Bariatric Surgery Informational Seminar: What to Expect

Last night, I attended a bariatric surgery informational seminar with my sister-in-law. They suggest you bring and keep support throughout this whole process. It was very informative, and I learned quite a few things worth sharing.

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.

How bariatric surgery works

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. Additionally, the small intestines can be resected and re-routed into a small stomach pouch.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends bariatric surgery for obese people with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40.

It is also suggested for patients with a BMI of at least 35 with a serious coexisting medical condition like diabetes. Emerging research advises bariatric surgery could be appropriate for a BMI of 35 to 40 with no comorbidities, or a BMI of 30 to 35 with significant comorbidities.

Bariatric surgery informational seminar: this is a tool for a new lifestyle

Our presenting surgeon emphasized that 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 for it to be covered. You must also work with your surgeon to determine the type of bariatric surgery best for you.

Once you have the surgery, you will have many follow up appointments to track your progress. This could take up to two years for you to get rid of the excess weight. It is important to remember everyone is different and the body responds uniquely to surgery.

Types of bariatric surgery

There are three main categories of procedures. All of them are listed below.

Predominantly malabsorptive procedures

These procedures reduce stomach size. However, they are more focused on creating malabsorption, or stopping the absorption of food nutrients across the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

  • Biliopancreatic diversion
  • Jejunoileal bypass
  • Endoluminal sleeve

Predominantly restrictive procedures

Procedures that are solely restrictive, acting to reduce oral intake by limiting gastric volume. They produce early satiety, so you feel full much faster. Your alimentary canal (which runs through the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and anus) stays in continuity, minimizing the risks of metabolic complications.

  • Vertical banded gastroplasty
  • Adjustable gastric band
  • Sleeve gastrectomy
  • Intragastric balloon
  • Gastric plication

Mixed bariatric surgery procedures

Mixed procedures apply both techniques simultaneously for optimal results.

  • Gastric bypass
  • Sleeve gastrectomy with duodenal switch
  • Implantable gastric stimulation

We learned at the bariatric surgery informational seminar that 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.

Where to find more information

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 or surgeries would be best for you. Then you can hone your focus. Here’s some reading from the NIH’s U.S. National Library of Medicine to get you started on your journey.

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