Surgery For Weight Loss: Knowing Your Options

Patients that have a considerable amount of weight to lose often benefits from weight loss surgery. There are several different types of surgical weight loss options than works for those who are morbidly obese. The biggest advantage of having weight loss surgery is that most patients are able to lose their excess weight over a couple of years and can keep most of the weight off. In addition, weight loss surgery can also help resolve a host of health problems related to obesity.

Before having weight loss surgery, a patient must qualify. A doctor that specializes in these types of surgeries will carefully consider each patient’s case before making a decision. For the most part, those who are good candidates for these types of surgeries must be considered morbidly obese.

This means that they must be at least 100 pounds or more over their normal body weight or twice their recommended body mass index. Patients who qualify for this surgery must be relatively healthy otherwise and not suffer from problems with the stomach, pancreas and intestines.

There are generally three types of weight loss surgery that are performed on overweight people. All of these surgeries either make the stomach capacity smaller by creating a new stomach pouch, or shortens the digestion tract by connecting the stomach to the large intestines and completely bypassing the small intestines.

The newer Lap-Band surgery makes a smaller stomach and is usually recommended because of the shorter recovery time and risks. In addition, the Lap-Band is often preferred because it is reversible and adjustable. Patients experience a more even paced rate of weight loss and are able to keep it off longer than with other surgical methods.

The Roux-en Y Gastric Bypass is a procedure that minimizes the amount of food that passes into the stomach. It also decreases the amount of food that is absorbed into the digestive system. The stomach is either stapled or sewn closed at the upper half creating a smaller stomach on top. The intestines are then connected to the smaller stomach and food passes directly from one are to another.

The initial advantages of this surgery are that there is rapid weight loss right after surgery. This surgery also has a higher success rate than other forms of weight loss surgery. However, the gastric bypass is often more invasive and recovery time is longer. The Vertical Banded Gastroplasty is a very similar surgery, but the stomach is stapled and the intestines are left intact.

The more extreme of the weight loss surgeries is called the Biliopancreatic Diversion. During this surgery, about three-fourths of the stomach is completely removed and the rest of the stomach is connected to the final segment of the small intestines.

There are several disadvantages to this approach including having a higher mortality rate; the dumping syndrome, more invasive and can lead to life long bone density loss and anemia. The advantages to this weight loss surgery are that it allows for larger meals and it presents patients with the greatest amount of initial weight loss.

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