Most people know that bariatric surgery exists, and that it has provided a real lifeline for people who have obesity. Bariatric surgery is a life-saver and, while it is an expensive procedure, it saves the overall healthcare industry a great deal of money because it addresses the numerous comorbid disorders people develop when they have obesity. What few people know, however, is that there are many different types of bariatric surgery. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration recognizes eight different types. The exact surgery someone is offered depends on a number of different factors, including their overall health and the particular expertise of the surgeon. Each procedure has both benefits and risks, and an experienced surgeon will be able to weigh these up in order to determine which option is the most likely to succeed.
The Bariatric Surgery Categories
Three categories of bariatric surgery exist:
- Restrictive surgery. Here, the size of the stomach is decreased, and this means that people physically can’t eat as much food. Usually, this is done with surgical staples attached to the stomach’s upper part, or by an elastic band that is tightened around the top of the stomach. Because the stomach becomes so much smaller, people feel full after just a very small amount of food. Three types of restrictive surgery exist, being the adjustable gastric band, the proximal gastric bypass, and the vertical banded gastroplasty.
- Malabsorptive surgery. This essentially stops the body from absorbing as much food. The Jejunoileal bypass, which was the very first type of bariatric surgery, used this principle. In the Jejunoileal bypass, the bottom and top parts of the small intestines were directly connected, bypassing the middle part. This stops the intestines from fully absorbing all the food that someone consumes. Unfortunately, complications with this type of surgery were common, including dehydration and diarrhea, which meant that the Jejunoileal bypass was quickly abandoned.
- A combination of restrictive and malabsorptive surgery.
Pros and Cons
Regardless of the type of weight loss surgery you have, complications are possible. This is why it is very important to be under proper consultation of a surgeon with a clinic such as Stop Obesity For Life, who will be able to determine which type of procedure should be completed in order to lower the risk of complications as much as possible.
Recovery of any type of weight loss surgery is usually around six weeks, although advances in medical science have been able to reduce this to some extent. Many procedures are now completed laparoscopically, and some surgeons have even been trained in single incision laparoscopic surgery. Here, the recovery time can be as quick as two weeks.
After surgery, you will have to eat liquid diets, and you won’t be able to engage in a lot of physical activity. This, however, is for a short period of time. You will go from liquid to pureed to solid, and you will be expected to start exercising as well. To be a successful bariatric surgery patient, you must be committed to making lifestyle changes.