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Obesity is a health condition in which you have excess fat reservoirs in the body. This can lead to other serious health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, other heart diseases, chronic musculoskeletal problems, etc. Bariatrics is the branch of medicine that specializes in the treatment of obesity.

What is Bariatrics?

In addition to poor nutrition habits and lifestyle choices, obesity can also be caused by hormonal imbalance, genetics, stress, and certain types of cancers. Bariatrics deals with understanding the underlying cause of obesity, its impact on the body, possible treatment, and preventive measures to improve overall health.

Bariatric surgery leads to irreversible changes in the hormone levels of the body responsible for hunger and/or absorption capacity of the intestine or reducing the size of the stomach. These factors lower the overall amount of calories consumed from a meal. Over a period of time, this helps in bringing down the fat percentage in the body and reversing your health conditions.

Types of Bariatric surgeries

Depending on the health condition, total body fat percentage, and body mass index your bariatrician can suggest three different options of surgery.

  1. Restrictive Procedures - It works on the principle of shrinking the size of the stomach hence, the individual will attain satiety with a comparatively smaller amount of food and eventually slow down the process of digestion.
    1. Adjustable Gastric Banding
    2. Stomach Folding
  2. Malabsorptive or Mixed Procedures - In this, the surgeon will partially remove your stomach and the intestine and eventually create a bypass to slow the process of digestion.
    1. Sleeve Gastrectomy
    2. Gastric Bypass Surgery or Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
  3. Implanting Procedures - With recent advancements in technology, surgeons can now implant artificial parts in the digestive tract that block the signals between the stomach and the brain, hence reducing the amount of food consumed.
    1. Vertical Banded Gastroplasty
    2. Intragastric Balloon
    3. Vagal Blockade

Each procedure has its own set of pros and cons. Consult with a bariatrician and discuss all the options in full detail before going for the surgery.

Who qualifies for the surgery?

Bariatrics surgery is not performed for cosmetic reasons. Surgery is suggested only in cases when the conventional method of weight loss has not shown any significant improvement. It will have a life-long impact on you and hence, you must meet certain guidelines to be eligible for this. Conditions that can lead to this surgery are:

  • Individuals with a body mass index (BMI) higher than 35
  • Individuals suffering from life threatening disease
  • Individuals with musculoskeletal issues who cannot move

Why is the surgery conducted?

For some, a change of diet and exercising may not lead to a significant or long-lasting weight loss. If you are at risk of any serious health conditions, your doctor can suggest a surgical procedure for obesity management.

  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver
  • Heart diseases like stroke, high blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Sleep apnea
  • Osteoporosis

Benefits of the surgery

In addition to weight loss and drop in the body fat percentage, some other benefits of the surgery are: Improved metabolism.

  • Reduced risk of developing severe health concerns.
  • Substantial boost in mental health and control over psychological conditions like anxiety, depression, etc.
  • Better gynaecological health and fertility.
  • Improvement in overall health. 
  • Reversal of some existing ailments.

Associated Risks and Complications

Bariatric surgery is a complex procedure and has a severe impact on the overall nutrition pattern of the body. In addition to the basic risks involved in any surgery, such as infection, blood loss, and nerve damage, some other risks associated with bariatrics surgery are:

  • Peptic ulcers
  • Persistent feeling of vomiting, nausea, or acid reflux
  • Malnutrition
  • Hernia
  • Gallstones
  • Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar
  • Leak in the gastrointestinal system
  • Bowel obstruction

Which surgery is best for me?

It depends on various factors including your primary health condition, eating habits, and body mass index, etc. Your surgeon will take all these into consideration while suggesting the most suitable one for you.

Will I gain weight again after surgery?

Bariatric surgery is a life-changing process. While it will bring permanent changes in your weight and eating habits, surgery alone will not ensure good health. You will have to accompany it with permanent changes in lifestyle and diet.

Will I require more than one surgery?

In most cases, the surgeon will complete the process in the first sitting itself. However, in some extreme cases, the doctor might suggest more than one surgery with a sufficient gap in between to allow proper recovery. Visit Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Alwarpet, Chennai to consult a Bariatric Expert. Call 1860 500 2244 to book an appointment.

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