Bariatric Surgery commonly known as weight-loss surgery is used for the treatment of obesity.
There are two options for bariatric surgery: a gastric band or gastric bypass. Both of these procedures make changes to the digestive system to restrict the amount of calories a person can consume. By leaving the body with a shortage of calories for day-to-day functioning, the body will use up the stores of fat that have built up over years, helping you to lose weight.
Weight-loss surgery options
The two main types of bariatric surgery are restrictive, where the size of the stomach is restricted either using staples or a band so that only small meals can be eaten and the person feels full more quickly; or malabsorptive, where the stomach size is restricted by bypassing part of the digestive system so that food intake is restricted and not all calories are absorbed by the body.
Depending on the type of operation, weight loss can be quite dramatic and quite quick. Eventually the body adapts to it’s new digestive system, and after continued weight loss for 12-18 months, weight will begin to stabilise and the calorie intake will reflect what the body needs.
Am I a Candidate for weight-loss surgery? The ideal candidate for bariatric surgery is morbidly obese with a lot of fat to lose. A person is categorised as morbidly obese if they have a BMI over 40. You must also have tried all other non-surgical weight loss treatments without successful weight loss before undertaking bariatric surgery.
Before Bariatric Surgery
Before surgery it is important to have a detailed consultation with a cosmetic surgeon and to clearly outline your expectations of the procedure. It may be the case that a less invasive option such as liposuction can deliver the results you desire.
During Weight-loss Surgery Bariatric surgeries are performed under a general anaesthetic. Restrictive procedures using gastric bands divide the stomach into two sections: the top part of the stomach is turned into a small pouch that fills up with food quickly, giving a feeling of fullness. It then empties slowly through the small space formed by the band into the rest of the stomach before passing normally through the digestive system. These kinds of surgery restrict the amount of food a person can intake and the band can be adjusted depending on the rate of weight loss progress post-surgery. This procedure can also be reversed by removing the band: the stomach will then return to its original size as it will not have been surgically altered as with bypass surgery.
With a gastric bypass, a small pouch is made at the top of the stomach using a line of staples, effectively separating it completely from the lower section of the stomach. This small stomach pouch means that the intake of food is reduced, and any food consumed bypasses the rest of the stomach, resulting in fewer calories being absorbed. This malabsorption of food bypasses the area where most calcium, iron and B vitamin absorption takes place so lifelong vitamin and mineral supplements will be recommended.
Recovery from Bariatric or Weight loss Surgery
Expect the treatment area to be sore, with some bruising and swelling post-surgery. Weight loss surgery is a major operation which will require a considerable downtime – depending on the extent of your treatment, you should allow for 2-8 weeks of recovery time. As well as recovering externally from the surgical incisions, you will also only be able to eat liquidised food for a period of a few weeks whilst your stomach heals and readjusts.
Benefits of Weight loss surgery
Bariatric surgery is an invasive surgical procedure designed to reduce the ability of the body to consume large quantities of food, resulting in dramatic weight loss. The procedure can reshape and slim the entire body. The procedure can also reduce the risk of many obesity-related health problems including heart disease, type II diabetes, high blood pressure and osteoarthritis.
Types of Bariatric Surgery
The most common forms of restrictive surgery practiced in the UK are gastric bands, where the size of the stomach is restricted so that only small quantities of food can be eaten; and gastric bypass, where the stomach size is restricted by bypassing part of the digestive system so that food intake is restricted and only a limited number of calories are absorbed by the body.
Risks and Complications of Weight loss Surgery (Bariatric Surgery)
Expect to feel sore, bruised and swollen after bariatric surgery. After the operation, you may also experience problems as your body adjusts to your new digestive system; these include vomiting, diarrhoea, heartburn and occasionally vitamin deficiency. In general, those with more weight prior to any operation are at more risk so you may be advised to lose some weight before the procedure to reduce potential complications and increase accessibility of the area during surgery. Gastric band operations will also require you to attend one or two follow up sessions with your surgeon for band adjusting after the initial operation.
Cost of Weight loss surgery
Prices for private bariatric surgery can range from £5,000-£9,500 for a gastric band procedure to £8,000 – £15,000 for a gastric bypass procedure, depending on the complexity of surgery. You may also need to budget for the removal of excess skin left after the weight loss, so be prepared to pay for an additional £3,000-£6,000 of surgery.
Choosing a Bariatric Surgeon
It is important to select a reputable, experienced bariatric surgeon in order to maximise the results and minimise the possible risks and complications of a bariatric surgery procedure.