- Weight loss surgery can help manage medical conditions related to obesity.
- Most types of weight loss surgery involve removing a part of the stomach.
- Not everyone who wants to get weight loss surgery can be an ideal candidate.
Who can get weight loss surgery?
- Obese adults, especially those with a weight-related condition like type 2 diabetes
- Individuals who are aware of the risks and benefits
- Individuals who are ready to adjust their eating habits post-surgery.
- Individuals who are committed to changing their lifestyle to keep the weight off
It’s not recommended that teens get a weight loss surgery unless they’re extremely obese (a BMI of at least 35) and a significant weight-related medical condition. Consult your doctor if you’re considering this option.
4 Types of Weight Loss Surgery
A weight loss surgery entails making changes to your stomach or small intestine, or both. Here are the four procedures usually involved in weight loss surgery:
This procedure is also called “Roux-en-Y” gastric bypass, or RYGB. During the surgery, the doctor removes a large part of your stomach, leaving only the pouch which can’t hold a lot of food, causing you to eat less. This surgery can often be done through laparoscopy.
Adjustable Gastric Band
A small band with a balloon inside is placed around the top of your stomach. The balloon controls the tightness of the band to limit the food that can go into your stomach. This surgery usually involves laparoscopy. However, this procedure is rarely performed in the U.S.
This surgery leaves only a narrow section called a gastric sleeve, of the stomach’s upper part. It may also involve curbing the hormone ghrelin, which is associated with hunger.
During this surgery, most of the stomach is removed, and a gastric sleeve is used to bypass most of your small intestine to limit how much you can eat. However, it also prevents you from absorbing nutrients from your food essential for your body to function normally.
The Maestro Rechargeable System is a device that delivers electrical pulses to the vagus nerve, which signals the brain when the stomach is full. The device is implanted in the abdomen but can be adjusted outside the body using a remote control.
Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery
Weight loss surgery can help people lose weight for 18-24 months. They may start to regain some of their lost weight after that point, but only a few regain all of it. Weight loss surgery can improve obesity-related medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Risks and Side Effects
Weight loss surgery often causes nausea, vomiting, dizziness, bloating, diarrhea, increased gas, and excessive perspiration. More severe but uncommon symptoms include bleeding, infection, stitch leaking, and blood clots in the legs that might affect the heart and lungs. Side effects depend on which type of surgery you have, but the most common ones include the following:
- Dumping syndrome – food moves too quickly through the small intestine. Symptoms include nausea, weakness, sweating, faintness, diarrhea after a meal, and weakness after eating sweets. You can prevent this by avoiding high-sugar foods and eating high-fiber foods instead.
- Gallstones – Losing a lot of weight too quickly can cause stones to form in your gallbladder. Taking supplemental bile salts for the first six months after surgery may prevent them.
- Nutritional deficiencies – Surgery can hinder your body from absorbing nutrients from food, and rapid weight loss can harm a baby in the womb. If you’ve had weight loss surgery or thinking of getting one, avoid getting pregnant.