What You Must Know About Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, is a procedure through which obese people lose weight by reducing the stomach size with the help of a gastric band or by removing a portion of the stomach or by re-routing small intestines to a small stomach pouch.

Owing to the fad of being small-sized, people feel bariatric surgery is done only to lose weight. However, that’s not the case. It also helps in recovering from Type II diabetes and minimizing cardiovascular risks thereby reducing the mortality rate. As per the U.S National Institutes of Health, bariatric surgery should be performed for obese people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at last 40. But recent researches suggest that bariatric surgery can be performed on any patient whose BMI is higher than 30.

Bariatric Surgery Procedure

There are three procedures through which bariatric surgery is performed namely:

  1. Predominantly Malabsorptive Procedures: The success rate of this procedure is derived from creating a physiological condition of malabsorption.
  2. Predominantly Restrictive Procedures: As the name suggests, this procedure is based upon restrictive measures like reducing oral intake by limiting gastric volume. The risk of metabolic complications is reduced with this procedure.
  3. Mixed Procedures: In this, malabsorptive and restrictive procedures are combined.

Following are the bariatric surgery procedures commonly performed in India:

  • Gastric Bypass Surgery

In this procedure, the stomach is divided into two pouches. The upper one is made into a small sized pouch and the remaining part becomes the larger pouch. The upper part of the stomach is separated from rest of the stomach by stapling and the small intestines are rearranged to allow connection of both sections of the stomach. This results in lesser food intake. 

  • Lap-Band Surgery

This procedure is also known as Adjustable Gastric Band. In this procedure, the smaller pouch is created placing a silicon rubber on top of the stomach. It is performed laparoscopically. Lap-Band surgery is touted to be the safest procedure of bariatric surgery.

  • Gastric Sleeve Procedure

Also known as Sleeve Gastrectomy, in this process, a significant portion of the stomach is reduced by creating a major curve. This is a permanent/irreversible process unlike Lap-Band or Gastric Bypass. This process is also performed laparoscopically and is generally recommended for highly obese people. 

Postoperative Rehabilitation

After undergoing bariatric surgery patients are put on a clear liquid diet for a couple of days after which they are shifted to a liquid diet for two weeks. The patient follows this diet until the recovery of gastrointestinal tract. After complete recovery, the patient can shift to normal diet but since the intake of food reduces due to the reduction in the size of the stomach, doctors prescribe a diet rich in proteins and lower fats.

While bariatric surgery is not a magic bullet for weight loss, by following the right diet and lifestyle, most of the patients are able to maintain their weight after the surgery without any issues.

Need vs. Fad

The obsession of losing weight and reducing size has made bariatric surgery a fad. The body undergoes major altercations after undergoing the surgery. The post-surgery life isn’t as easy or simple to lead on. There are permanent dietary changes that the patient has to adhere to. If you fail to do so, the consequences can be serious. The surgery isn’t a permanent solution to weight issues. People feel that once they go under the knife, they can live the rest of their lives enjoying eating and no exercising. This is a myth. One needs to have a healthy and regular exercise routine else the weight is bound to return.

Being overweight or obese has serious health issues. People should opt for bariatric surgery for medical conditions rather than aesthetics. The health issues such people face range from hypertension to cardiac arrest and diabetes.

Take into consideration the overall factors before undergoing such a drastic step until and unless your doctor has suggested you to take this route due to your health concerns. Consult a reputed bariatric surgeon to help you know the needs and effects of the surgery on your body.