Weight loss surgery (bariatric surgery) involves surgically reducing the size of your stomach so you aren’t able to eat as much. This means that your body absorbs less food. Common types of bariatric surgery include laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (also called the lap band), gastric bypass, a sleeve gastrectomy, and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch.
Many of these procedures are laparoscopic surgeries, also known as minimally invasive surgeries. This means they’re performed through small incisions using a laparoscope (a small, thin tube with a camera on the tip that is used to see the inside of your body). Laparoscopic surgeries lead to less pain and a quicker recovery time than more invasive surgeries.
Bariatric surgery isn’t for everyone who is overweight or even obese. Before you can qualify for surgical weight loss, you must have health conditions related to your obesity. For example, you must also have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or high blood pressure. Many insurances also require certain steps are completed and that you are over a certain weight before you qualify for this surgery.
Maintaining healthy body weight is one of the best ways to avoid weight-related health problems. One way to determine if you are a healthy weight is by measuring your body mass index (BMI). This measurement is based on your height and weight. It’s considered to be a better measure of a health risk than just your weight in pounds. The medical terms “overweight” and “obesity” are based on BMI values. A BMI between 25 and 30 is defined as overweight. A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. The higher your BMI, the greater your risk of developing a weight-related illness. Use this online calculator to determine your BMI.
If you want to lose weight, the first thing you should do is talk to your doctor. He or she will help you develop a healthy eating and exercise plan. This plan can help you lose weight, improve your fitness, and decrease the chances of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes.
However, in severe cases, diet and exercise alone may not be enough to help you lose weight. If you have a BMI of more than 40 or serious weight-related health issues, your doctor may talk to you about weight-loss surgery. This surgery can help you lose large amounts of weight if you’re obese. It will reduce the amount of food you’re able to eat, reduce the amount of food your body is able to absorb, or both. It’s most successful when used as part of a long-term healthy lifestyle change, including diet and exercise. After surgery, weight loss is initially fast, and then slows over the next two years. Weight loss can be maintained over many years after surgery when lifestyle changes are continued.
There are several different types of weight-loss surgery. One type works by restricting the amount of food you can eat. It’s called laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (also called lap band). In this surgery, your doctor will make several small incisions in your abdomen (lower belly). A laparoscope is inserted into one incision. Your doctor will place a band, like a belt, around your stomach, separating it into two pouches.
There is a small passage between the two pouches. The food you eat will slowly pass through the narrow passage on the way to the intestine. A tube is attached to the band, and at the end of the tube is a port or an access point, that is left just below the skin. This access point allows your doctor to adjust the tightness of the band by injecting saline (saltwater) into the tube. Making the band tighter will make the passageway smaller, which makes the upper pouch fill faster. This will make you feel full faster.
Other common weight-loss surgeries work by reducing the amount of food you can eat and your body can absorb.
If you’re interested in weight-loss surgery, talk to your doctor. He or she can decide if you’re a good candidate for surgery. If you are, your doctor can explain the different procedures and decide which surgery would be best for you.
After surgery, you may experience some pain or discomfort. This is normal. Your doctor will prescribe pain medicine to keep you comfortable.
Losing your weight is only half the battle. Keeping it off will require permanent healthy changes to your lifestyle. Here are some simple measures you can apply every day to make a significant difference over time.
Watch the types of food you eat. Cutting back on unhealthy fat benefits almost everyone. Instead of eating fatty foods, try one or two of the following changes, or those suggested in our list of healthier food choices:
Along with a healthy diet and an exercise program you enjoy, you’ll need support. Finding support among friends, family, or a support group will be key to a successful weight-loss plan.