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Do You Need Weight Loss Surgery Now?

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What is bariatric surgery?


Are you considering undertaking weight loss surgery or bariatric surgery? 

Bariatric surgery is an effective weight loss strategy recommended for people suffering from obesity, who have failed to lose weight with other non-surgical strategies such as diet and physical activity. 


Bariatric surgery affects your stomach and how food is digested. It is simply a surgery to make your stomach smaller, therefore making you feel fuller after consuming just a small amount of food. This results in eating fewer calories, thereby helping you to lose weight. 


What types of bariatric surgery?


The most common types of bariatric surgery are lap band surgery, gastric bypass, and gastric sleeve surgery. It is usually a keyhole surgery, in which small cuts are made in the abdomen. Sometimes, keyhole surgery is insufficient and open surgery with larger cuts is required. 


Lap Band Surgery


Lap band surgery involves an adjustable ring is placed around the top section of the stomach to create a very small pouch that increases the period of time that food remains in the top part of the stomach. Recipients feel fuller after consuming only a small amount of food. 


Gastric Bypass Surgery


Gastric bypass surgery involves a small stomach pouch being created, joined directly to the small intestine. Food then bypasses most of the stomach. 


Gastric Sleeve Surgery


In Gastric Sleeve surgery, a majority of the stomach is removed including the part that makes ghrelin, the hormone that makes you feel hunger. 


Which type is right for me?


There are a number of factors to consider before deciding on which type of bariatric surgery is right for an individual. Some of the factors that need to be considered include, how much weight you are seeking to lose, any pre-existing health conditions you have. 


It is advisable to consult with a doctor who specializes in bariatric surgery for the best advice, risk assessment, in order to find the best option for you.


When is bariatric surgery recommended?


Bariatric surgery can be an expensive and risky procedure. It should only be considered when all other non-surgical options to lose weight have been exhausted. 


The first recommendation should always be changing some key lifestyle factors that can help you lose weight. These include your diet and your physical activity. 


Cutting calories is a proven, safe and effective way to lose weight, as is engaging in physical activity such as walking or resistance training. 


These lifestyle changes can improve your health in many other areas, not only fighting obesity. Diet and exercise can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, regulate blood pressure and improve heart and cardiovascular health. 


There are also certain medications that can help you lose weight. Surgery should only be considered after these options have been explored. 



What are the risks?


As with any surgery, bariatric surgery can come with some risks. There is a risk of infection from the incisions, blood loss or a reaction to the anesthetic. 


There are specific risks associated with each of the procedures and there are also risks that are relevant to each recipient. Lap band is considered the safest option. 


Talk to your Doctor, to discuss the specific risks of each surgery and how it relates to your own situation. 


What results can be expected after surgery?


After surgery, you will be forced to make some significant lifestyle changes in order to lose weight and looking forward, in order to keep the weight off for many years to come. 


Some recipients will initially lose weight after bariatric surgery but then find themselves regaining weight a few years later after their body becomes adapted to the changes that the surgery made. It is important to be mindful of this possibility, so you don’t go through an invasive risky surgery, without achieving the goal that you set out to achieve.


It is important to realize that whilst surgery can make your efforts easier to lose weight, ultimately it will still be up to you, the individual, to make a long-lasting change to your lifestyle, if you are going to be successful at losing weight and keeping it off for the long run. 


You will need to plan your diet in order to be eating only the best foods that you can, in order to achieve nourishment with a much reduced stomach capacity, and to also include some sort of physical activity such as walking, yoga, swimming, cycling or resistance training, to help burn some calories and burn, to help shed some of the weight that you are carrying around.


Right after the surgery, you will be on only a liquid diet for about 3 weeks. Over the course of a few weeks, you will be able to introduce pureed foods in addition to liquids, then finally solid foods can be introduced after another short period of time. 


Your meals will need to be a lot smaller, as it will be impossible to consume the same amount of food that you were consuming, before surgery. You may need to stop drinking during mealtimes too. 


You will most likely be taking some sort of multi-vitamin and/or supplement for the rest of your life. Malnutrition is another risk post-bariatric surgery. 


You will need to ensure you are getting adequate vitamins and minerals now that your food intake has been significantly reduced. 


It will be important to consume only nutrient-dense foods, reducing dramatically or eliminating the consumption of junk foods, which provide minimal nutritional benefit. 


In order to maximize the effectiveness of the surgery, it is recommended that you also increase or commence a physical activity program if you are currently inactive. 



What are your first steps if you think bariatric surgery is for you?


Talk to your doctor and he/she will be able to recommend a surgeon. Perhaps you could do your own research to find the surgeon that you feel most comfortable with. 


But again, this is not something you should be taking lightly. It should be considered only as a last resort and hopefully, you and your doctor can arrive at this decision together, after exploring all available options. 

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