Maybe, if you have a BMI of 30 or greater and you have a health condition such as diabetes type 2, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. Surgery is considered for people between the ages of 18 and 65 who have had many unsuccessful attempts to lose weight in supervised programs. However, even with surgery, you still need to make lifestyle changes that will last for the rest of your life.
Types of surgery available to you
Gastroplasty This is a restrictive procedure which limits the capacity of the stomach to store food. Sutures, staples, or a band across the upper end of the stomach creates a pouch roughly the size of a small egg. As a result, a person will feel full after eating only a very small amount of food.
Bypass surgery This is a malabsorptive procedure in which food passes from the stomach directly to the jejunum (the second segment of the small intestine), bypassing the duodenum (the short first segment of the small intestine). This procedure bypasses far less of the intestine than the older procedures, but it still reduces the amount of calories absorbed by the body.
When done by itself, the stomach banding or stapling procedure is relatively simple and can be performed in as little as half an hour. However, bariatric surgery commonly includes a more complex combination procedure called a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, or simply gastric bypass for short, considered by many to be the current gold standard for weight-loss surgery..
What should I consider before having surgery for weight loss?
Surgery to lose weight should not be taken lightly. Before making a final decision, you need to understand the benefits and the risks. Here are a few guidelines that maybe useful in making the decision:
Most people lose weight rapidly
After the first 6 – 9 months, the rate of weight loss usually slows down, but some people lose weight for 18 – 24 months.
Weight losses of 60% have been reported 5 years after gastric bypass surgery.
It can help control type 2 diabetes without medications because the weight loss often leads to normal blood glucose.
Other problems related to obesity such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and sleep apnea get resolved.
About 10 – 20% of people require a second surgery to correct complications or side effects.
Serious complications are rupture of the staple line or a stretched stomach pouch caused by overeating.
One-third of patients develop gallstones.
A possible side effect is dumping syndrome. It occurs after eating foods with concentrated sugar. It causes sweating, nausea, weakness, abdominal pain, and diarrhea due to the rapid passage of sugars into the small intestine. This effect can be avoided with careful attention to diet.
Any surgery under a general anesthetic also carries some risk to patient’s life.
What happens after weight loss surgery?
You get full faster and you don’t absorb food as well. This can cause nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting if you eat too much food at once or foods high in fat or sugar.
It may take you 4 – 6 months to go through the 4 diet stages from clear liquids to 3 meals and 1 – 2 snacks a day.
You may develop lactose intolerance and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Anemia can develop as a result of poor absorption of iron and vitamin B12.
Decreased calcium absorption may increase your risk of osteoporosis.
You must take iron, calcium, and vitamin B12 for the rest of your life.
You may have difficulty with certain foods such as red meat, bread or pasta.
An experienced health care team must oversee your transition to whole foods and find the right level of vitamin and calcium supplements.
If you drink high calorie beverages and graze on small portions of food all day, you can gain weight back.
Surgery for weight loss is not the easiest way to lose weight. You need to take responsibility for your eating habits for the rest of your life if you want to keep the weight off. Before deciding on weight loss surgery, you may want to consider making small changes to your lifestyle habits that will cause you to lose weight.
Losing weight, no matter how you do it, takes time. If you are determined and you understand that it is not a question of just a couple of weeks, you can succeed in this undertaking.