Weight Loss Surgeries
Weight loss surgeries, also known as metabolic and bariatric surgeries, help individuals with obesity lose weight and improve their overall health. These surgeries work by restricting food intake, altering digestive processes, or both. Here’s an overview of some types of weight loss surgeries:
Gastric bypass surgery (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass): Involves creating a small pouch from the upper part of the stomach. This pouch serves as the new stomach. Then this part of the stomach is connected directly to the middle part of the small intestine.
It bypasses most of the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine. That reduces food intake and nutrient absorption, leading to weight loss. Gastric bypass is considered both a restrictive and malabsorptive procedure.
Gastric sleeve (sleeve gastrectomy): In this surgery, the surgeon removes a large portion of the stomach, creating a small pouch. The reduced stomach size limits food intake, promoting weight loss. Additionally, the surgery may affect hunger hormones, reducing appetite. Gastric sleeve is primarily a restrictive procedure.
Gastric balloon (intragastric balloon): It is a non-surgical procedure. A saline filled silicone balloon is placed in the stomach using an endoscope. The balloon occupies space in the stomach, making the patient feel full more quickly. Therefore leading to a reduction in food intake.
The balloon is typically removed after six months. The gastric balloon is a temporary, restrictive weight loss intervention.
Gastric Botoks: This non-surgical procedure involves injecting botulinum toxin (Botoks) into the stomach muscles using an endoscope. Botoks temporarily paralyzes the stomach muscles, which slows down gastric emptying and helps the patient feel full longer. The effects of gastric Botoks typically last for a few months. It is considered a temporary, minimally invasive weight loss intervention.
It is important to note that weight loss surgeries and interventions should be considered only after other weight loss methods. These procedures are typically recommended for individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher. Individuals with a BMI of 35 or higher with health conditions related to obesity can also benefit from these surgeries. Patients should consider these surgeries when other methods, such as diet and exercise, have been unsuccessful.
When Can Patients Have Weight Loss Surgery?
Weight loss surgeries are typically considered for individuals who have not been successful with other weight loss methods. These procedures are generally recommended for those who meet the following criteria:
Body Mass Index (BMI): Weight loss surgeries are often recommended for individuals with a BMI of 40 or higher. People with a BMI of 35 or higher who also have health conditions related to obesity, such as:
Type 2 diabetes,
High blood pressure,
may also be considered candidates for bariatric surgery.
Previous weight loss attempts: Candidates for weight loss surgery should have tried and been unsuccessful with non-surgical weight loss methods.
Commitment to lifestyle changes: Individuals considering weight loss surgery should be willing and able to commit to lifelong changes. These changes would be related to their diet, exercise habits, and overall lifestyle to ensure long-term success.
Medical clearance: Candidates should be in overall good health or have their health conditions related to obesity under control. They should also be free of any medical conditions or circumstances.
That is because some conditions could increase the risk of complications or affect the healing process after surgery.
For instance, patients with heart disease or blood clotting may not be suitable for bariatric surgeries.
Psychological readiness: Candidates for weight loss surgery must be mentally prepared for the procedure.
They should fully understand the risks, benefits, and long-term lifestyle changes required for successful outcomes.