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Lose Weight: Bariatric Surgery Options

Jun 19, 2008
If you are considering bariatric surgery, you should be aware of all of your options. This term refers to a series of surgical procedures designed to treat obesity. People who are significantly overweight and have not been able to effectively treat this condition with diet and exercise may benefit from one of these options, but only a doctor can make this official diagnosis.

There are three main categories of bariatric surgical procedures, which include predominately malabsorptive procedures, predominately restrictive procedures, and mixed procedures, which include some characteristics of the two previous types. Predominately malabsorbative procedures are rare, but used to be the most common type. Due to the long term need for nutritional follow up care, and other health and safety factors, most physicians will not perform these procedures. As dramatic as the results achieved through bariatric surgery may be, it is important to remember that it is only a tool, and does not fix weight problems in and of itself.

Predominantly restrictive procedures are performed with the goal of reducing the size of the stomach and include adjustable gastric or lap band surgery, and gastric bypass surgery, in addition to mixed procedures.

Gastric Bypass surgery results in the creation of a pouch within the stomach, via a stapler device and connected to the small intestine. This creates a feeling of fullness quickly and results in a lower caloric intake. This surgery is also known as Laproscopy, which is a procedure in which a tube is inserted through a small incision into the abdomen. Carbon dioxide gas is pumped in to expand the abdomen and a small
camera is inserted so that the surgeon can easily view the area during the procedure.

Lap band surgery is generally recommended for patients who are morbidly obese, defined as having a BMI of 40 or greater. It is less invasive than gastric bypass and involves the placement of a gastric band around the upper part of the stomach, creating a small pouch that limits food intake. Like gastric bypass surgery, lap band surgery is also performed laproscopically. Patients have reported a faster recovery time, and faster results in some cases when dietary guidelines for post surgery are adhered to.

When researching bariatric surgery options, it is important to explore all avenues of opportunity available. The decision to have any type of surgery is not one to be taken lightly and should be entered into only with the advice and recommendations of a qualified physician.
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