According to recent statistics obesity is the number 2 cause of preventable death in the United States. Some states claim that as high as 35 percent of the population report to be overweight. The health issues and discomfort associated with obesity are substantial, and can be life threatening. For the morbidly obese, weight loss is a challenge due to physical limitations. The ability for example just to get up and do basic stretching exercises is difficult. One alternative that has been given for those who suffer from obesity is bariatric surgery. There are three primary types of surgery available. Lap band surgery, gastric bypass and gastric sleeve all offer relief and each has their own benefits and risks.
Each procedure creates a smaller stomach pouch so that patients feel full faster and remain full longer. Gastric bypass actually changes the digestive process to reduce the number of calories and nutrients the body is supplied, whereas the other two, the digestive process remains the same. The result is the body starts burning the stored fat for energy.
Lap Band Surgery – while it still has risks, these are limited to non-life threatening, and do not have the stapling and tissue removal which can pose more serious risks and complications. This procedure has consistent weight loss of over 40 percent. Lap band surgery takes less than an hour and requires a short hospital stay.
Gastric Bypass – though it offers up to 60 percent in weight loss, patients must supplement their diets with multi-vitamins and calcium. Additionally gastric bypass patients need to be careful of eating fatty and high sugar foods to avoid dumping syndrome, which can be very uncomfortable.
Sleeve Gastrectomy – because this procedure removes a large portion of the stomach leaving a banana like gastric pouch, surgery can take up to a few hours. The hospital stay is up to 5 days. However, this procedure has some of the higher risks, including cardiovascular, pulmonary and kidney and liver failure. It can also offer the highest weight loss results.
The best candidates for these types of procedures would be those patients who are morbidly obese, which means they are 100 pounds or more over weight, and their body mass index is more than 40. These patients would have tried numerous attempts to lose weight through traditional methods, and are able to make medical decisions clearly.
None of these procedures are reversible. For the right candidate however, bariatric surgery can not only change the patient’s ability to live a more productive and active lifestyle, but it can reverse the harmful effects of obesity and even save lives.