Obesity is becoming one of the worst epidemics of this century. The good news is that people are becoming aware of this problem and are willing to work towards it. But, it is not easy. Losing weight has been an ongoing battle for many. It requires some serious lifestyle changes, which is difficult for many to maintain. Eating healthy food and exercising regularly are the best ways to lose unwanted pounds. It works for some people, but not for all. Hence, people resort to other means of losing the flab. And one of such methods is Surgery.
Surgery is usually recommended for people suffering from chronic severe obesity. Surgery basically interrupts with the digestion process to reduce the food intake. It involves making changes to the stomach and small intestine.
If you have a BMI of 40 or above, you are considered to be severely obese. If you are having obesity related health problems such as sleep disorders, heart disease or diabetes, then you are a candidate for weight loss surgery.
Such surgeries were initially used to remove a part of stomach or small intestine in the cancer patients. Patients undergoing these surgeries tended to lose weight post procedure.
Post procedure, patients lose weight rapidly and continue to do so for almost 24 months. Some of the lost weight is regained after that. Few regain it all.
Different types of surgeries are-
Gastric Bypass Surgery- The main idea is to create a small pouch to curb the food intake. A small portion of stomach is stapled. Food is made to bypass the duodenum by attaching a Y-Shaped part of intestine to the stomach pouch. This bypass decreases the absorption of food nutrients and restricts the intake of food.
There are two types of techniques available:-
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass- In this procedure, multiple small incisions are made. It can also be performed laparoscopically.
Bilionpancreatic diversion bypass- A single large incision is made and portions of stomach are removed. The bypass is then attached to the distal ileum. This is a complex procedure and is not commonly used.
Lap-Band- It stands for Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding. This technique involves placing an adjustable band around the stomach. This restricts the intake of food. This technique has been approved by FDA and helps the patients to feel full after consuming less food.
Body Lift- This is an excellent means of contouring the loose muscles. The reason of loose muscles could be due to childbirth, aging or massive weight loss.
Going for weight loss surgery is a serious decision. Once you decide to go for it, following factors need to be taken care of
- Choosing the right doctor
- Understanding pros and cons of the surgery
- Mentally and physically preparing yourself for the surgery
- Financial aspect of the surgery
- Understanding of what can be expected after the surgery
Nutritional deficiency- As not enough food is being eaten, or absorbed in the system, it causes nutritional deficiencies in the body. It is important to take supplements to meet those needs.
Giddiness- As the stomach size is made smaller, the food particles that have not been chewed well over stretch the walls of the stomach causing giddiness.
Complications- These complications include infections, hernia, breakdown of the staple line etc. These can be treated by follow-up surgeries.
Nausea, diarrhea, sweating, gastric problems and bloating are some of common side effects.
Gallstones- It is very common to develop gallstones after the surgery. These gallstones are composed of cholesterol and other matter present in the gallbladder. Using bile salts for first six months after the surgery can prevent them.
End of surgery is not the end of your efforts towards a better life. It is a continuous effort in terms of maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle. Adopting good eating habits, exercising regularly and listening to the advice given by your physician will help you achieve your goals and have a better self image. Work with the dietician and learn the new eating habits. Your commitment to weight loss is what will make it work. Keep up the regular follow up appointment and seek help to adjust to your new lifestyle. Follow the diet plan and enjoy the results.