If you are severely obese, then you may know that you have a chronic health condition that can be very difficult to treat and can feel impossible to overcome. Though gradual, doctor monitored changes in diet and activity level can help some to lose the weight, others need additional assistance. Some people might need to take weight loss pills to make it easier to slim down, and those pills might come in the form of prescription medications or over-the-counter products. But, even with a low-calorie diet, strenuous exercise routine, and high-quality diet products, many people still find it extremely hard to hit their target weight and get their health back on track too.
Weight Loss Surgery: An Option to Consider When All Else Fails
Weight loss surgery is one of the many options that are available to you when you are struggling to lose a lot of weight. If you have been diagnosed as obese, and your weight is really taking its toll on your health, your doctor might tell you that you need to go an extra step by undergoing a weight loss procedure that will allow you to shed the weight more quickly, and keep it off.
For some obese or severely overweight patients, weight loss surgery – also known as bariatric surgery – might be necessary. But how do you know what is right for you? Should surgery be considered your best option? After all, this is a pretty intense solution that is available to those who need to lose a lot of weight. And every type of surgical procedure will carry some level of risk.
Bottom line: there are a lot of pros and cons to consider before telling your doctor that you want to proceed with weight loss surgery. Below, we discuss some of the ways that you can work on deciding if weight loss surgery would be best for you.
What Is Involved in Weight Loss Surgery?
The weight loss surgery can help some people with severe obesity by restricting the intake of food or by creating a digestive process interruption. That said, this doesn’t just mean that if you have weight loss surgery, you’ll suddenly find it easy to lose weight. This is a serious procedure and it involves a major decision that will lead to dramatic lifestyle changes. It is critical that you understand both the good and the bad side of this treatment for your condition before you go under the knife.
To start, you should know that obesity surgery will involve opening you up and making changes to either your stomach or your small intestine, or both.
Here are brief descriptions on some of the main types of weight loss surgery that your doctor might recommend:
- Sleeve gastrectomy – According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), sleeve gastrectomy involves the removal of roughly 80% of a person’s stomach. This will result in the stomach being able to hold less food, so you will feel full much sooner as a result whenever you eat. Those who undergo this procedure can lose weight quickly. However, this procedure isn’t reversible, and it comes with a risk of nutrient deficiencies, so it is important to discuss those drawbacks with your doctor while you consider whether this is the right route to take.
- Gastric bypass – Also known as Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, this procedure involves creating a small pouch in the stomach to reduce the amount of food that you can consume at one time. In addition to that, however, the surgery will also involve bypassing a portion of the small intestine so that the body ends up absorbing a lower number of calories as well. This can result in long-term weight loss, but it also comes with the risk of complications and long-term nutrient deficiencies.
- Adjustable gastric band – During this procedure, the surgeon will place an inflatable band on the top part of the stomach. Like the other weight loss surgeries discussed above, this one also creates a pouch that will help you feel satisfied from eating a smaller amount of food. This ensures you can more easily reduce your calorie intake, and lose weight as a result. Also, what is attractive to some patients about this particular procedure is that it doesn’t require that the surgeon cut into the stomach or intestines. Plus, this option is adjustable and reversible as well, and it comes with a lower risk of nutritional deficiencies too. However, it might not be able to deliver the same weight loss results as other types of weight loss surgery.
Talking to Your Doctor, and Doing Research, Is Super Important
If you feel that it might be the right option to help you to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, then your next step should be to your general practitioner’s office so that you can discuss it with your doctor. He or she will be able to provide you with more information that will help you to understand whether or not this is appropriate and/or safe for you, considering your unique needs and medical history.
You may find that your doctor has also had other patients who have undergone this type of weight loss surgery and will be able to share the results of the therapy (without telling you the names of the patients, of course) so that you can obtain a better idea of what you might be able to expect. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to a surgeon in your area.
Before you make your final decision, it is also a good idea for you to read as much as you can from reputable sources about the various different procedures that are available. When you use the internet to find this information, be sure to exercise caution, as some websites have greater accuracy than others. Official websites such as the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery may help you to obtain a strong sense of the benefits and the risks of various procedures.
Weight Loss Surgery: A Serious Thing to Consider
Even though a surgery might seem like a great solution to your weight loss problems, the truth is that there are a lot of pros and cons to weigh before deciding if this is the best path for you to take. There are a lot of things to think about, from what you will need to do to prepare for the procedure, to what you will need to do after the surgery to ensure it is effective and you reduce the risk of complications as best as possible. Plus, there is the potential for side effects, such as dizziness, diarrhea, bloating, gas, sweating, vomiting, and nausea, which are considered common, along with infection, bleeding, and blood clots, which are considered serious.
Remember that weight loss surgery is considered to be an effort of last resort. If there are still other options available to you, it may be better and healthier for you to give them a try before falling back on a surgical procedure.