Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is a surgical procedure designed to help individuals struggling with obesity achieve significant and sustained weight loss. It is considered a major step in the journey toward a healthier weight and improved overall well-being. In this article, we will explore what weight loss surgery entails, who may benefit from it, the different types of procedures available, and factors to consider when deciding if weight loss surgery is the right choice for you.
What is Weight Loss Surgery?
Weight loss surgery involves various surgical procedures that alter the digestive system to promote weight loss. The primary goal is to restrict the amount of food intake, decrease the absorption of nutrients, or both. These surgeries aim to help individuals achieve significant weight loss, improve, or resolve obesity-related health conditions, and enhance the overall quality of life.
Who Can Benefit from Weight Loss Surgery?
Weight loss surgery may be a suitable option for individuals who:
- Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher: Weight loss surgery is typically recommended for individuals with severe obesity, defined as a BMI of 40 or higher. It may also be considered for individuals with a BMI of 35-39.9 who have significant obesity-related health conditions.
- Have Tried Other Weight Loss Methods: Weight loss surgery is typically recommended for individuals who have made previous attempts at weight loss through diet, exercise, lifestyle modifications or weight loss medications, but have not achieved long-term success.
- Have Obesity-Related Health Conditions: Weight loss surgery may be beneficial for individuals with obesity-related health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea, or joint problems, as it can help improve or resolve these conditions.
- Are Committed to Long-Term Lifestyle Changes: Weight loss surgery is not a quick fix but a tool that requires a long-term commitment to lifestyle changes. It is important for individuals considering weight loss surgery to be willing to make dietary modifications, engage in regular physical activity, and follow post-surgery guidelines for optimal results.
Types of Weight Loss Surgery Procedures
There are several types of weight loss surgery procedures available, including:
- Gastric Bypass: Gastric bypass surgery involves creating a smaller stomach pouch and rerouting the digestive tract, bypassing a portion of the small intestine. This reduces the amount of food intake and decreases the absorption of nutrients.
- Sleeve Gastrectomy: Sleeve gastrectomy involves removing a large portion of the stomach, creating a smaller, tube-like stomach. This restricts the amount of food that can be consumed and reduces hunger.
- Gastric Banding: Gastric banding involves placing an adjustable band around the upper portion of the stomach, creating a smaller stomach pouch. This limits the amount of food that can be eaten and creates a feeling of fullness.
- Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch: This procedure involves removing a large portion of the stomach, similar to sleeve gastrectomy, and rerouting the digestive tract to reduce both food intake and nutrient absorption.
The choice of procedure depends on various factors, including the individual’s health, preferences, and discussions with healthcare professionals specialising in weight loss surgery.
Factors to Consider
Before deciding on weight loss surgery, it is essential to consider the following factors:
- Risks and Potential Complications: Weight loss surgery is a major surgical procedure, and like any surgery, it carries risks and potential complications. These may include infection, bleeding, leaks, blood clots, and nutritional deficiencies. It is important to thoroughly discuss the potential risks and complications with your healthcare provider.
- Lifestyle Changes and Commitment: Weight loss surgery is a tool that requires a lifelong commitment to dietary modifications, regular exercise, and follow-up care. It is crucial to be prepared for these lifestyle changes and understand that weight loss surgery is not a quick fix.
- Support System: Having a strong support system is crucial for successful outcomes. This can include family, friends, support groups, and healthcare professionals who specialise in weight loss surgery. They can provide emotional support, guidance, and assistance throughout your weight loss journey.
- Cost and Insurance Coverage: Weight loss surgery is either not available or very limited access through through public bariatric units. Otherwise, it can be partially funded through private health insurance – often requiring top level cover for one year. You would need to check with your insurer to understand coverage details and potential out-of-pocket expenses.
Weight loss surgery can be a life-changing option for individuals struggling with obesity, providing a means to achieve significant and sustained weight loss. However, it is not a decision to be taken lightly. It is crucial to thoroughly evaluate your eligibility, understand the potential risks and benefits, and have a clear understanding of the necessary lifestyle changes and long-term commitment required for successful outcomes.
The Doctors at Alevia can help provide balanced and unbiased information about weight loss surgery to determine if weight loss surgery is the right choice for you. They can evaluate your unique situation, provide personalised recommendations, and guide you through the process, ensuring you make an informed decision about your health and well-being.
If you’d like to find out more, book with a Doctor today at Alevia Medical Weight Loss to discuss your suitability for weight loss surgery and determine what is right for you!