In addition to the physical restrictions, you’ll have to deal with psychological ramifications. Much overeating is due to emotional or stress triggers, and many cultural factors revolve around food. You’ll need to find — and have in place before the surgery — acceptable substitutes and coping strategies for stress, boredom, and any other factors that could make you eat when not hungry. You’ll also need to have a supportive family, or figure out how to deal with unsupportive family, to help you stick with your new lifestyle.
Keep in mind, this has been done successfully by many, many patients. It sounds difficult, and it might not be easy for you at all, but it is possible to maintain over the course of your life. Your doctor will be able to help you prepare for the surgery and will provide you with the tools that you need to be successful.
Rate of Loss
The actual rate of loss can vary between techniques and individual people. However, weight loss is at least initially rapid, and most of the excess weight on your body will go away if you stick to your new lifestyle and are careful to take your vitamins and supplements. Keep in mind that results vary from one patient to the next.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are among the most common complications. You would need to communicate with your doctor often regarding any changes in health status or how you feel in general. In most cases, people who have undergone weight loss surgery have to take vitamin supplements, especially vitamins B12 and D, and calcium. Over-the-counter supplements are often suitable, especially those that are chewable. It also helps to keep a written record of what you’ve eaten so you can identify potential deficiencies.
To learn more about weight loss surgery options and to understand what bariatric procedures entail, contact our office today for a free consultation. Feel free to ask us any questions that you might have about weight loss surgery.