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Bariatric Surgery: A Brief Tutorial



Bariatric surgery provides those suffering from obesity and morbid obesity another option to healthy living. If other strategies have failed to take the weight off and keep it off, good candidates for bariatric surgery will have the ability to undergo this life-changing procedure, which will reduce the size of the stomach. Typical methods in this weight-loss surgery for reducing the size of the stomach include removal of a portion of the stomach; resecting and re-routing the small intestines to a stomach pouch; or through the use of a gastric band.

However, bariatric surgery is not a full-proof means of long term weight loss. It requires significant life changes, including regularly taking bariatric vitamins and supplements to ensure the body receives all the nutrients it needs after the stomach has been reduced. But for those qualified, committed, and prepared to undergo bariatric surgery, it is important that you first educate yourself on the variety of methods used to treat patients.

Bariatric Surgery Options

Bariatric surgery does not encompass a single procedure. In fact, there are several options available, depending on a patient’s specific needs, as determined by the patient and their doctor.

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is perhaps the most common form of weight-loss surgery. The stomach size is reduced with a stapler device, and connected to a distal small intestine.

Very, Very Long Limb is a procedure often used for severely obese persons. It is a modified version of the Roux-en-Y procedure but attaches the bypassed section of the food-transporting intestine closer to the large intestine.

Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch stems from the original biliopancreatic diversion, which rarely sees use due to issues with malnourishment in patients. The duodenal switch leaves the stomach with a residual volume of about 150 ml. This procedure maintains full stomach function while bypassing the majority of the intestine.

Laparoscopic Gastric Banding is a minimally invasive, reversible, and adjustable procedure involving the insertion of an inflatable band around the upper section of the stomach to reduce the amount of food the stomach can handle at one time.

Sleeve Gastrectomy involves removal of the left side of the stomach, leaving the stomach at roughly the size of a banana.

What Happens to the Body after Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery alone does not guarantee weight loss success. Patients must follow strict guidelines, including changes in their lifestyle and eating habits, in order to ensure success.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association followed 1,156 severely obese participants. Of three control groups, one underwent gastric bypass. Those who did had significantly higher improvements in cardiovascular health and sustained weight loss compared to groups that did not undergo the procedure.

On average, those who underwent surgery maintained a loss of 28% of their starting weight for six-year. 62% of the gastric bypass group also saw their diabetes go into remission, compared to 8% and 6% in the control groups.

Although any surgery requires time for healing, gastric bypass surgeries do not require significant downtime. With laparoscopic procedures, the average hospital stay is two to three days, and patients can resume normal activities within three to five weeks. Open procedures require more recovery time. Weight loss should begin quickly. While there are some possible side effects, most do not face serious problems after bariatric surgery.

However, because bariatric surgery reduces the body’s ability to absorb vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients from food, your doctor will recommend the use of bariatric supplements. A wide range of supplements exists to help patients to round out new diets. Bariatric protein bars, Bariatric chewable vitamins, and Bariatric advantage calcium are just a few of the supplements on the market available to keep you healthy and successful in your endeavor to combat obesity.