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Obesity Weight Loss Surgery

Candidates for Obesity Surgery

Appropriate patients for bariatric operations include:

  • Patients with a body mass index of 40+ (roughly 80-100 pounds overweight), or
  • Patients with a body mass index of 35+ who also suffer from diabetes, or any serious obesity-related condition such as heart disease or severe sleep apnea.

In addition, obese patients must be ready to make long-term behavioral changes to their dietary and exercise routines.

Types of Obesity Surgery

There are 2 basic types of surgical procedure to treat severe clinical obesity.

Restrictive Operations

These procedures only reduce the size of the stomach - either by using a gastric band (lapband®), or staples, or both (vertical banded gastroplasty). They do not interfere with the digestive anatomy. After surgery, patients typically can eat only 3/4 to 1 cup of food without discomfort or nausea, thus calorie-intake is drastically reduced.

Malabsorptive Operations

Malabsorption operations are gastric bypass procedures. They reduce the size of the stomach AND also bypass the duodenum and sometimes the whole of the jejunum (the mid-section). Malabsorptive bypass surgery is more successful in causing weight loss than restrictive surgeries, but leads to nutritional deficiencies due to a reduction in the amount of vitamins and minerals being absorbed, as well as calories. This necessitates the long-term use of nutritional supplements.

Weight Loss After Surgery

Both types of surgery are viable treatments for severe obesity, as they lead to a weight reduction of about 60-80 percent of excess body weight. This weight loss typically occurs with 2 years. However, many bariatric patients find the post-operative dietary guidelines too arduous. Because restrictive surgeries are easier to "cheat" than malabsorptive operations, long-term weight reduction is more successful for bypass than banding patients.

Health Benefits and Risks of Surgery

First, let's consider the known and well-documented health risks of morbid and malignant obesity. Obesity is linked to diabetes (80 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes are obese) increases risk of gallbladder disease and gallstones, and is a major risk factor for heart disease. Almost 70 percent of diagnosed heart disease is obesity-related. In addition, being obese doubles the risk of elevated blood pressure (hypertension) and leads to a higher risk of cancers like breast, endometrial and colon cancer. Lastly, obesity is one of the cluster of symptoms comprising insulin resistance syndrome.

Successful weight loss surgery reduces almost all obesity-related health risks. However, perioperative and post-operative complications can be distressing, serious or even life-threatening. For more details about the risks of surgery, see: Health Complications of Obesity Surgery

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Laparoscopic or open bariatric surgery, such as gastric banding or bypass is not an easy solution to morbid obesity and weight loss. It is a serious surgical procedure, involving health risks. To produce lasting weight loss it requires a long-term patient commitment to eating a healthy diet and following a regular program of physical exercise. Life-long use of nutritional supplements may also be necessary. So, before deciding, discuss your options fully with your doctor. © 2003-2017 Bariatric-Surgery.Info - Terms - Contact - Information - Resources