If you are more than 100 pounds overweight, weight loss surgery might be right for you. When considering weight loss surgery, there are several things to think about.
First of all, there are a couple of different procedures available. One is the LAP Band procedure and another is gastric bypass. Which surgery is best for you depends on a number of things, including your diet history, your eating habits, how much you weigh, and your personal preference. A consultation with a surgeon can help you decide.
In the LAP Band procedure, a band is placed around the stomach, creating a small pouch. Food enters the stomach pouch that has been formed. Because the pouch is so small, you will become full much more quickly than usual. This will cause you to eat less.
The band can be adjusted on an outpatient basis to provide just the right level of weight management for you. The procedure is also reversible; the band can be surgically removed if for any reason you dislike it.
Gastric bypass is another form of weight loss surgery. With this procedure, the stomach is sutured or staples to form a small pouch. Part of the small intestine is then bypassed and the remaining small intestine is connected to the stomach pouch. Because the stomach is smaller, you will become full more quickly than normal. Because part of the small intestine is bypassed, fewer calories will be absorbed from the food you do eat.
Unlike the LAP Band procedure, a gastric bypass is not reversible. One you have the procedure done, you’re stuck with it.
Both procedures are performed in a hospital under general anesthesia. The patient usually spends one or two nights in the hospital.
Both methods of weight loss surgery carry some risk. There is always a risk of complications when general anesthesia is used. There is a risk of dying from weight loss surgery, but the majority of patients do just fine. Patients who have a gastric bypass are more prone to gall stones, and all patients may experience vomiting and diarrhea following surgery. This usually goes away in time.
Following surgery, patients are advised to stay on a liquid diet for several days. Then they are advanced to a soft diet for several weeks. It is necessary to let the stomach heal before eating regular food.
Patients that have gastric bypass surgery are often intolerant of certain foods following surgery. Sugary foods and greasy foods may not be tolerated by the smaller digestive tract and eating these foods may cause vomiting and/or diarrhea. Patients who have the LAP Band procedure will be able to tolerate most foods but should stick to a healthy diet in order to continue losing weight.
Deciding to undergo weight loss surgery is a big step. It will change your eating habits for a long time (if you have the LAP Band procedure) or forever (if you have a gastric bypass). Consider it carefully and discuss it with your doctor in order to make the right decision for you.