You see it on Oprah and the news, and hear about celebrities having it, but what exactly is weight loss surgery and how is it done? Goals of weight loss surgery may include reducing the amount of food needed to feel full and/or reducing the absorption of fat and calories. There are a number of procedures but three of the most commonly used are gastric banding, gastric bypass and duodenal switch..
Why do people have weight loss surgery?
Goals of weight loss surgery may include reducing the amount of food needed to feel full and/or reducing the absorption of fat and calories.
For some people weight loss surgery is a "quick fix" way to lose weight.
There are a number of procedures but three of the most commonly used are gastric banding, gastric bypass and the duodenal switch.
During gastric banding, a band is used by the surgeon to divide the stomach into two parts, a small upper part and a much larger lower part. When the person eats, the upper part expands causing them to feel full much sooner than they normally would.
Gastric Bypass Surgery
In gastric bypass surgery, the majority of the stomach is stapled shut so that digested food never enters it. Instead, the food passes through the smaller portion of the stomach directly to the small intestine where is it absorbed. The connection between the stomach and small intestine is altered so that less food gets absorbed there.
This weight loss surgery allows patients to lose 70-80% of their body weight however because the level of food absorption is reduced in this operation, patients are at greater risk of anemia due to low levels of iron and calcium.
In a duodenal switch, approximately 75% of the stomach is actually removed from the patient. Like the other procedures, this makes the person feel fuller quicker. The small intestine is also rearranged so that calories and fat are absorbed later in the digestive process. Like with the gastric bypass surgery, several deficiencies may occur and so a high-protein diet and a life-long regiment of vitamin and mineral supplements will need to be followed.
This surgery can result in a loss of 75-80% of excess weight.
These surgeries are now being done laparoscopically, using video cameras for the surgeon to view the inside of the patient. This results in a less invasive procedure.
Which method will be best depends on your physical condition, goals and motivation for having the surgery. Some clinics may offer only one or two of these options, others offer all of them.