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How to Decide What the Best Type of Weight Loss Surgery Is for You

Jeremy Korman';

By Jeremy Korman

Posted on June 9th, 2018 in Weight Loss

How to Choose the Best Weight Loss SurgeryAccording to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, over 250,000 weight loss procedures are performed every year throughout the United States. Over 85% of the people who undergo bariatric surgery lose weight following the procedure, whereas the risk of postoperative complications is 5%. Nevertheless, after you undergo bariatric surgery, you will be carefully monitored by a team of medical professionals for several days, who will make sure that your recovery is going well. The mortality rate of weight loss surgery is 0,1%, which means that bariatric surgery is one of the safest surgical procedures. However, there are multiple procedures for people who are obese and need to lose weight, such as sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass, and adjustable gastric band. To determine which procedure is right for you, you will need to first be thoroughly examined by a medical specialist, who will subsequently tell you with certainty which bariatric procedure is right for you. Only a medical specialist with vast experience in bariatric surgery can recommend a procedure that is suitable for you. The following are the most commonly performed weight loss procedures, which are also the most effective, depending on the needs of the patient.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

During a sleeve gastrectomy, which is the most frequently performed bariatric surgery in the country, between 75% and 80% of the stomach is removed. By resecting a large portion of the stomach, the patient will have to eat considerably smaller amounts of food and drink significantly fewer liquids, which will guarantee weight loss in the long run. Some of the benefits of sleeve gastrectomy include a better quality of life, a weight loss of 60% to 70% within the first year following the procedure, the improvement or remission of the health problems associated with obesity, like heart disease, sleep apnea, and diabetes, a decreased desire to eat and a reduction in hunger sensation. Sleeve gastrectomy is performed by making several small incisions in the abdomen, through which trocars, medical instruments with a three-sided cutting point enclosed in a tube, will be inserted. Subsequently, the surgeon will examine the stomach and the blood vessels and will introduce a tube into the stomach which will serve as the new size of the organ. Afterward, a stapler is used to divide the stomach into two areas. Eventually, the new stomach will have a volume of 20% to 25% of the initial organ.

Here is how the process of weight loss will unfold following a sleeve gastrectomy:

  • the first 2 weeks: the patient will lose 10 to 20 pounds
  • the first 3 months: the patient will lose 35% to 45% of their excess body weight
  • the first 6 months: the patient will lose 50% to 60% of the excess body weight
  • the first year: the patient will lose 60% to 70% of their excess body weight

Furthermore, after undergoing sleeve gastrectomy, you will notice the improvement or the complete disappearance of the following health problems which obesity can lead to:

  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • fatty liver disease
  • sleep apnea
  • high cholesterol
  • asthma
  • migraine
  • joint pain
  • infertility
  • depression
  • urinary incontinence
  • gout

The majority of people who are eligible for a sleeve gastrectomy are those with a body mass index of 40 or higher, as well as those with a body mass index between 35 and 39.9 with health issues caused by obesity, such as diabetes, sleep apnea, and fatty liver disease.

Adjustable Gastric Band

Also known as lap band or realize band, this bariatric surgery is one of the least invasive procedure for people who need to lose weight. During the procedure, a soft silicone ring with a balloon that can expand is placed around the upper area of the stomach. Thereby, the resection of the stomach will not be necessary. The adjustable gastric band will thus create two compartments of the stomach with a considerably smaller pouch on top of the organ. When eating food, it will only go in the upper part of the stomach and this way, the patient will be prevented from consuming large amounts of food. Within a few hours, the food will slowly pass through the adjustable gastric band and digest normally, leaving the patient with a feeling of fullness for a longer time. The average weight loss with this procedure is 40% to 60%.

According to a recent medical study, 80% of the people who had a gastric band placed around their stomachs who had a body mass index between 30 and 40 lost at least 30% of their excess weight and kept it off for approximately one year. Nevertheless, if you practice mindful eating following the procedure, you are bound to lose even more weight and to successfully keep it off for a long period of time. One of the primary benefits of the adjustable gastric band procedure is the improvement of the quality of life of the patients who choose to undergo it. It is important to note that 15% to 60% of the patients who had this procedure need a second surgery for implant malposition, erosion, frequent vomiting, or weight loss failure.

Gastric Bypass

This bariatric surgery entails the surgeon making changes to your stomach and small intestine. The most common gastric bypass surgery is Roux-en-Y, during which the surgeon creates a small stomach pouch by separating the top of the stomach from the rest of the organ. Afterward, the small intestine is divided and the bottom end of the small intestine is brought up and connected to the newly created stomach pouch, which will have the size of a medium egg. Lastly, the upper portion of the divided small intestine is connected to the small intestine further down, which will lead to the stomach acids and digestive enzymes from the bypassed stomach and the first portion of your small intestine mixing with the food. The benefits of a gastric bypass, regardless of the procedure, are a limited amount of food which you can eat, a reduced number of calories and nutrients which your body absorbs and a change in your gut hormones, which will eventually make you feel full for a longer period of time after eating. Furthermore, after undergoing a gastric bypass, you will experience very good short term weight loss of 60% to 80% of your excess body fat. However, you should know that the postoperative complications of a gastric bypass have a higher rate than those involved in sleeve gastrectomy, but with proper care from a team of specialized medical professionals, your life will not be at risk.

The people who usually qualify for a gastric bypass are those with a body mass index of 35 to 39 with health problems which stem from obesity, such as sleep apnea, diabetes or high blood pressure, as well as individuals who have a body mass index of 40 or higher without health issues. To become eligible for a gastric bypass, your age will also have to fall within the range of 16 to 70, as younger or older patients are more susceptible to experience serious complications during or after the surgery.