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What Is Bariatric Or Weight Loss Surgery?

What Is Bariatric Or Weight Loss Surgery?

People with extreme obesity often fail to be treated though diet, exercise or medication. For such individuals, the solution is often surgery called as bariatric surgery. It is also called as weight loss surgery as it helps them lose weight.

 Studies reveal that weight loss surgery helps reduce death rates of excessively obese persons by help reducing complications like diabetes and heart disease. It provides a healthy life for those patients who follow healthy eating habits and make lifestyle changes after the surgery. One must also arrange finances to meet bariatric surgery cost.


The key principle behind this surgery is to reduce intake of food as well as the absorption of calories and nutrients in the intestines and stomach.

The process of digestion starts in the mouth where one chews the food and it is combined with saliva and other enzymes. From here, the food travels to the stomach where it is subject to the action of digestive juices and calories and nutrients are absorbed. The process of digestions is hastened as food travels to the duodenum or the first portion of small intestine where it interacts with pancreatic juice and bile.

Bariatric surgery aims to interrupt this process of digestion by not allowing breaking down and absorption of food. Patients lose weight when food is not absorbed in the normal way and thus helps reduce complications of obesity like diabetes and cardio-vascular disease.

Criteria for Surgery

The need for surgery or obesity is judged by the Body Mass Index. BMI measures weight in relation to height. Severe obesity is indicated by a BMI of over 35 kg/ m2 and 40 kg/m2.

Obesity causes health problems like arthritis, type 2 diabetes, severe sleep apnea and heart disease. The FDA recommends weight loss surgery for those suffering from such problems.

Types of Weight Loss Surgery

There are different types of this surgery. Basic distinction is between open surgery and laparoscopic surgery. In open surgery, a big cut is made in the abdomen. In laparoscopic surgery, tiny half inch incisions are made in the abdomen, through which fine surgical instruments are introduced. Nowadays the laparoscopic surgery is most popular as it implies small cuts, minimal damage to tissues, less post-operative complications and early discharge from hospital.

Bariatric surgery is also of four types:

  • Gastric band surgery
  • Gastric sleeve surgery
  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Biliopancreatic diversion featuring duodenal switch

Gastric Band Surgery

In this type, surgeon introduces a ring with an inner inflatable bandto surround the top of the stomach for creating a small pouch. This gives the feeling of being full after consuming very less food. There is a circular balloon in the band which is packed with salt solution. Following this surgery, you need many follow-up visits to the surgeon to adjust the band.

Gastric Sleeve

In this surgery, the surgeon removes mostportion of your stomach, leaving just a banana shaped section closed with staples. Even this surgery reduces amount of food intake by making you feel full. This surgery cannot be reversed.

Gastric Bypass

It consists of two steps. First, the stomach is stapled, making a small pouch in the upper section. This pouch makes you feel full sooner. Secondly, the small intestine is cut and lower part is attached to the stomach pouch to cause reduction in absorption of calories.

Duodenal Switch

It is a rare and complex surgery. Consisting of two steps, first part is same as gastric sleeve surgery. In second step, food is bypassed to most of the small intestine. This type of surgery cause more weight loss than the other three. But it has more adverse side effects, so it is rarely done.

These are some aspects about weight loss surgery.

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