A Concise Guide to Weight-Loss Surgery Options

According to recent statistics, as many as one in three American adults are considered overweight. Additionally, one out of every 13 adults in America fit the criteria for being considered morbidly obese. It comes as no surprise that being overweight or obese carries a significant risk of increased health problems down the road.

Weight issues lead many people to consider weight-loss surgery as a possible solution to their problems. However, there are several types of weight-loss surgeries available. As with any other medical procedure, each one comes with its own benefits and risks. How can you know which weight-loss surgery option is best for your needs and goals? The information gathered below will look a little deeper into this question by providing additional facts regarding four common weight-loss surgical procedures.

Gastric Bypass

During gastric bypass surgery, your surgeon will separate your stomach into two small pouches. He will then attach a portion of your small intestine to a hole in your stomach pouch. The smaller size of the stomach pouch will mean you will consume less food while still feeling satisfied.

What are the benefits and risks of gastric bypass surgery?

One benefit is that you will need much less food to feel full. You will also eliminate your food faster, resulting in fewer calories absorbed and significant weight loss. As a downside, you may be more prone to gallstones in the future. Some patients also experience abdominal issues such as nausea and vomiting. You will need to carefully monitor your nutrient intake to be sure you don’t become deficient in essential vitamins and minerals.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

During a sleeve gastrectomy, your surgeon will remove a large portion of your stomach. You will be left with a stomach that is approximately the size of a banana, resulting in you being able to eat smaller amounts of food and still feel satisfied.

As with gastric bypass, patients undergoing a sleeve gastrectomy may be at an increased risk of gallstones down the line. Some surgeons recommend removal of the gallbladder to prevent this problem. You will also need to keep an eye on your nutritional requirements to ensure they are met in a satisfactory way.

Adjustable Gastric Band

In an adjustable gastric band surgery, your surgeon will attach a small device to the upper portion of your stomach to create a ring. This device can then be inflated or deflated as needed to change the size of your stomach.

The main benefit of the gastric band is that it can be changed as needed. If it is initially made too tight, the surgeon can simply loosen it and vice versa. There are a few downsides to consider as well.

For one thing, the band can slip off the stomach, resulting in uncomfortable symptoms or the need for additional surgery. The band can also cause an obstruction that can result in nausea or vomiting. As with all other forms of weight-loss surgical procedures, attention must be paid to your nutritional intake to ensure your needs are met.

Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch

A biliopancreatic diversion surgery will alter the way your body digests food by changing the size of the stomach. During this surgery, your surgeon will make alterations to allow for your food to completely bypass the small intestine. This will mean that you will absorb far fewer calories and lose weight as a result.

The major downside to this surgery is that you will have a much harder time properly absorbing nutrients from your food. Patients who have this operation will need to take vitamin and mineral supplements for the rest of their lives to prevent dangerous deficits that negatively impact their long-term health. This is considered a riskier surgery than some of the other types of weight-loss procedures we have discussed. Therefore, it is reserved for special cases where other operations aren’t acceptable.

Coverage

As with all medical and surgical procedures, there are many benefits and risks to consider with each possible option you are faced with. In addition to benefits and risks, many patients are also concerned about the cost of such procedures. Although these were all considered experimental operations a few short years ago, most insurance companies now provide coverage for all types of weight-loss surgeries.

With the above information in mind, your physician can help you further determine the best surgical weight loss solution for your specific needs and goals.

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