Bariatric surgery can be an extremely positive experience for your body. As you know, bariatric surgery involves getting you a smaller stomach through surgery toward your weight-loss goal. Most people who have this type of surgery feel better afterwards. It’s also one of the most successful weight-loss surgeries available today. If you’re considering undergoing Bariatric surgery, you should probably get ready as your hospital team will also have many questions for you. So ensure you have all the answers beforehand so there are no last-minute hiccups during your surgery.
What is Bariatric Surgery?
Obesity is a leading risk factor for diabetes and heart disease. There is no treatment for obesity that is predictive and consistent with results except for bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery is a medical procedure used to help people with obesity lose weight by reducing the size of the stomach and the intestines. Such reduction and resizing of the stomach can help the patient feel full after eating smaller portions of food. This ensures fewer calories go into the body, thus enabling losing weight much faster.
Who should go for Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery may be suitable –
- For a person who is morbidly obese (meaning the said patient is very overweight and at high risk of developing other health problems, such as diabetes or heart disease). Bariatric surgery candidates are generally either overweight than 500 pounds or obese with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher.
- To someone who is unable to reduce weight through exercise and diet control.
- In cases where it is safe, look at the patient’s medical condition.
- Where the obesity-related health issues are life-threatening and need immediate addressing
One should also be ready to commit to the lifestyle change that comes with Bariatric surgery.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Bariatric Surgery
There are many benefits to undergoing bariatric surgery. First, you will likely feel better about yourself. You’ll also have more confidence and feel more in control of your life. And Bariatric surgery can help you lose weight much faster than dieting alone. Bariatric surgery can also help you avoid other weight-loss methods that may be unsafe or ineffective. That’s because Bariatric surgery is the only type of weight-loss surgery proven to work long-term. You may be wondering if there are any disadvantages to undergoing bariatric surgery. However, studies show very few disadvantages to this surgery.
Like any other surgical procedure, Bariatric surgery too has associated risks. The related risks or side effects could be infection, vomiting, stomach obstruction, inability to eat a specific food, failing to lose weight, and risks related to anaesthesia or acid reflux.
How and Why is Bariatric Surgery Performed?
Weight reduction is generally obtained through two types of Bariatric surgery — Restrictive and Malabsorptive — each with its advantages and disadvantages or a combination of both. In Restrictive surgery, the surgeon removes a section of your stomach larger than the average amount. This will reduce the amount of food you can eat at one time. In Malabsorptive surgery, the surgeon removes some of your small intestine — which means one will not be able to eat food with high sugar content, such as bread, fruit and sugar-sweetened beverages. These bariatric surgeries are slightly different and are generally chosen based on the person’s lifestyle.
- Restrictive Surgery aims at reducing the intake of food by reducing the size of the stomach
- Malabsorptive Surgery aims at reducing the absorption of nutrients by the body by resizing the small intestine.
The various types of Bariatric Surgeries include-
- Sleeve gastrectomy is a surgery where the portion of a stomach is removed along a greater curvature. The remaining portion of the stomach is a banana-shaped stomach.
- Gastric Bypass Surgery- It is also known as Roux-en-Y. Here a portion of a stomach is created like a small pouch and directly connected to the small intestine.
- Intragastric Air Balloon- A saline-filled silicone balloon is placed in the stomach through the endoscopic route.
- Endoscopic Gastroplasty- Using an endoscope, the suturing device sutures the stomach reducing its shape and size to that of a tube.
- Metabolic Surgery – This surgery specifically addresses diabetes and metabolic dysfunctions, which have stopped responding to any lifestyle or medication changes as opposed to obesity per se.
- Biliopancreatic diversion– Also known as Duodenal Switch, this is a type of surgery where the food bypasses some part of the small intestine. This can be considered both a malabsorptive and restrictive type of surgery.
Preparation and Procedure of Bariatric Surgery
Before surgery, you should probably be completely ready for the change. It is a holistic approach and assessment by an inter-professional team of stakeholders. There will be a nutritional evaluation, psychological evaluation, a weight loss plan, and medical clearance from the concerned departments, including the anaesthetic one.
- Start by researching the procedure carefully. Ask your doctor if they have had this surgery before and the expected recovery time. Make sure you talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of the procedure.
- Keep your expectations realistic – you will not wake up lean the day after surgery.
- Rally for all kinds of support; you cannot do this surgery alone. Have someone from your family come in as your caregiver. Join an online support group.
- Review your resources – medical assistance, nutrition guidance, exercise regime.
- Identify and understand the risks of food cravings and addictions and seek medical help before the surgery.
- Be ready for lifestyle changes in your daily life, such as taking it easy at work or not drinking liquids for 12 hours before bed.
Before surgery, you will have a pre-op appointment where you can ask your doctor any questions about the procedure, the procedure itself and what you will experience during your surgery. During this appointment, you and your doctor can review your diet and medications, if any. You may also want to ask about what you should do in the days before your surgery and what you can do to get yourself ready for surgery. And if you are undergoing pre-op testing, such as a blood test or an EKG, ensure you have all the results when you arrive at the hospital. Finally, if you have any pre-operative medications, bring them with you.
Procedure of Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric Surgery could be either an Open Surgery or Laparoscopic Surgery. Most of the weight loss surgeries are done laparoscopically unless the patient is highly obese, has undergone any stomach surgery previously, or has other health complications.
Depending upon the need of the patient the surgeon will perform either Restrictive or Malabsoptive Surgery. The surgery will be done under general anesthesia.
With Bariatric surgery, you can bypass the struggle of weight loss journeys not yielding results. The patient will get hospitalised for a day or two. In that time, the surgeon will make several small incisions in the abdomen and then insert a port so that the patient can get medication and fluids intravenously. Post-surgery, the patient will probably be free to go home. However, the patient may need to take it easy for a few days.
Comply With Your Post-Op Diet and Restrict your Food Choices
Post your Bariatric surgery, and your diet will be restricted once you return home. You will be able to eat only a tiny amount of food and nothing high in sugar. Your diet will consist of either clear liquids or thick, bland blended food. You will only be able to drink fluids with a straw or a cup with a lid. You will not be able to cook or eat anything that has sugar added to it. You must follow these rules the entire time you are on a post-op diet. If you need to eat something that has sugar, you are allowed to have fruit or honey. However, these are the only foods you can eat on your post-op diet. It is important to note that you will be allowed to eat only minimal food. Eating smaller portions throughout the day is better than eating a large meal in one sitting.
Stay Safe and Keep Track of When to Return to Normal Life
It is important to keep yourself safe during your recovery. Make sure you do not fall, get hurt, or go near any dangerous activity. It is also vital to track when it is safe to return to work or school. You should also ensure enough rest, especially during the first few weeks after surgery. It is also important that you drink plenty of fluids.
1. Do we have to lose weight before bariatric surgery?
Answer – Yes, Some patients are asked to lose 10 percent of their weight before their weight loss surgery to avoid complications.
2. How long is the preparation for bariatric surgery?
Answer – The entire process from preparation to surgery involves an inter-professional team of stakeholders who will evaluate the patient on multiple aspects, which can be up to six months.
3. What is the preparation for bariatric surgery?
Answer – The preparation is a holistic approach and assessment by an inter-professional team of stakeholders. There will be a nutritional evaluation, psychological evaluation, a weight loss plan, and medical clearance from the concerned departments, including the anesthetic one.
4. Who cannot undergo bariatric surgery?
Answer – Those with BMI below 35 cannot undergo bariatric surgery.
5. What foods to avoid after bariatric surgery?
Answer – All forms of red meat, high fat, and greasy food, spicy and seasoned food, processed food, alcohol, sugars, and sweets.
6. What are the risks of bariatric surgery?
Answer – The risks are infection, blood clots, failure to lose weight, chronic nausea and vomiting, acid reflux, allergy to certain foods, etc.