Bariatric surgery is becoming increasingly popular among those looking to lose weight and improve their health. This specialized surgery involves altering or bypassing a patient's digestive system to eliminate or reduce calorie intake.
Bariatric surgery alters how the body processes food and can lead to rapid weight loss. Patients must supplement their diets with vitamins, minerals, and other supplements to meet their nutritional needs.
Bariatric surgery is not a guaranteed solution and does require significant lifestyle changes on the part of the individual. Patients should discuss expectations for weight loss and the work necessary to maintain healthy eating habits with the surgeon.
Some potential risks associated with bariatric surgery include malnutrition, gallstones, infections, hernias, and blood clots. Patients should be aware of these risks before undergoing bariatric surgery.
Most bariatric surgery procedures are laparoscopic, using several small incisions rather than one large incision. This minimally invasive technique requires a shorter recovery period with less risk of infection and fewer visible scars.
Different bariatric surgeries are available depending on the patient's needs. Gastric bypass, adjustable gastric band, and sleeve gastrectomy are among the most popular procedures.
Gastric bypass surgery involves the surgical creation of a small stomach pouch that is attached to the small intestine. It reduces the amount of food the individual can consume and restricts calorie absorption.
Adjustable gastric band surgery involves the placement of a flexible band around the upper part of the stomach. The band connects to a small portable device, allowing the doctor to adjust the stomach size to control how much food a person can eat.
Sleeve gastrectomy, or gastric sleeve, involves the removal of a portion of the stomach, leaving a thin "sleeve" of tissue that decreases hunger sensations and reduces the amount of food a person can eat.
The decision to pursue bariatric surgery is life-altering and best suited for those ready to make the necessary lifestyle changes. Patients should also ensure they are emotionally and physically prepared.
Insurance companies may offer partial coverage of bariatric surgery, making it more financially feasible to pursue. Additionally, some surgeries come with lifetime warranties and patient support services, which can help with long-term success.