Bariatric Surgery: Which One's Right For You?

Bariatric Surgery is an umbrella term for a series of procedures specifically designed with weight loss in mind. It is most definitely not meant for everyone, however; it should only be for those who have had consistent difficulty with weight loss and are obese or at risk of morbid obesity. It is also an option for those who have medical conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, joint diseases and diabetes.

It is recommended for:

 -Those who have a BMI greater than 40

 -Those who have a BMI greater than 35, but have serious medical problems related to obesity (diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and severe joint pain)

 -Those who have a BMI greater than 30 with very specific conditions, such as a certain type of diabetes or a combination of life-threatening diseases and conditions.

            While it is crucial to receive this procedure for some, for others it may not be necessary as both bodily and nutritional needs may vary greatly depending on the person. In fact, some races, such as Southeastern Asians and Indians will experience the negative effects of obesity early than others, so they may be approved for the surgery at a lower BMI.

While there are a few procedures available to a patient it is important to find which one is right for your specific body. You will need to work with a surgeon to decide which procedure, if one is even necessary, is the best for you.

While there are many weight loss procedures available, the most common are the gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, and gastric balloon.

Gastric Bypass

The Gastric bypass helps you lose weight by reducing the amount of food you’re capable of eating altogether. What happens is a Surgeon creates a small stomach pouch, dividing the stomach and attaching it to a small intestine, enabling you to lose weight in two ways:

-The smaller stomach holds less food, allowing you to feel full after eating a comparably small amount of food or liquid, this pouch may stretch over time, allowing you to eat more food.

-The body now absorbs and processes fewer calories, this causes a decrease in appetite and changes how you process and break down foods by changing the release of hormones as well.

The Gastric bypass is able to be performed as an open surgery (through an open incision on the abdomen), though many are done laparoscopically (a long instrument that is used to enter your body and allows the surgeon to work through the instruments with smaller incisions) both of these methods have their individual risks and benefits.

            The Gastric bypass has a high success rate and patients lose an average of 70 to 75 percent of excess body weight within the first 12 months post-op. For someone 120 pounds overweight, an average loss of almost 90 pounds should be expected. Weight loss does typically level off after approximately one year, with an overall excess weight loss of between 60 to 70 percent within 5 years.

Gastric Sleeve

            The Gastric sleeve is very similar to the bypass, however, the sleeve turns the stomach into a narrow tube and is much less invasive and radical as well. With this, it is very important to keep into account that while the process is less radical, the results may be as well and are more dependent on the patient keeping an appropriate lifestyle afterward. However the sleeve offers slightly more freedom post-op, but it also means the success rate is more varied.

Gastric Balloon

            The Gastric Balloon is a procedure where an inflatable balloon is put inside your stomach through your mouth via an endoscope. It is the least invasive of these three procedures and impacts your body the least, not requiring an incision (though it still requires an anesthesia) and poses the least risk. It is gaining a lot of traction for many because of this. Once the balloon is removed, however, it is up to the patient to maintain a healthy lifestyle afterward. 

In any case, there are many foods that you can eat, but if you want to keep the weight off, it is important to have bariatric friendly foods. These foods will provide you with the necessary nutrients to keep you going. Bariatric Lifestyle Diet has an entire line of great tasting Bariatric Friendly foods and products such as delicious protein shakes and creamy smoothies that will promote healthy recovery as well as enabling the body to lose weight.

            It is important to remember that the goal of all of this is to reduce the risk of illness or even death from obesity. That your life is still capable of control and that you aren’t going to be this way forever. You shouldn’t feel sad or ashamed that you’re considering this change. In fact, you should feel brave and proud of yourself because you still want to make that improvement in your life.