Weight Loss Surgery: What you need to know
Weight Loss Surgery or Bariatric Surgery as it is otherwise known has certainly become more popular in recent years. However, any surgery of this type should not be taken lightly and you should ensure that you do your research fully before committing to undergoing any type of procedure.
Different Types of Surgery
There are six different types of weight loss surgery available:
• Gastric Band
An adjustable collar is fitted around the stomach. Regular appointments are required to adjust the tightness of the collar and this done by injecting a saline solution into a port fitted under the skin.
Gastric band surgery is probably the most well known and is generally the quickest and safety surgical option. It doesn't take long to carry out the surgery although weight loss is slower than with other procedures and up to 1 in 5 people can need further operations.
• RNY Gastric Bypass
A small stomach pouch is created and the intestine is divided and joined with the new pouch. Weight loss with this procedure is quicker and the outpatient follow up is a lot less than with the gastric band. However there is an increased risk of clots and leakage of internal joins. You will also require more recovery time and the operation itself lasts longer than the gastric band. There is also more risk of weight regain than if you opted for the band.
• Duodenal Switch
A sausage shaped stomach is created and a long intestinal bypass made. With this surgery you can eat and drink at the same time, and it offers the biggest eating capacity post-op of all the weight loss surgeries available. Weight loss results and maintenance are very good.
With this surgery you need to be disciplined at eating and maintaining a high protein diet which can prove costly. If you are based in the UK you will also struggle to find a surgeon willing to perform the procedure in the first place.
• Sleeve Gastrectomy
A new sausage shaped stomach is made but with no intestinal bypass. This is a quick and easy procedure and you will not be required to spend a great deal of time in hospital but the overall weight loss is harder than with other procedures.
• Gastric Balloon
A ballon is inserted into the stomach and inflated which is relatively cheap and easy to perform. Unfortunately weight loss is often not sustained as once the balloon has been removed, there is nothing to help control the amount eaten.
As with any medical procedure, it is vital that you seek expert opinion before making your decision and that you explore all options available to you.
Is it worth the risk?
As with any other surgery bariatric or weight loss surgery has risks. Most common risks are infection, blood clots, acid reflux, vitamin deficiency. It is as safe as surgery for gallbladder removal.
On the other hand - the health and social benefits that patients notice after it are way more than the risks. Also, the risks from heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke and cancer are very much reduced to what they were before the surgery.