Weight Loss Surgery
What is Weight Loss Surgery?
Persons who have struggled with their weight and have had failed attempts at weight loss through diet and exercise may be candidates for weight loss surgery. Weight loss or bariatric surgery can help to facilitate weight loss by two methods:
- Reducing how much can be eaten
- Reducing the amount of calories that are absorbed by the intestine.
There are quite a few surgical procedures that have been developed over the last few decades, the most popular being gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and gastric banding.
What is a sleeve gastrectomy?
A sleeve gastrectomy or gastric sleeve is a surgical procedure performed in patients who are significantly overweight (morbidly obese). The aim of the surgery is to assist these patients in losing weight by restricting the amount they can eat. In addition to weight loss, the procedure can assist in reducing the need for medications for hypertension and diabetes.
The procedure involves removing 80-85% of the stomach. The appearance of the stomach following surgery is like a tube or “sleeve”. In addition to restricting the amount the patient can eat, the desire to eat is greatly reduced as the section of the stomach that produces “the hunger hormone” is removed.
The procedure is performed laparoscopically, using small incisions and video camera equipment. This ensures faster recovery and shorter hospital stay as postoperative pain is minimal.
Sleeve Gastrectomy vs. Gastric Bypass
Sleeve gastrectomy is one of the newer surgical weight loss procedures. Gastric bypass has long been considered the gold standard for weight loss surgery. It involves reducing the size of the stomach but also bypasses a long portion of the intestine to reduce absorption. This process is effective in reducing the absorption of calories absorbed. However, it has a significant impact on the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals. This can greatly affect a patient’s well-being. As such, patients require constant monitoring for deficiencies in vitamins and minerals and often require lifelong medications and supplements. Patients undergoing sleeve gastrectomy do not require lifelong supplementation or constant tests.
Newer studies have shown that sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass are equally effective in excessive weight loss.
Is Weight Loss Surgery For You?
Weight loss surgery involves a process of assessment and preparation prior to undergoing the procedure. It is very important to ensure that you are the right candidate for the procedure, that the procedure has the best chance of being effective and that you are prepared mentally, physically, psychologically and emotionally for the changes that are about to occur. Candidates for sleeve gastrectomy are persons with a body mass index greater than 40 or body mass index greater than 35 in persons with conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and obstructive sleep apnoea.