Which Bariatric Surgery Is Right for You?
Few people are aware that bariatric surgeries have been around since the 1960s. In the 1950s, doctors noticed that people with severe stomach ulcers would lose weight quickly, and they figured out a pain-free way of simulating the effects of stomach ulcers without the additional health risks. Bariatric surgery has since proven to be safe and effective, and has only gotten better as the years go on. These days, smaller and smaller instruments require smaller incisions, and this helps surgeons minimize the invasiveness of the surgeries while providing individuals with faster healing times. Bariatric surgery is not for everyone, and it is really only for people who are obese. If you need to lose 50 pounds, it is unlikely that your doctor will recommend anything more drastic than diet and regular exercise. If you are over 100 pounds overweight, it is possible that your doctor will recommend you for weight loss surgery. In either case, your doctor will have a good solution for you, and will work with you to help you get healthier.
One of the early bariatric surgeries was gastric bypass surgery. With gastric bypass surgery, a small part of the stomach is stapled, to make a pouch that is roughly the size of a golf ball. When that part of the stomach is secure, the small intestine is attached to that golf-ball sized stomach pouch. The reduced size of the stomach only allows for a very small amount of food, and with the immediate export to the small intestine, the body is only able to absorb so many calories. This helps in fat and weight loss because the body is forced to turn to its fat stores when calories become scarce.
The gastric sleeve is a name for the shape of your stomach after the particular procedure. About 75% of the stomach is removed in the procedure, leaving a stomach pouch about the size of a banana. This banana-shaped pouch is the gastric ‘sleeve, and it prevents you from having too much food. The gastric sleeve, unlike gastric bypass, doesn’t require that your intestine be cut, and re-routed. Instead, the portion of the stomach that is attached to the natural entrance of the small bowel is left intact, and everything goes the way it would naturally.
The first non-permanent bariatric procedure was the lap band. The lap band is revolutionary because it can be removed, or adjusted, giving you and your doctor more control over your progress. Choosing the lap band involves a conversation with your doctor; while the adjustable nature of the procedure is enticing, it may not be the best choice for you.
The gastric balloon is another recent, non-permanent weight loss solution. A balloon made of medical-grade material is placed into your stomach through your mouth, making this a non-surgical procedure. You will still need anesthesia, but you will experience a much shorter recovery time than those who undergo surgery. After six months, the balloon is removed, and all you have to do is follow your doctor’s order to keep your better life going.