Obesity is one of the biggest health problems in the world right now. According to the World Health Organization, roughly 1.7 billion adults were overweight and obese in 2016. The numbers are only increasing as the years go by due to poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle. Obesity can lead to a number of health issues such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, infertility, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and so many more.
It’s therefore, crucial to maintain a healthy body weight to avoid developing these problems. The best way to lose and maintain a healthy weight is through exercise, eating healthy and managing food portions. However, this might not work for everyone depending on their lifestyle and commitment.
Another way to lose weight is through weight loss/ bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery has been gaining popularity over the years and nowadays, people get weight loss surgery not only for health reasons but also for cosmetic reasons. The surgery contributes to weight loss in two main ways:
- Restriction. Surgery is used to physically limit the amount of food the stomach can hold, which limits the number of calories you can eat.
- Malabsorption. Surgery is used to shorten or bypass part of the small intestine, which reduces the number of calories and nutrients the body absorbs.
Most weight loss surgeries target the stomach and the first part of the small intestines to modify and reduce their size. In the past, weight loss surgeries involved very invasive methods where the surgeon made a huge incision on the abdominal regain. However, thanks to technological advancements and improvements in surgical techniques, these procedures are performed laparoscopically or in a minimally invasive manner today. Additionally, depending on the results you want, there are a variety of weight loss surgeries available. These are:
Sleeve Gastric Procedure
This procedure is done to drastically reduce the size of your stomach. The surgeon will make 1 to 5 small incisions on your abdomen and insert laparoscopic instruments which reduce your stomach by up to 80%. The surgery normally takes 1 to 2 hours and patients normally lose up to half their excess weight in 6 months.
Gastric Band Procedure
The gastric band procedure is a minimally invasive, quick, reversible and adjustable surgical procedure that involves placing an inflatable band around the top of the stomach, which results in a person feeling fuller with less food. After surgery, it is necessary to follow a strict liquids-only diet with a gradual reintroduction of soft foods for up to 6 weeks.
Gastric Bypass Procedure
In this procedure, a surgeon reduces the size of the stomach to approximately the size of a golf ball by stapling off a small pouch of the stomach away from the rest then attaches this section of the stomach to part of the small intestine called the Roux limb. This causes the food to pass straight from the small pouch to the lower part of the small intestine. This procedure is a malabsorptive one, as the less time food spends in the small intestine, the less the body absorbs.
This procedure involves placing an inflated silicone balloon in the stomach which creates a feeling of fullness when the patient eats making them eat fewer portions. It’s not a permanent procedure and the balloon can only be inserted for 6 months. It’s ideal for people who only want to lose a little weight (10 to 30kgs) or for morbidly obese patients who need to lose some weight to qualify for another procedure. Patients can be discharged within 2 hours after surgery since it’s a non-invasive procedure. Gastric Balloon Surgery: A Non-Invasive Surgical Approach To Weight Loss
This procedure involves two surgeries in which the first one is similar to a sleeve gastric surgery. The second surgery involves connecting the end portion of the intestine to the duodenum near the stomach bypassing the majority of the intestine. It’s less common than other weight loss surgeries due to because of the need for more extensive nutritional follow-up and long-term monitoring.
Primary Obesity Surgery Endoluminal
This is a ground-breaking procedure that constricts the size of the stomach without requiring any incisions or invasive surgery. The surgeon will insert tools through the mouth to access the stomach then create folds and suture them together to reduce the size of the stomach. You may only need to stay overnight in the hospital since no incisions are made that can cause potential risks.
This is a cosmetic weight loss surgery that improves the appearance of the abdomen. The excess skin and fat are removed from this area which gives you a more toned look. It’s an ideal choice for people who have had drastic weight loss, have given birth, are ageing and have natural body types. However, it’s not for everyone especially if you;
- might consider pregnancy in the future,
- have a severe chronic condition, such as heart disease or diabetes,
- have a body mass index that’s greater than 30,
- had a previous abdominal surgery that caused significant scar tissue
Body Lift & Contour
A body contour surgery aims at giving the patient a better-proportioned appearance and smoother contours. It involves multiple procedures such as an arm lift, breast lift, thigh lift, butt lift and tummy tuck. This depends on which areas need work done. However, these are the main problem areas that most people get. It’s ideal for people who have had drastic weight loss or for ageing individuals with loose, excess skin.
This is probably one of the most common cosmetic weight loss procedures. The procedure removes excess fat and reduces breasts. The amount of fat removed depends on the appearance of the area and the volume of fat. You can have the fat thrown away or transferred to your butt, which is known as a Brazilian Butt Lift. The results are permanent as long as your weight remains stable. Additionally, if you have good skin, it will look smooth and natural. However, if your skin lacks elasticity, it might look loose. Tips To Get Rid Of Belly Fat
As with any major procedure, weight loss surgery poses a few potential health risks, both in the short term and the long term. These can include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Lung or breathing problems
- Leaks in your gastrointestinal system
- Adverse reactions to anaesthesia
- Blood clots
- Rarely, death
Longer-term risks and complications of weight-loss surgery vary depending on the type of surgery. They can include:
- Bowel obstruction
- Low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia
- Dumping syndrome
- Acid reflux
- Rarely, death
Surgery usually takes several hours. After surgery, the medical staff monitors you for any complications. The surgeon or medical staff will let you know how long it will be before you can return to your normal level of activity and work. This is to avoid injuring yourself or opening your surgical wound. Depending on your procedure, you may need to stay a few days in the hospital. It’s crucial to follow the care instructions and signs of problems to look out for. Here are some instructions and signs to look out for:
- When the anaesthesia wears off, you may have some pain. you can take painkillers. However, if the pain is extreme or lasts long, contact your surgeon.
- You will also have some swelling after the surgery. In some cases, this swelling will remain for weeks or even months.
- You can generally expect to wear bandages and compression garments, and you may have some surgical drains.
- Arrange for someone to help you get around the house and help with your medication for at least the first 24 hours after surgery. You shouldn’t do anything strenuous, including lifting, for four to six weeks. If you have small children, you must put someone else totally in charge of their care for two weeks.
- You may be up and walking within hours of surgery, but you will need to recuperate for several weeks or longer, depending on how much surgery you undergo.
- By the end of the first week, you should be walking around the house frequently, but you will still be unable to drive. You may be comfortable enough to drive a car in two or three weeks or when all of your sutures and drains are removed.
- Ask your surgeon how to sleep, including the proper use of pillows to minimize the tension on your incisions, reduce pain and facilitate a thinner scar.
- Call your surgeon immediately if you notice any red flags such as an increase in swelling, pain, redness, drainage or bleeding, fever, dizziness and others.
- You may shower once the dressing, sponges and gauze pads are removed. This usually occurs within 72 hours. After showering, pat your incisions dry and replace your abdominal binder.
- You will likely go for a follow-up evaluation with your surgeon within five days. During this visit, your surgeon can remove the drainage tubes.
- If you notice that you are not losing weight or you develop complications, see your doctor immediately. Your weight loss can be monitored and factors potentially contributing to your lack of weight loss evaluated.
How To Choose
There are certain criteria that determine whether you’re an ideal candidate for certain weight loss surgeries. These include:
- You must have a BMI of more than 40, with is classified as morbidly obese and suffering from complications of obesity.
- Your BMI lies between 35-39.9, which is moderately obese, and you suffer from diabetes mellitus type 2, GERD, or cardiovascular health problems as a result of your obesity.
- You’re in the overweight category but you are already suffering from metabolic, cardiac, and neurological complications of obesity.
- You’re willing to make significant lifestyle changes to help maintain the result of the procedure.
- Your BMI is between 30-34, or you are obese with either comorbidities or the potential to develop severe health complications.
Remember that weight loss surgery should not be the first solution for losing weight as it can cause complications that in some cases, have led to serious health issues and death. Working out and eating a healthy diet is the best way to lose weight and lead a healthy life. Even when you opt for weight loss surgery, you have to have a healthy diet and workout routine for the surgery to work effectively and avoid complications.
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