It is commonly agreed upon that diet and exercise are the best ways to lose weight. But for those who have failed on this path, weight loss surgery can be a good option. It is not recommended for everyone. Only severely overweight candidates are usually considered. Approximately, men who are 100 pounds or more overweight and women who are 80 pounds or more overweight. If you are less overweight than that, you may still be a candidate for bariatric surgery, if you suffer certain conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or even sleep apnea.
It is important that you understand that weight loss surgery is a last resort for those who have struggled with obesity and have been unable to lose weight through non-surgical methods. Before choosing this option, it is important to become informed on the different types of procedures available, the risks associated with them and the changes in lifestyle that will follow.
Weight loss surgery promotes weight loss by: reducing the amount of food you can take in, and/or reducing the calorie absorption of food after intake. These two types are called restrictive method and malabasorption method, respectively. There is also a procedure which combines both.
Restrictive weight loss surgery is aimed at reducing the amount of food you ingest by basically restructuring the stomach and creating a smaller stomach pouch. With this method, a section of the stomach is removed or closed. This limits the amount of food that you take and makes you feel full sooner.
Malabsorptive weight loss surgery aims to alter the digestion process. Since most of the digestion and absorption occurs in the small intestine, this type of surgery cuts part of the small intestine or re-routes where the small intestine connects to the stomach. This creates a shorter digestive tract, which absorbs less food and calories. A combination of both methods, as seen in gastric bypass surgery, both reduces the stomach and bypasses the first section of the small intestine.
Immediately following surgery, you can expect to lose weight rapidly and continue to do so for some time (can be up to 2 years). However, it is common to regain weight afterward. It is also important that you understand that there are many risks and side effect associated with surgery. These might range from vomiting, surgical complications, clots, nutritional deficiencies, need to avoid pregnancy temporarily, etc. It is also important that you understand that weight loss surgery will have to be followed by a life-long lifestyle change which will include medical check-ups, diet and exercise programs, etc. Also, there is no way to guarantee personal results after weight loss surgery.
Yet, if you are severely overweight, and you have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight through conventional methods, and you are well-informed of the procedures available and their potential risks and side effects, and you are committed to a life-long lifestyle change, then weight loss surgery may be an option for you to consider with your health care provider.