All You Need to Know About Bariatric Surgery

What is Bariatric Surgery?

Weight Loss Surgery, or in clinical terms, Bariatric Surgery and Metabolic Surgery, covers a group of operations that assist in losing weight while making some key changes in how your digestive system works. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding, vertical sleeve gastrectomy, biliopancreatic diversion with a duodenal switch are all different types of bariatric surgeries.

Some of these procedures make the patient’s stomach smaller, in turn limiting the quantity of eating and drinking at a single time. On the other hand, other bariatric surgeries work on changing the small intestine, a crucial part of the digestive system that is responsible for absorbing nutrients and energy from beverages and food. Such surgeries limit the number of calories the body absorbs. One other kind of bariatric surgery affects bacteria or hormones in the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, hunger and appetite get reduced with an improved metabolism rate.  

Types of Bariatric Surgeries

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass–the most common procedure of doing gastric bypass. Typically, this surgery cannot be reversed. The surgery works by reducing the quantity of food one can eat at a single time and limiting the absorption of nutrients.

The surgeon will cut across the patient’s top portion of the stomach and seal it off from the rest of the stomach. As a result, the stomach pouch will become relatively smaller in size, more like a walnut, that can only hold a limited amount of food, typically 3 pints. After that, the surgeon operates on the small intestine, sewing it directly into the pouch. That’s how food first reaches the pouch of the stomach and then goes into the small intestine, bypassing most of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine, entering directly into the middle portion.

Sleeve Gastrectomy – With this surgery, a patient gets around 80 percent of his stomach removed and is left with a long tube-like pouch. As the size of the stomach is reduced, it will not be able to hold as much food. Consequently, the stomach releases less amount of ghrelin, which is an appetite regulator hormone. So, the patient will get less desire to eat.

This surgery offers significant weight loss and needs a shorter period of stay at the hospital.

Biliopancreatic diversion with a duodenal switch – just as the name suggests, this surgery involves a two-part surgery; the first process includes performing a sleep gastrectomy-like process, while the second and last process involves connecting the last portion of the intestine to the duodenum situated near the stomach.

This two-way process reduces the appetite as well as the absorption of nutrients. This surgery can be effective for the patient, although the long-term risk of malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies remains as a threat.

When should one approach bariatric surgery?

Adults who are suffering from obesity and have not been able to lose weight through physical exercise, medication, and diet plans, usually go through these surgeries. In order to determine the severity of obesity, BMI is a vital unit, which means Body Mass Index. This unit measures body fat based on the weight and height of a person.

People who have a BMI rate of 40 or higher fall under the serious obese condition that is hard to be treated with only exercise and diet, thus, medical professionals may suggest weight loss surgeries. Doctors may also recommend bariatric surgeries when the obese person is a patient with type 2 diabetes or sleep apnea.

Some other conditions when doctors may consider bariatric surgeries are when the patient has –

  • Poor cardiovascular health condition
  • Infertility or frequent miscarriages because of obesity
  • Cancers related to fat deposits
  • Hypertension or Atherosclerosis due to fat deposits

What are the side effects of going through Bariatric Surgery?

Although weight loss surgeries assure quick results, like any other surgery, these operations also have some risk factors and side effects that may occur.

  • Excessive Bleeding
  • Infections in the stomach or intestine
  • Blood clots
  • Ulcers in the lining of the intestine or stomach
  • Weakness, fatigue, and nausea
  • Acid reflux
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Fluctuations in blood sugar level
  • Anxiety or Depression
  • Malnutrition due to the changed absorption system of nutrients

After the Surgery: After going through bariatric surgery or weight loss surgery, the patient won’t be allowed to eat anything for at least one to two days, ensuring the healing of the stomach. After that, the patient will depend on a doctor-recommended liquid-based diet for a few weeks. Then, the patient will be given a diet of soft foods and eventually regular foods, although with strict guidelines.

Losing weight naturally is the best way to live a healthy life, although bariatric surgeries also become necessary for obese patients with serious conditions.

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