I went to a seminar with my sister-in-law for bariatric surgery. I was there as her support, since they ask you to bring along someone who will support you throughout this whole process. It was very informative, and I learned a few things I never knew until last night.
If you’re morbidly obese, sometimes you might need a little extra help aside from exercise and eating a well-balanced meal. Not everyone is able to keep the weight off or lose all the weight, no matter what they do and how many times they do it. That’s where bariatric surgery comes in.
According to Wikipedia, bariatric surgery includes a variety of procedures performed on people who are obese. Weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach with an implanted medical device, or through removal of a portion of the stomach, or by resecting and re-routing the small intestines to a small stomach pouch.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health recommends bariatric surgery for obese people with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40, and for people with BMI 35 and serious coexisting medical conditions such as diabetes. However, research is emerging that suggests bariatric surgery could be appropriate for those with a BMI of 35 to 40 with no comorbidities or a BMI of 30 to 35 with significant comorbidities.
This is not a miracle, but a tool for a new lifestyle. You will need to change your diet and form new eating habits. The process leading up to bariatric surgery is long. You may require appointments with a dietician, a psychologist, and whatever else your insurance requires you to do for it to be covered. You will also need to work with your surgeon to figure out what type of bariatric surgery is best for you. Once you have the surgery, you will have many follow up appoints to track your progress. This could take up to two years for you to get rid of the excess weight. Everyone is different and responds differently to the surgery.
There are three main categories of procedures. All of the procedures are listed below:
Predominately malabsorptive procedures
These procedures to reduce stomach size, however, they are more focused on creating malabsorption.
- Biliopancreatic diversion
- Jejunoileal bypass
- Endoluminal sleeve
Predominately restrictive procedures
Procedures that are solely restrictive, act to reduce oral intake by limiting gastric volume, produces early satiety, and leave the alimentary canal in continuity, minimizing the risks of metabolic complications.
- Vertical banded gastroplasty
- Adjustable gastric band
- Sleeve gastrectomy
- Intragastric balloon
- Gastric plication
Mixed procedures apply both techniques simultaneously.
- Gastric bypass
- Sleeve gastrectomy with duodenal switch
- Implantable gastric stimulation
After surgery, you are placed on a liquid diet for a little while to let your stomach heal. You may be put on vitamins and minerals if you received one of the malabsorption surgeries.
There is a lot of information out there on bariatric surgery. If you think bariatric surgery is for you, then ask questions, research, and attend support groups.
A good place to start would be with your doctor to determine which surgery is right for now, but here’s some reading from the National Institute of Health to get you started on your journey.