Am I The Right Candidate for Bariatric Surgery?

May 21, 2019
Am I The Right Candidate for Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a type of surgery that is used to cause weight loss. There are different surgical options that are used for causing weight loss in people who are not able to lose weight by using other methods. In Bariatric surgery, the function of the digestive system is altered. The digestive system includes different organs that help in the digestion and absorption of the food. Through this surgery, the amount of food that the stomach can hold is restricted and causes malabsorption of the food that we eat. There are different types of Bariatric surgical procedures that are offered depending on the needs of the people.

What are the different types of Bariatric surgical procedures?

The different types of Bariatric surgical procedures are:

Gastric Bypass: It is the standard procedure of weight loss surgery. In this procedure, a small stomach pouch of approximately 30 ml in volume is created. The top part of the stomach is separated from the rest part of the stomach. Then, the first part of the small intestine is divided and the bottom part of the small intestine is connected to the newly created pouch of the stomach. Then the top part of the divided small intestine is connected down to the small intestine so that the acids from the stomach and the digestive enzymes from the newly created stomach pouch and the first part of the small intestine mix with the food.

Sleeve Gastrectomy: In this procedure, about 80% of the stomach is removed. The remaining part of the stomach resembles a banana. This procedure causes weight loss in several ways. The smaller stomach holds a smaller volume of food than the normal volume of the stomach and thus reduces the number of calories consumed by the body. This procedure also causes hormonal changes that affect the hunger, satiety, and blood sugar level.

Gastric banding: In this procedure, an inflatable band is placed around the upper part of the stomach. This helps in creating a small pouch above the band and another part below the band. This procedure works on the principle that eating a small amount of food will make the person feeling the fullness of the smaller stomach pouch. The feeling of fullness depends on the size of the part of the stomach above the band and below the band. The size of the opening can be reduced over time and repeated adjustments can be made.

Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD/DS) gastric bypass: In this procedure, a smaller tubular stomach is created by removing a part of the stomach. Then, a large part of the small intestine is bypassed. The upper part of the small intestine known as duodenum is divided just after the opening of the stomach. The second part of the small intestine is then connected upwards to the opening of the newly created stomach. When a patient eats food, it goes through the newly created tubular stomach to the last part of the small intestine. This procedure helps by reducing the amount of food consumed. It also helps in reducing the absorption of the food, thereby reducing the intake of calories.

Am I right for the surgery?

There are certain standards that one needs to meet to be able to qualify for the surgery. These include:

  1. Aged between 16 and 70 years with morbid obesity*
  2. BMI 35 or more and already existing comorbidities such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension etc.
  3. Motivation to commit to an inveterate post-surgery care and changes in the style of living

Despite qualifying for the surgery, a woman must not think of undergoing the same if she’s planning to get pregnant anytime in the next 18 months to 2 years. The surgery aims at altering the natural processes in the body and the resultant fast weight loss and deficiency of nutrition post that is dangerous for the expecting woman as well as the foetus.

Though bariatric surgery has had a proven record of coming to rescue for morbidly obese people, the surgery doesn’t come with any guarantee of weight loss. The individual needs to be motivated enough to take hold of his own life and commit to a healthy style of living to abstain from obesity. It is imperative to discuss the side effects of the surgery with the doctor so that one can make a conscious choice of undergoing it. As has been observed in the past cases, majority of the people lose weight for about 18-24 months post the surgery and gradually start regaining the lost weight; however, only a few reacquire all of it. The decision of undergoing bariatric surgery is purely personal and a person must not succumb to it under social pressure.

*Morbid Obesity – 100 pounds or more above the ideal body weight, or Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more.