Weight Loss Surgery (Obesity Surgery) Guide

Weight loss surgery is talked about a lot in the media but what is it?  Weight loss surgery is not as some might think from the images in the media a magic potion to losing the pounds instantly and forever.

Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery can in combination with a healthy balanced diet and sensible exercise plan help maintain a healthy weight. Various terms are used to describe this type of weight loss operation including 'obesity surgery.'

If you are considering weight loss surgery (obesity surgery) you have probably tried other weight loss methods, such as diet, exercise and medications with limited results.  Weight loss surgery is not a decision to be taken lightly and if you do decide to take this life-changing surgery you must take time to consider all the options thoroughly.  You will be faced with quite a bewildering array of options and no one type of surgery is right for any individual.  It is vital that you take time to consider and discuss all the options with your GP or consultant.

All weight loss surgeries have the same aim; to reduce the amount of food you can eat by reducing the size of your stomach or bypassing your stomach. 

Types of Weight Loss Surgery (Obesity Surgery):

There are several types of surgeries but the main ones include:

  • Gastric band
  • Gastric bypass
  • Sleeve gastrectomy
  • Duodenal switch

The above procedures achieve weight loss in one of three basic ways:

Restrictive procedures

These limit the amount of food you can eat. Restrictive procedures section off a portion of the stomach creating a smaller area for food intake.  The pouch created holds less food (about 1 ounce of food or less) therefore creating a feeling of fullness after less food intake.

Malabsorptive procedures

These alter you digestive process causing food to be poorly digested or only partially absorbed. Malabsorptive procedures such as the duodenal switch work by bypassing the small intestines.  Most of what you eat is not absorbed which results in weight loss.

Combination of restrictive & malabsorptive procedures 

A gastric bypass is an example of a surgery that uses both restrictive and malabsorptive procedures.  A small pouch is created from the stomach which limits the food intake.  In addition to this procedure the pouch bypasses most of the stomach and small intestines causing food to only be partially absorbed. 

Choosing the Right Surgery for You

In order to make a decision on the right type of surgery for you, your consultant surgeon will make an assessment of your individual needs and assess the risks involved.  Weight loss surgery is a life altering experience and this guide covers some of the common issues and questions most have before embarking on their weight loss surgery journey.  Those that have the best results from weight loss surgery are those that are well informed and get matched with the best type of surgery for them.  Aftercare that allows you to make ongoing dietary and lifestyle changes is also vital for long-term success.

Weight Loss Surgery & Lifestyle

It is important that you are well informed not only of the procedure, the risks and benefits but also how life will change following surgery.  The actual surgery is only one part of a plan to maintain a long-term healthy lifestyle, which will require determination and commitment on your part.  Success is up to you.  It is easy to consider the surgery itself as a means to an end however it is really just a tool to help you in losing weight.  Post surgery you will need to consider diet; choosing foods carefully, taking vitamins and supplements and making exercise  part of your daily routine.   Dealing with many of the emotional ups and downs as well as the physical aspects can be challenging for many post surgery.  Your attitude, commitment, support from friends, family and medical staff will be important.  For many the road to maintaining a healthy weight is fought with ups and downs, however there is help and support available every step of the way.  

Weight Loss & Obesity

It seems very daunting when considering and exploring the ins and outs of weight loss surgery.  For many making the decision to have weight loss surgery (obesity surgery) is as a result of being committed to achieving a healthy weight after living with morbid obesity.   For some the risk of death or serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer is very real if they don’t have the surgery. 

Weight loss surgery is currently the most effective form of long-term treatment for morbid obesity.  The results can be extraordinary, as many testimonials from satisfied patients will testify.  Often the surgery results in positive life transformations as a result not only of the improved appearance and self-esteem but also removed health risks associated with obesity.

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