If you are starting to think about weight loss surgery, you probably have many questions on your mind. You will no doubt want to know how much weight you will lose, what the risks are, which foods you can eat after surgery, how your health will improve, and what long-term results to expect. You're probably also wondering what type of surgery is most likely to work for you.
Having surgery is not something to be done without a lot of consideration. Shedding weight the natural way, through lifestyle change, is usually the best option. However if you have tried unsuccessfully for years to lose weight for any length of time and your health is suffering, it might be time to consider whether surgery is a viable option for you.
The least invasive form of surgery in popular use is gastric banding, which involves placing an inflatable band around the upper portion of the stomach, thereby creating a new smaller stomach pouch and also slowing the digestive process. This is a reversible procedure and is performed with minor incisions. Gastric sleeve surgery removes a large portion of the stomach, leaving it in a narrower tube or sleeve shape; it is also believed to reduce the amount of hunger-inducing hormones in the process.
Both of these procedures aim at causing you to have a sense of fullness much more quickly after meals as well as reducing appetite. Another technique is gastric bypass, by which parts of the stomach and small intestine are restructured in order to shrink the stomach but also to create an environment where less calories are absorbed.
How much weight will you lose? Many patients lose more than half of their excess weight after gastric banding and maintain that loss over a lengthy period. Weight loss in the 60-70% range is common with sleeve surgery and 70-80% after bypass surgery. Much of the weight is lost in the first year or two following surgery. Despite the lower average weight loss, gastric banding is the most popular - perhaps because the procedure is reversible and is usually considered safer than other procedures.
After surgery you will need to adjust to some major lifestyle changes in terms of diet and exercise. The surgery on its own is not the answer but can help make the process a lot easier. Immediately after surgery you will most likely be prescribed a liquid then a soft food diet, before going back onto solid food. It is important to also increase your level of exercise if your health professional recommends this. Most patients can expect to return to work within a few weeks after weight loss surgery.
As with all surgery there are risks involved. It is a radical step and is usually reserved for the morbidly obese person who has tried everything else first. If you are keen to lose weight and to look and feel better, why not take the first step and make an appointment with a professional to discuss weight loss surgery options?