The decision to have weight loss surgery is not an easy one. There are also many different options to choose from, once you have made the decision to go ahead with weight loss surgery. Your ideal weight loss surgery options depend on several factors: Your weight loss goals, your doctor’s preference, your current state of health.
There are two main options in weight loss surgery: Restrictive surgeries and restrictive/malabsorptive surgeries. These two techniques facilitate weight loss in different ways.
Restrictive surgeries physically restrict the size of your stomach and slow down your digestion. A normal stomach can contain approximately three pints of food. After restrictive weight loss surgery, the stomach will initially hold as little as one ounce, although later that could increase to 2 or 3 ounces. The smaller your stomach is, the less you will be able to eat. And of course the less you eat the more weight you will lose.
Malabsorptive/restrictive surgery is more invasive and changes how you take in your food. As well as reducing the size of the stomach, this surgery option removes part of your digestive tract, making it more difficult for your body to take in calories.
CNNhealth.com reported that while it’s a known fact that weight loss surgery can reverse type 2 diabetes and heal other obesity-related illnesses, new research indicates that obese women who undergo weight loss surgery surgery have a 42 percent reduced risk of developing cancer.
This is a fairly new form of restrictive weight loss surgery. During surgery, which is usually laparoscopic, about 75% of the stomach is taken out. The remaining stomach tissue is a narrow tube or sleeve, which is connected to the intestines.
The advantages: For very obese or sick patients, standard gastric bypass or biliopancreatic diversion could be too high risk. A sleeve gastrectomy is a simpler, lower risk way of losing weight. After you have lost weight and your health has improved, which is usually after 12-18 months, you can have a second procedure, such as gastric bypass surgery.
The disadvantages: Because sleeve gastrectomy might be just the first step in weight loss surgery, you could face further surgeries later on. A sleeve gastrectomy is irreversible, unlike gastric banding procedures. In addition, sleeve gastrectomy is a purely gastric restrictive surgery and lasting weight loss depends upon the maintenance of the size of gastric sleeve. It is quite likely that there will be some stretching of the gastric sleeve over time. And long-term benefits and risks remain unknown as these procedures are still fairly new.
Gastric banding is one of the least invasive weight loss surgery options. Gastric band surgery uses an inflatable band to squeeze the stomach into two sections: A smaller upper section and a large lower section. The two sections remain connected, but the link between them is very small, slowing down the emptying of the upper section. Gastric banding restricts the amount of food you can hold in your stomach during a meal.
The advantages: Gastric banding is simpler to carry out and is also safer than gastric bypass or other weight loss surgery options. It’s usually done as minimally invasive surgery, through small incisions, with special instruments, and a minute camera called a laparoscope. Recovery tends to be faster. You can also have this weight loss surgery reversed through surgical removal of the band.
The disadvantages: People who choose gastric banding sometimes have less dramatic weight loss than people who opt for more invasive weight loss surgery. They could also be more likely to put back on some of the weight they have lost over the years.
Gastric bypass surgery is the most common type of weight loss surgery and makes up about 80% of all weight loss surgeries in the US. Gastric bypass surgery combines restrictive and malabsorptive techniques. It can be performed as a minimally invasive surgery or an open surgery. Your surgeon will divide your stomach into two sections, sealing off the upper section from the lower section, and then connect the upper stomach straight to the lower section of the small intestine. The surgeon will therefore create a shortcut for your food that bypasses a section of the stomach and the small intestine.
The advantages: Weight loss is often fast and dramatic. Most of it occurs within the first six months. Weight loss can continue for up to two years after the procedure. Due to rapid weight loss, health conditions that are affected by obesity, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, arthritis, heartburn, and other conditions, often improve very quickly. You may also experience a dramatic improvement in the quality of your life. Gastric bypass also produces great long-term results and research has found that many people keep the majority of the weight off for 10 years or more.
The disadvantages: Weight loss surgery options like this inhibit the body’s ability to absorb food. This can cause rapid weight loss, but also creates the risk of serious nutritional deficiencies. The loss of calcium and iron in your diet could lead to osteoporosis and anemia. You need to be very careful with your diet and take food supplements for the rest of your life if you decide on this weight loss surgery option.