The first, important step in making a decision about weight loss surgery is to understand the options available, along with the potential benefits and risks.
Surgery is appropriate for selected patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or greater, or a BMI of 35 – 40 for patients with obesity-related medical conditions. Candidates for weight loss surgery should have evidence of previous, unsuccessful attempts at non-surgical treatment for obesity. They should also demonstrate a commitment to follow-up care, including a clear understanding of the dietary, exercise and medical guidelines required following surgery and throughout the rest of their lives.
Types of Weight Loss Surgery
The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) divides weight loss procedures into three basic categories:
Malabsorptive procedures alter the digestive system to reduce the size of the stomach and bypass part of the intestine so food passes more quickly and the body absorbs fewer calories.
Restrictive procedures make the stomach smaller to limit the amount of food intake and to produce a sense of fullness after small meals.
Combined procedures take advantage of both restrictive and malabsorptive principles.
At the Florida Bariatric Centers, we offer three basic types of weight loss surgery: the Adjustable Gastric Band Procedure, the Roux-en-y Gastric Bypass surgery, and the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. Revisional weight loss surgery is a surgical procedure that is performed on patients who have already undergone a form of bariatric surgery, and have either had complications from such surgery or have not successfully achieved significant weight loss results from the initial surgery. The Florida Bariatric Centers also offers the Orbera Balloon, a non-surgical weight loss option.
Benefits and Risks
Successful surgical weight loss can improve the quality of a patient’s life. It can lead to long-term weight control and reduce the health-related risks of morbid obesity, including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, sleep apnea, and many other medical conditions. Many patients feel more energetic after surgery and their initial weight loss, which enables a more active lifestyle. Many patients also report an improved self-image and greater confidence after successfully achieving their desired weight loss.
All types of weight loss surgery are considered major operative procedures, and all surgeries carry the risk of complications. The risk for surgery in the obese patient is significantly greater than for the general population. Some of the risks associated with weight loss surgery include, pulmonary complications due to the stress of excess weight on the chest and lung cavities, blood clots, leaks or perforations of the stomach, and infections. In rare cases, the risks and complications can be fatal.
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