Considering the rise of overweight and obesity across the U.S. population, going under the knife in efforts to lose weight sounds rather enticing. Despite the attractiveness of weight loss following bariatric surgery, there is a plethora of considerations one must recognize for best success.
What Is Weight Loss Surgery?
Also known as bariatric surgery, a surgeon will make anatomical changes to your stomach, small intestine, or even both. The surgical procedure hopes to assist in weight loss through a number of methods, including gastric bypasses, bands, and sleeves.
Formally known as the Roux-en-Y, gastric bypass involves the development of a small pouch at the top of the stomach, the only part to receive food. The small intestine is cut below the main stomach area, and connected to the smaller food pouch. "Bypassing" part of the small intestine, lessens both the absorption of calories and nutrients, though the remaining portion of the stomach is left to stimulate necessary digestive juices.
A "band" containing an inflatable balloon is placed around the upper portion of the stomach, creating a smaller stomach pouch above the band, with a much narrower opening to the rest of the stomach area. Like gastric bypasses, gastric bands restrict the volume of food held in the stomach, but with lessened concern of calorie and nutrient malabsorption.
This type of bariatric surgery removes more than half of the stomach, leaving a thin vertical "sleeve" or tube. Unlike other operations, the gastric sleeve is irreversible, as it removes part of the stomach. The leftover stomach portion is about the size of a banana, leaving smaller room for food volumes.
Weight Loss Surgery for Men and Women
Although weight loss surgery is universal, disparities surface between men and women. Generally, weight loss surgeries are more pronounced in women, as they tend to seek out the operation first. Additionally, research consistently shoes emotional and social problems related to obesity, subsequently suggestive of the gateway to their surgery decision.
But despite the prompting that may have gotten both genders to the surgery, data has shown the percentage of clinically obese men and women has doubled between the years 1990 and 2001, with a dramatic increase in gastric sleeve operations. Fast-forward to the future, the statistics still display a rapid growth in total bariatric surgeries between the years 2011 and 2015:
*Adapted from ASMBS
Quite noticeably, the totals of weight loss surgeries continue to grow and rise, with an influx of nearly 40,000 surgeries within a five-year span. Gastric bypasses and bands also demonstrate quite the drop, while gastric sleeves show a distinguished increase.
Candidates and Considerations
Though weight loss surgery is common, its use is not required across the board. Candidates desiring the surgery must qualify with specific parameters while considering other related factors.
• According the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), qualifications for bariatric surgery include a BMI (body mass index) over 40 or more than 100 pounds overweight; BMI equal to or greater than 35 and at least two obesity-related co-morbidities such as type II diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea and other respiratory disorders, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, osteoarthritis, lipid abnormalities, gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, or heart disease.
• Individuals with the established BMI and health-related parameters are not automatic candidates. Prerequisites further involve the inability to achieve a healthy weight loss sustained for a period of time with other weight loss methods and efforts.
• If qualified, clients need to understand the surgery cannot initiate all the weight loss and keep it off. Individuals need to establish a new approach to eating, exercise, and embracing self-discipline for success. The ASMBS even suggests starting back exercise right away by taking gentle, slow, and short steps.
• Once you have been discharged following the surgery, you should still be meeting with the physician, registered dietitian, psychologist, and other health professionals. The team of experts helps eliminate complications and nutritional deficiencies while motivating dietary and lifestyle compliances. In fact, you will need to take a multivitamin for life, along with frequent lab checks to verify nutrient levels.
• One must also consider the monetary price. Though health insurance and loans are available to help with the cost, weight loss surgeries may tap into individuals' wallets dependent on their coverage. It is important to weigh out your own personal financial options before jumping right into surgery.
Though the evolution of weight loss surgery continues to try and bridge the gap between nutritional concerns and invasive operations, such as the youngest balloon surgery, they should be last resort. While weight loss surgeries do show promise and success among individuals, it is not a "one and done" and does require continuous, thoughtful lifestyle changes. In addition to weight loss, it's possible that heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis may subside, subsequently increasing the likelihood to lessen or completely get rid of related medications.
For the right, dedicated person, bariatric surgery can absolutely be an effective approach to weight loss, even providing them a new outlook and chance at life.
But if desiring weight loss without the worry of invasive procedures, let bistroMD contribute to your success. BistroMD delivers well-balanced meals, scientifically-proven to facilitate weight loss. And with ongoing support, you will not feel isolated in your journey. Before starting any weight loss program, you should consult with a primary healthcare provider. They, too, can also assist in your desire and questions regarding bariatric surgeries.