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Treatment of Obesity: Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery

Many people struggle to lose weight. They try diet after diet only to lose weight and regain even more after finishing their regimen. Yo-yo dieting is not only frustrating but can become downright dangerous. When you’re unsuccessful in attempting to lose weight through diet and exercise, what do you do? 

The answer for many people is to undergo weight loss surgery with an experienced team of bariatric surgeons.

How do Obese Patients Lose Weight So Fast After Bariatric Surgery?

Patients who undergo bariatric procedure experience decreased food intake through two primary means. Some weight loss procedures are purely restrictive, meaning the stomach cannot process as much food as before the metabolic and bariatric surgery procedure. Other bariatric surgeries involve both restrictive and malabsorptive components. 

Surgical procedures with a malabsorptive component involve rerouting of the small intestine, bypassing the upper portion of the digestive system, where the majority of solid foods are absorbed by the body. These bariatric procedures highly restrict the number of calories that patients can eat and absorb through their diets. 

Procedures that are both restrictive and malabsorptive result in more overall weight decrease than those that are simply restrictive n nature.

Restrictive procedures reduce the amount of food you can eat by creating a smaller stomach pouch that can only hold small amounts of food. These procedures include the world’s most popular bariatric surgery, sleeve gastrectomy, which significantly decreases the amount of food your engineered stomach pouch can hold. 

The combination of being unable to eat as much food as one wants and not being able to absorb the food you eat can result in massive weight loss.

How Successful is Bariatric Surgery for Weight Loss?

In general, weight loss surgery is considered successful if a patient achieves at least a 50% excess weight loss and maintains that weight loss for at least five years. The pounds come off quickly immediately after weight loss surgery, as patients begin with a liquid diet that allows their digestive system to heal. 

Clinical studies show that many patients lose 30% to 50% of their excess weight in the first six months after surgery, with some losing as much as 77% in the first 12 months. Most patients continue rapid weight loss until the rate levels off between 18 to 24 months after the procedure. 

Another study indicated that many patients achieve a long-term weight loss of 50% to 60% of extra pounds 10 to 14 years after weight loss surgery.

What is Realistic Weight Loss After Bariatric Surgery?

Patients must realize that weight loss surgery is merely a tool for achieving permanent weight loss. The excess body weight lost depends on several factors, including the type of bariatric surgery chosen, starting weight, and the patient’s ability to commit to healthy lifestyle habits that include adhering to dietary guidelines and increasing exercise habits. 

Falling back on prior eating habits will hamper achieving weight loss goals.

Generally, the more weight one needs to lose, the greater the weight loss. For those undergoing gastric bypass surgery, the average excess weight loss is about 70%. A man who is 6′ 2″ and weighs 400 pounds has an ideal body weight of 195 lbs., meaning he has 205 lbs. of unneeded weight. Losing 70 of that excess weight would result in a loss of 143.5 pounds. 

On the other hand, a woman who stands 5 ‘4″ and weighs 250 lbs. has an ideal weight of 146 lbs. She has 104 pounds she doesn’t need. If she loses an average of 70%, she will lose about 73 lbs. Severely obese patients with higher initial body mass index (BMI) tend to lose greater total body weight. 

Patients with lower initial body mass index will lose a more significant percentage and come closer to their ideal body weight.

Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Can Help Resolve Health Problems

The more weight patients lose through bariatric surgery, the greater their chance of resolving many obesity-related conditions that can significantly improve their health. Among the medical conditions that can see significant improvement or even have complete reversal when someone achieves massive weight loss are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Heart disease
  • Adult-onset diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Osteoarthritis

What are the Different Types of Bariatric Surgery Procedures?

Patients with excess body weight have several bariatric surgery procedures to choose from that can produce significant weight loss depending on their needs. Most people want to know which weight loss surgery is the safest. The general rule is that the less invasive the surgical procedure is, the safer it will be. All alter the digestive system to help promote weight loss. These procedures are either restrictive or restrictive and malabsorptive.

Most are performed laparoscopically via small incisions in the abdomen and a tiny camera that helps the bariatric surgeon perform the procedure.

Restrictive Bariatric Procedures

Gastric sleeve, also called sleeve gastrectomy, is the world’s most popular weight loss surgery. This procedure removes up to 85% of the stomach. A bariatric surgeon reshapes the organ into a long sleeve rather than a small pouch to limit the amount of food eaten. As a result, patients experience reduced hunger. 

Because laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy doesn’t alter the small intestine, it doesn’t affect how your body absorbs food, so you’re unlikely to need mineral supplements to maintain long-term health.

Gastric banding is another restrictive procedure that involves the placement of a silicone device around the top part of the stomach to limit the amount of food a person can eat. 

This procedure has dropped drastically in popularity because of the need to frequently visit one’s medical provider for adjustments and the availability of other metabolic and bariatric surgery procedures that significantly impact obesity-related health conditions.

Restrictive and Malabsorptive Weight Loss Surgery Procedures

These weight loss surgeries are generally recommended for patients with severe obesity. The most popular of these surgical procedures is roux-en-y-gastric bypass surgery, which reduces the stomach and significantly alters the small intestine so the body’s ability is lessened. 

Other recommended bariatric surgeries for patients with extreme obesity include duodenal switch surgery and SADI-S, a procedure that is a variation on duodenal switch with fewer side effects. The type of weight loss surgery recommended depends on the initial body mass index and any accompanying health issues a patient may have.

Is Weight Loss Surgery Right for You?

If you have repeatedly tried diet and exercise, cannot achieve sustained weight loss, and have a risk of chronic disease, talk to your healthcare provider about the possibility of undergoing bariatric surgery to treat your obesity. It could be the solution you’ve been looking for to regain control of your life.

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