Weigth Loss Surgery

Obesity is becoming a world wide problem and it is high time that we tried to understand it better and took a call on keeping our weight under control.

Your body mass index or BMI determines whether your weight is right for you not. BMI is a standardized measure of your body fat that can be calculated based on your height and weight. If you have a BMI below 25, you are considered underweight, between 25 and 29.9, you are overweight and 30 and above, obese.

If you are obese and cannot lose kilos with lifestyle changes like healthy food habits, exercise and medication, surgery may be an option for you. Weight loss surgery is recommended for people with a BMI of 40 or above and also for those who have a BMI between 35 and 40 but suffer from a medical condition like diabetes, heart disease or sleep apnea.

How it works

Weight loss surgery restricts your food intake and sometimes also the amount you can digest. A large number of people can lose weight quickly after the surgery. Maximum weight loss is said to take one to two years. Abdominal plastic surgery can be done after that to get rid of excess skin. Strict follow-up of diet and exercise recommendations can help one stay in shape.

Types of weight loss surgery

There can be three kinds of these surgeries- restrictive, malabsorptive and mixed or combination. All of them are performed under general anesthesia.

Restrictive

A restrictive surgical procedure reduces the size of the stomach, thus limiting the amount of food a person can eat at a time.

Malabsorptive

This procedure reduces the length of the small intestine which is responsible for food absorption, thus restricting the absorption of nutrients and calories and leading to loss in weight.

Mixed or Combination

This kind of a surgery has the components of both restrictive and malabsorptive procedures, i.e. it reduces food intake and also cuts down the absorption of nutrients by the body.

Preparing for a weight loss surgery

A person who decides to go in for surgery needs to have sessions with several specialists prior to that, for varying periods.

  • A nutritionist guides a patient on the strict dietary guidelines after surgery and ensures that s/he understands and is ready for them.
  • A mental health specialist prepares the patient to cope with various lifestyle changes.
  • A cardiologist checks the health of the patient’s heart.
  • A sleep-medicine specialist has to rule out sleep apnea before surgery.
  • An internal medicine specialist checks the patient’s overall health.
Post-surgery complications

Weight loss surgery can lead to complications depending upon the surgical procedure involved and the patient’s preexisting medical conditions, if any. Potential complications include pulmonary embolus, infection, bleeding, narrowing of outlets and also hernia at the site of incision. However, the risk of complications can be greatly reduced if the surgery has been performed at a good, well-equipped hospital.

Efficacy of a weight loss surgery

Weight loss surgery can be quite effective in reducing illnesses and deaths associated with obesity and also improve organ function. Additional benefits include reduction in the amount spent on medication, number of sick leaves and general improvement in the quality of life. Patients are known to lose up to 60% of their body weight. Their medical conditions associated with obesity, like diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and sleep apnea also showed enormous improvement.

It is also established that people who undergo weight loss surgery are fewer likely to increase heart disease, cancer and endocrine diseases.

Must-dos after weight loss surgery

Once a patient is discharged from the hospital, which is generally after one or two days, she should follow a strict diet advised by the doctor or nutritionist which is mostly liquid or semi-solid, for at least six weeks. Beyond that, a dietician will guide you about your diet which will slowly keep increasing with time. However, a strict eating regimen is essential for life, along with a regular fitness program, to get the best results from your weight loss surgery.