5 Things You Must Know About Bariatric Surgery
Do you know what the greatest curse of modern day lifestyle is?
It’s Obesity and its related consequences.
Fast food, stress, sedentary lifestyle, and errant sleep timings… over time, all of these starts to take its toll on us. All this results in excessive weight gain and ultimately, obesity, which itself becomes the driving factor behind many other health conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
It is often said that there is always a solution to every problem. Well, in this case, there are many possible solutions – appetite suppressants (medications), liposuction, extreme diet plans and extreme physical activities. All of these methods work but unfortunately the weight loss achieved by these methods is often very modest and difficult to maintain. Bariatric surgery, on the other hand offers a far more effective way to ACHIEVE and MAINTAIN weight loss. BARIATRIC surgery, where appropriate, remains the most effective treatment strategy for sustainable weight loss.
Now, those who have already surfed internet a million times searching for the perfect treatment of obesity will be aware of the term bariatric surgery but if you are here for the first time, let us explain the term. The word bariatric has Greek origins – bari meaning weight or pressure in ancient/modern Greek. Bariatric means ‘of or relating to the treatment of obesity’. Bariatric surgery is the surgical specialty that deals with the management and treatment of obesity. Bariatric surgery encompasses many different types of surgery such as gastric banding, sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass.
There must be countless questions hovering within your mind right now, so, let’s find some answers to your queries regarding bariatric surgery in Melbourne.
Who would be a candidate for bariatric surgery?
Selection for surgery is based on a multidisciplinary assessment programme which includes a consultation with a surgeon, a physician, a dietitian and a clinical psychologist if appropriate.
Criteria that need to be fulfilled include: –
- BMI > 40 or BMI > 35 with obesity related medical conditions
- Age >18 and previous failed attempt (>6 months) to lose weight via medical means
- A full and complete understanding of the nature, mechanism and risks of the surgery
- Absence of uncontrolled psychological problems
- Absence of active drug and /or alcohol problems
- A commitment to a healthy and appropriate diet, exercise and long-term follow-up
If you fulfil any of the criteria above, you may be considered for bariatric surgery.
NB BMI (Body Mass Index) is calculated by dividing your weight (in kg) by your height (in m2)
BMI = Wt (kg) / Ht (m2 )
What are the various types of bariatric surgery?
Each technique has its risks, strengths and weaknesses and is only a tool that enables one to lose weight with healthy food choices and exercise.
Using laparoscopic (key-hole) surgery, a silicone band is placed around the top of the stomach, just below the junction between the food pipe (esophagus) and the stomach. The inner lining of the band is a balloon which is connected by tubing to a reservoir which is secured under the skin on the abdominal wall. A special non-coring needle is used to inject fluid (saline) to tighten or loosen the band around the stomach. This limits the portion size one can eat. Hi calorie fluids however will still pass through the band without any restriction and can therefore jeopardize weight loss if one does not make the appropriate food choices.
Sleeve gastrectomy is usually performed by laparoscopic (key-hole) surgery and involves removing about 80% of the stomach leaving a small volume “sleeve” of stomach. It reduces the amount one can eat and importantly the portion of stomach removed produces a hormone called Ghrelin that regulates appetite. Hence most patients do not feel as hungry and this helps with achieve weight loss.
Roux en Y gastric bypass or gastric bypass is an established surgical treatment for morbid obesity. This is usually performed by laparoscopic or “key-hole” surgery. It involves partitioning the stomach into a small pouch and re-arranging part of the small bowel. The small stomach pouch, about the size of one’s thumb, is fashioned with a surgical stapler and separated from the remainder of stomach. The upper half of small bowel is sectioned and re-arranged into 2 limbs – Roux or the ‘food’ limb and biliopancreatic or “digestive enzyme” limb. The “food” limb is then connected to the small stomach pouch to restore the continuity of gut and the “digestive enzyme” limb connected to the “food” limb downstream to allow digestion of food and absorption of nutrients in the “common” limb. With gastric bypass, patients feel full and satisfied with a small portion of food. In addition, the re-arrangement of the small bowel triggers hormonal changes that suppresses hunger and improves diabetes
What are the benefits of bariatric surgery?
Obesity is associated with many chronic conditions – some potentially fatal. Bariatric surgery has been shown to be an effective and safe method to deliver sustained weight loss when non-surgical methods have failed.
It is important to remember that obesity surgery is NOT cosmetic surgery.
It does not cure obesity and will only be successful if accompanied by a lifelong commitment to healthy eating habits and exercise.
What are the complications involved in the bariatric surgery in Melbourne?
Every surgical procedure carries some risks and bariatric surgery is no different. In general, risks are low but each type of surgery has its own specific risks and potential complications and your surgeon should be able to discuss these thoroughly with you so you can make an informed decision about the type of surgery to embark on.
What are the precautions that should be taken after the surgery?
Surgical follow up after bariatric surgery should be lifelong. Your surgeon or practice dietitian will provide you with expert advice regarding food choices and dietary supplements tailored to the type of surgery that you have. There should also be regular monitoring of essential nutrients by your surgeon/dietitian to ensure you do not develop any nutritional deficiencies in the long term
Your health is your most priceless possession!
Protect it with all you have!