You’ve been through endless diet regimes, exercised regularly, and sometimes even gone overboard in the hope of losing weight…and you are still 100 pounds overweight! Maybe it’s time to consider Gastric Bypass Surgery, which is a surgery that limits the amount of food you can take in.
Gastric bypass surgery is a surgical procedure to treat extreme obesity, caused by severe accumulation of excess weight as fatty tissue, which causes other health problems too. As part of the surgery, the stomach is divided into a small upper pouch and a much larger, lower remaining pouch. Furthermore, the small intestines are also re-arranged to allow both pouches to remain connected to the intestines. In this way, the food intake decreases and the amount of food you can digest is also restricted.
There are two types of surgery. One is called Roux-en-Y gastric bypass which is the most common bypass procedure performed. By this, a small stomach pouch is created by stapling part of the stomach together; limiting the amount of food you can eat. Next, a section of the small intestine is attached to the pouch to allow the food to bypass into the duodenum. This causes reduced calorie and nutrient absorption.
The second type is called Extensive Gastric Bypass, which is more complicated, as the lower portion of the stomach is removed. The remaining small pouch is connected directly to the segment of the small intestine. While this procedure is very effective in promoting weight loss, it is less used because of the high risk for nutritional deficiencies.
People who have gastric bypass operations have been known to lose around two thirds of their excess weight within two years. However, there are several risks such as having the stomach getting bigger over time and then reverting to its original size before surgery. Sometimes the staples that are used to tighten the stomach can break and reverse the procedure. Additionally, there can also be a leakage of the stomach contents into the abdomen. This is dangerous because the acid can eat away at other organs. Nutritional deficiencies can also cause further health problems such as anemia, osteoporosis and metabolic bone diseases; a result of limited absorption of vitamin B12, calcium and iron, and people then have to take nutritional supplements to prevent these deficiencies.
The risk of complications and nutritional deficiencies depends on how extensive the bypass operation is, and requires close monitoring and lifelong use of special foods and medications.
In some cases, post-operative symptoms could include nausea, fainting, weakness, sweating and sometimes diarrhea. Gallstones can also occur as a result of rapid weight loss, although they can be treated with medication.
While weight reduction surgery doesn’t guarantee that you will lose all your excess weight or keep it off long-term, a lot depends on your commitment to making life long changes to your eating and exercise habits. However, your weight loss accomplishment and improved overall health are significant benefits, and will definitely be worth the effort.