Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is a quick way of losing weight for obese individuals. Weight loss in overweight and obese individuals is associated with a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This surgery can work to:
- Restrict the amount of food the stomach can hold at once, restricting the amount of calories eaten. This is usually accomplished by decreasing the size of the stomach.
- Shorten the small intestine so that the body will absorb less calories and nutrients. This is associated with an increased risk of nutritional deficiency.
- Combine both methods for increased efficacy.
There are four common types of weight loss surgery:
1. Sleeve Gasrtectomy:
In this surgery, the stomach’s overall size is decreased by removing a part of the stomach and forming it into a tube shape. By shortening the stomach, the body will produce less ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates your appetite, and feel satiated after a smaller meals.
2. Roux-en-Y gastric Bypass:
To decrease stomach size, a small pouch is created at the top of the stomach. This pouch is the only part that will receive food. The small intestine is cut and connected to the small pouch, allowing food to flow directly from the pouch into the intestine. However, a portion of the small intestine gets reattached to the main stomach to allow for digestive juices to flow. This surgery combines both concepts of reducing overall stomach size and reducing the amount of nutrients the body can absorb at once.
3. Adjustable Gastric Banding:
You may have heard this surgery referred to as the LAP-BAND. In this surgery, a small silicone band is placed on the upper stomach to create a small pouch. A tube is placed under the skin connecting to the band, allowing for the band to be inflated with a saline solution. The band may be loosened or tightened to manipulate the passageway into the stomach. This surgery does not restrict nutrient intake.
4. Duodenal Switch:
A significant part of the stomach is removed. The connection between the small intestine and the lower stomach remains intact. The surgeon then removes the middle part of the intestine and reconnects the small intestine. This is a combined surgery that reduces overall stomach size to restrict appetite and causes food to bypass the majority of the small intestine for limited caloric absorption.
Every surgery comes with its set of risks and rewards. If you feel that weight loss surgery is for you, contact your family physician for more information
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