If surgery is your only option for weight loss, you will need to gather information and find out what procedures are available before making a decision. Bariatric weight loss surgery is not a procedure to be taken lightly. In fact, it is viewed as a last resort for treating chronic obesity. If you have tried unsuccessfully to achieve a healthy weight using conventional methods, it may be time to consider your weight loss surgery options.
Surgery for weight loss is not cosmetic surgery. Rather, it is classified as medical surgery because of its important health benefits. For this reason, bariatric weight loss surgery is covered by some insurance providers. Morbidly obese individuals have the option to try weight loss surgery if they repeatedly fail to achieve and maintain a healthy weight through conventional methods such as diet and exercise. If you opt for surgery to lose weight, keep in mind that you will experience short-term and long-term effects, and the procedure may necessitate lifestyle changes.
How It Works
Basically, there are only two methods whereby weight loss can be achieved. The first method is to reduce the number of calories consumed by restricting food intake. The second method is through food malabsorption, or making changes in the digestive system so that food is poorly digested and nutrients and calories are not completely absorbed. There are several different surgical procedures to achieve this.
Option #1: Restrictive Methods
The primary goal of a restrictive weight loss procedure is to reduce food intake in order to promote weight loss. This can be done by making the stomach smaller so that it will hold less food while reducing hunger pangs. An individual who undergoes this procedure will find it easier to control meal portions, thus ensuring a steady weight loss with minimal risk of nutritional deficiencies.
Popular restrictive methods of bariatric surgery are LAP-BAND and Vertical Banded Gastroplasty.
Option #2: Malabsorptive Methods
This method promotes weight loss by making changes in the digestive system. The small intestine is rerouted, in effect shortening it so that less food nutrients and calories are absorbed by the body. The primary methods of malabsorptive bariatric surgery are biliopancreatic diversion, Extended Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch.
Malabsorptive methods are highly successful for significant, long-term weight loss but they come with a number of drawbacks. Individuals who choose this weight loss surgery option can suffer from nutritional deficiencies and must take vitamin supplements. They can also suffer from intestinal irritation, bloating, and bowel movement problems.
Option #3: Combination Restrictive and Malabsorptive Method
The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass reduces the size of the stomach, and a section of the small intestine is bypassed in order to decrease food absorption.
Making Your Decision
If you have run out of conventional weight loss options, it may be time to look into the possibility of bariatric surgery. There are several alternatives to consider and you should discuss each one with your bariatric surgeon. Learn about the pros and cons of the different weight loss surgery options. Keep in mind that what works for someone else may not work for you. Your doctor can help you determine what procedure is best for you.
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