Weight-loss surgery (also called bariatric surgery) includes a variety of procedures performed on people who are severely obese. These are operation on the gastrointestinal tract that is responsible for intake and digestion of food. Weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach through removal of a portion of the stomach or by re-routing the small intestine to a smaller stomach pouch.
Weight loss surgery works in multiple ways
- Reduction in the size of stomach limits the amount of food you can take in. Thus the calories consumed are reduced significantly.
- Rerouting of the small intestine to the smaller stomach pouch restrict the amount of food you can digest. This leads to further reduction in the calories available to the body.
- In addition, these operations bring about certain changes to the hunger and satiety hormones which lead to reduced in consumption of food and satiety with smaller quantities of food.
As a person puts on weight, the excess accumulated fat gets stored under the skin (subcutaneous fat) and around the internal organs (visceral fat). The subcutaneous fat is obvious in the form of a protruding belly or heavy hips. But it is the excess visceral fat that is harmful as it is associated with increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other obesity-related problems.
Liposuction involves sucking out fat from under the skin (subcutaneous fat) from a particular part of the body. Liposuction is not a weight loss surgery, but rather a body sculpting (cosmetic) procedure that merely changes the shape of the body. Liposuction cannot have any effect on the visceral or harmful fat and does not result in any long-term weight loss. In fact, after liposuction the sucked out fat eventually returns within a few months to a year, and is redistributed to other areas of the body. Although liposuction might seem attractive, it does not result in improved health or durable weight loss.
Weight loss surgery, on the other hand, is not a cosmetic procedure. It causes reduction in weight by promoting loss of fat from all over the body including the subcutaneous and visceral fat. Thus, weight loss surgery produces results in significant and sustainable weight loss that produce overall health benefits and improves the quality of life.
There are several benefits of weight loss, which include
As weight loss surgery has been shown to be the only way of achieving significant weight loss and maintaining it over a long term period, individuals undergoing this form of surgery enjoy these benefits.
It is important to appreciate that weight loss surgery is major surgery and does carry certain risks. These risks vary according to your age, degree of obesity and other illnesses you may have. The risk of death within the first 30 days after surgery is estimated to occur in less than 0.5% (or 1 in every 200 patients) having this operation. This number is calculated on national and international averages on the base of large number of operated cases.
Other complications, listed below, may happen in up to 5% of patients.
Complications that can occur soon after surgery
Long-term problems after weight loss surgery
Although uncommon, depending on the type of weight loss surgery, certain long-term problems can occur. They include:
caused by the stomach contents moving too rapidly through the small intestine.
weight loss surgery are required to regularly take iron, multivitamins, calcium and vitamin D
as prescribed as also undergo a regular follow up with their doctors to detect and treat
deficiencies of the elements if they arise.