Bariatric Surgery is defined as a surgery that promotes weight loss by controlling the amount of food consumed by a person. It is also known as weight loss surgery, where different procedures are performed on obese people.
Bariatric Surgery – An Overview
What is Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery is a collection of weight loss surgeries that change the digestive system process, helping you lose weight. The surgery can offer several benefits to overcome obesity; however, serious risks or side effects also come along. Meanwhile, bariatric surgery’s success depends on how much the person can control diet and perform regular exercises.
It is recommended that people opt to change their eating habits or lifestyle to lose weight. The other option would be to try for a medication to get rid of severe obesity. Still not getting through? Bariatric surgery is considered a healthy option to shed extra pounds.
The Purpose of Bariatric Surgery
The primary purpose of Bariatric Surgery is to get rid of obesity. People who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 30 are obese. Accordingly, people are overweight with a measured weight of 80 to 100 pounds for women and men.
Benefits of the surgery lie in the fact that it helps weight loss and reduces the risk of severe health issues such as,
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes (Type 2)
- Coronary heart disease
- Fatty liver disease
People who are obese or have a BMI index of more than 40 have troubles with these symptoms:
- Trouble in sleeping
- An issue with varicose veins
- Skin problems caused by the moisture in folds of the skin
- The occurrence of gall stones
- Knee pain
In addition, much more that is linked to being overweight. Bariatric surgery addresses all these issues, thus gives healthy life to people.
Surgery is not meant for everyone as it includes evaluating a person for all medical conditions. It is considered as a last resort method for losing weight, especially for obese people. As people cannot reduce their weight to a more considerable extent through diet and exercise, they get it done using Bariatric Surgery.
People with a BMI of 40 or more are severely obese and have obesity-related severe health issues. Most of them qualify for bariatric surgery.
Precautions to Be Taken Before Bariatric Surgery
A person can plan for bariatric surgery, but it is not for everyone, as mentioned above. When an obese person wants to get the surgery done, some necessary steps are to be taken. The physician will check the patient’s medical conditions and then allow them to proceed further with the surgery. The evaluation also states that a person is prepared for the surgery and commits to change the eating habits and lifestyle to make the surgery a successful one.
Bariatric surgery is categorized as a major surgery that is associated with some risk factors and side effects. Young women should know about how rapid weight loss due to surgery can cause nutritional deficiency. Further, it can also have harmful effects on developing fetuses.
It is also recommended that the patient checks with the organization they are admitted to for the surgery. Secondly, information about the surgeon’s experience can be helpful for the surgery.
Lastly, during this period, young children or teens have been prone to obesity because of their lifestyle and eating habits. Though there is no such written guideline that the surgery should not be done on teens, it is not appropriate for children under 15 years.
Preparation for Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery is not just a simple surgery that you will have one, recover from the pain, and get going. The patient needs to be mentally prepared for the same by the physician or the surgeon. As post-surgery proper care is to be maintained, consultation is required from the surgeon. The procedure will be discussed at length, followed by probable risks and benefits.
If the person qualifies for bariatric surgery, instructions will be given to prepare them for the surgery. It can include avoiding specific food items or liquids, medications, and other things before the day of surgery. Several laboratory tests are also conducted before the surgery.
Expectations: Before the Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric is all about surgical weight loss, and a person needs to know several things beforehand. The surgery is not a single procedure but a lifelong change process that you have to manage for the rest of your life.
You can attend a seminar considering the surgery, its benefits, risk, and other factors. Meeting with the surgeon will give you insights about the procedure, time to recover, lead a healthy life, and not be obese with optimal weight.
If you are expecting about how the Bariatric surgery is performed, it is done in the hospital. You will be given general anesthesia, and you remain unconscious during the surgery. The bariatric surgery remains a laparoscopic surgery where the surgeon needs not use a traditional method of a large incision in the abdomen.
With this technique, the surgery can be done in a shorter span of time, though it does not suit all the patients. It depends on the person, type of surgery, and other factors.
Types of Bariatric Surgery
The Bariatric surgery procedure causes loss of weight by changing how the digestive system works. A person undergoing surgery often experiences hormonal changes, malabsorption of nutrients, and a gastric restriction.
The bariatric surgery procedure is divided into four different types. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages based on how it suits person to person. The physician or surgeon will recommend to the patient what type of surgery is to be performed.
Gastric Bypass Surgery
It is a standard weight loss surgery categorized under Bariatric surgery. It controls the amount of food consumed by a person by changing the gut hormones. Thus, a person experience reduced appetite, which leads to a significant weight loss of up to 60 to 80% of the excess weight. The most important part of this surgery is that it reverses the factor that induces type 2 diabetes because of obesity.
In contrast, the surgery might lead to Vitamin B12 deficiency and other required minerals such as iron, calcium, etc. It is because the surgery reduces the absorption of the needed nutrients. As it is a complicated surgery, the patient can experience much more complication rates than other surgeries. It requires the patient to stay longer in the hospital.
Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery
This laparoscopic surgery works on the procedure of removing a large area of the stomach. The remaining part of the abdomen helps in consuming less amount of food. It further impacts weight loss by suppressing hunger, lowers blood sugar level, and gives a feeling of satisfaction.
As compared to Gastric bypass surgery, the sleeve surgery involves a shorter stay for the patient in the hospital. However, it also leads to vitamin deficiency.
Adjustable Gastric Band Surgery
The procedure involves placing an inflatable band around the stomach’s upper portion, dividing the lower part of the abdomen below the band. This way, a patient who underwent surgery will consume less food as the smaller stomach can hold as a pouch. It creates a feeling of fullness, which further reduces hunger, thus helps in decreasing the amount of calorie intake.
A patient can take a rest of 24 hours after the surgery took place. This surgery does not involve cutting the part of the stomach or routing the intestines. This surgery type’s main advantage is that it can be adjustable and reversible according to the needs.
However, the disadvantage is that this surgery has a slower weight loss rate than other procedures. Secondly, this type of surgery fails to achieve weight loss in patients. As it requires a foreign device to remain in the body, the patient might experience dilation of the esophagus if overeating is done.
Biliopancreatic Diversion With Duodenal Switch Surgery
This type of Bariatric surgery involves two subparts. The first part is similar to sleeve Gastrectomy, whereas the second part is where the end portion of the intestine is connected to the duodenum near the stomach. That is why the name has diversion and switch. It bypasses a larger part of the intestine.
It reduces appetite by changing the gut hormones, thus results in more significant weight loss. For avoiding diabetes, this is the most effective surgery. However, it has been found to have many more complication rates, leading to patients’ death. It also causes protein and vitamin deficiencies.
Expectations: After the Bariatric Surgery
The biggest fear after the person has undergone bariatric surgery is to regain the weight. It is easier to gain weight, and most people expect weight gain in a year or two after their surgery. The most probable reason is that the patient did not go for the right procedure or did not follow the diet control plan.
Further, the health risks increase if the person does not control the diet and regain the weight. Bariatric surgery is a method to prevent obesity, not a wonder that will automatically reduce the weight. People should follow a strict regime to maintain weight loss.
Following bariatric surgery, one should start eating healthy food to stay active. As the surgery makes you deficient in vitamins and minerals, this is needed, or else you will fall prey to the comorbidities.
Any doctor will recommend keeping the meals small, eat and drink normally, drink plenty of fluids. The best part is to chew the food thoroughly and avoid foods that contain high fat and sugar.
Potential Risks: Bariatric Surgery
As it is a surgery, you can expect potential risks for health for either shorter duration or long term. The patient who has operated on any bariatric surgery can expect the below-mentioned risks.
- Blood clots and excessive bleeding
- Gastrointestinal system leakage
- Breathing problems or lung infection
- Internal infection is possible because of the foreign device and changing the stomach anatomy.
- The surgery can be fatal in rare case scenario
- Leads to diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
- Low blood sugar levels
- Gastro acid reflux (GERD)
The Benefits of Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery is a boon for obese people who expect weight loss. Nevertheless, it depends on what type of surgery a patient is recommended by the surgeon based on obesity and other factors. The surgery can benefit the patient in changing eating habits as well as lifestyle. It is possible to lose excess weight, and people can turn from obese to leading a normal life.
However, the surgery doesn’t only focus on weight loss. It may improve the underlying complications and other conditions of being overweight, such as,
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Joint pains (arthritis or osteoarthritis)
- Sleep apnea (irregular breathing which even stops during sleep)
- Coronary heart diseases and much more
Does Insurance Cover Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery is not just a routine surgery; that is why it is expensive. However, for the patients whose insurance policy or health cover includes weight loss surgery, they can claim the benefits. Based on the policy, most of the plans will pay you to have any surgery such as gastric bypass, sleeve surgery, gastric band, or duodenal switch surgery.
Meanwhile, some of the weight loss procedures are not covered fully by insurance plans. However, the patients can avail discounts or tax savings along with different financing options.
Finding a weight loss surgeon is the best way to know more about how the surgery will work. People can also ask for the surgery quote beforehand and even attend a seminar to learn more about bariatric surgery.
Wrap it up
It is a success when a patient reduces weight after bariatric surgery and does not regain. It does not create any wonders, but the only thing is that a patient should control their diet. Several health risks can be avoided with proper control.
However, the procedures are still evolving for the surgery to focus on success by providing health benefits and reducing risk factors. The surgery reverses the clock providing you a way to lead a quality life.
Go and find a surgeon and get the best recommendation about the type of surgery required according to your BMI. Stay healthy and stay safe. If you can’t afford a bariatric surgery you may be eligible for grants for weight loss surgery .