According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of all American adults are affected by obesity. It’s no secret that obesity is a major cause of several serious and life-threatening diseases including heart disease, stroke, some cancers and Type II Diabetes. A recent Medical News Today study shows a definitive link between both obesity and pancreatic cancer.
Ultimately, obesity can damage a person’s quality of life and leave them feeling depressed and immobile. Because of this, many people decide to endure bariatric surgery to get healthy and change their lifestyle.
According to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, the number of surgical weight loss procedures has increased from just 13,000 in 1998 to well over 200,000. Bariatric surgery helps to reduce the patient’s food intake, which helps them to lose weight. A person is a candidate depending on their body mass index, their current health condition and their wiliness to change their lifestyle after surgery.
Types of Procedures
Typically there are three main surgeries associated with weight loss. They are gastric banding, gastric sleeve and gastric bypass. Gastric bypass, the most common, reroutes the digestive system past the stomach so that hunger is suppressed. With gastric banding, an inflatable band is placed on the top of the stomach and creates a small pouch which doesn’t allow much food and satisfies patients’ hunger faster. Lastly, with gastric sleeve surgery, 80% of the stomach is removed and the amount of food that can be consumed is dramatically reduced, so extreme weight loss occurs. Recovery time varies for each surgery and from patient to patient.
According to Dr. Elliot Fegelman, medical director for Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson company, diet and exercise is only effective for 5% of all overweight people and weight loss surgery has been proven to be the most effective options for obesity and related diseases. Weight loss surgery has been significantly more effective than non-surgical options. Other studies have shown that bariatric surgery is associated with fewer strokes and heart attacks and have improved a patient’s sex drive.
Possible Risks & Complications
Any surgery has the possibility of some type of risk or complication. It’s important we discuss though in the grand scheme of bariatric surgeries. In association with gastric band, the possibility for dilation of the esophagus may occur if the patient overeats. This means that patients must have regular post-op follow-up visits that evaluate their diet. Gastric bypass surgery has been associated with long-term vitamin deficiencies. Lastly, Medical News Today has reported that women who undergo weight loss surgery and get pregnant within 2 years following surgery have an increased risk of miscarriage.
Dr. Fegelman still believes that bariatric surgery is worth the process and says that he believes that better communication is needed between patients and doctors to make sure that patients are informed about the risks associated with the surgery they are choosing to endure.