Obesity treatment option – Is bariatric surgery for you

Girl faceBariatric surgery, also known as ‘stomach stapling’, ‘gastric bypass’ or ‘lap-band’ surgery, can lead to substantial weight loss. This obesity treatment is designed to remove a portion of your stomach. Although people are aware what it’s for, they rarely realize that this surgery could be life altering and that one needs to be prepared for the drastic changes that follow.
The myth
The biggest myth is that bariatric surgery is the easiest obesity treatment option available. Celebrity examples of successful weight loss make bariatric surgery look more like plastic surgery or something close to a cosmetic procedure. But the truth is that this operation is far more serious; it is major surgery that may require cutting your bowel and rearranging it. And with this comes the big changes that you need to make in your diet and lifestyle.
The reality
The reality about this obesity treatment option is that your life will never be the same again. You will have to continuously watch what you eat and limit your portion sizes because of the small size of your stomach after surgery. You could also suffer from diarrhea and have difficulty absorbing important nutrients. Aside from this, the risks of surgery include potentially serious infections of the abdomen, difficulty with wound healing, and hernias. Bariatric surgery includes two main types. While the lap-band is the simplest type of surgery and is reversible, the gastric bypass surgery involves cutting down the size of your stomach and rerouting a part of your intestine.
Who is suitable for this surgery?
Bariatric surgery must be used in select cases only. It should be restricted to individuals who:

  • Are suffering from morbid obesity
  • Are having moderate obesity with one or more high-risk conditions
  • Are between the ages of 16 and 65
  • Have an acceptable operative risk
  • Are psychologically stable with realistic expectations
  • Are committed to prolonged lifestyle changes
  • Have a supportive family and social environment
  • Have no active alcohol or substance abuse problem
  • Do not suffer from schizophrenia or depression
  • Are well informed and motivated
  • Are able to participate in obesity treatment, follow-up and diet

Does this surgery work for everyone?
Bariatric surgery is mostly recommended for people suffering from diabetes and obesity and may result in a weight loss of 50% of excess body fat. Additional studies are underway to help determine who, if anyone is a surgical candidate when their BMI is not greater than 40.
Obesity surgery is potentially risky; it should be recommended to people suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or morbid obesity. It is best that you do a risk assessment with the help of your doctor. Your doctor can tell you if it is worth risking your life now to potentially add years in the future. A lot of other less drastic measures are available for obesity treatment including FDA approved drug Xenical. This drug is relatively safer as compared to surgery.

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October 2017
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