Is Bariatric Surgery Safe To Do To Lose Significant Amount of Weight?

Updated on August 10, 2021

Bariatric surgery is a procedure that can induce significant weight loss, but many people are understandably concerned about the safety and efficacy of the procedure. There are several excellent benefits provided by bariatric surgery, but it isn’t without any risks.

The procedure is widely available worldwide and is usually reserved for severely-obese individuals who are not able to achieve desirable weight loss through any other means. Along with helping instigate weight loss, bariatric surgery is very effective in helping other serious health problems including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Bariatric surgery is a highly credible scientific procedure. If you want to learn more about it, consider visiting the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery website or exploring the Bariatric Journal for the latest expertise on the subject.

Types of Bariatric Surgery

The term bariatric surgery does not refer to a specific procedure, but a collection of surgeries and measures used to treat obesity. However, all of these procedures are alike in that they restrict the quantity of food your stomach is able to contain, helping in diminishing feelings of hunger and enable individuals to cut down on their daily caloric intake. 

1. Gastric Bypass

The gastric bypass procedure is one of the most common bariatric surgeries performed, and has the highest rate of long-term weight loss at 60 to 80 percent of excess body weight lost. Firstly, a small pouch is created in the stomach; after this, the small intestine is connected to this pouch which allows food to bypass the stomach.

This procedure can be more difficult to perform as compared to the alternative methods, due to the technical complexity of the operation. The length of hospital aftercare can also be longer than other procedures as your body adapts to the surgery. 

However, the higher level of weight loss this method can bring about makes it a risk worth taking for many. The level of complications associated with this procedure is at about 5%, which is slightly higher than other procedures that linger around the 3% mark.

2. Adjustable Gastric Band

Another popular surgery, the adjustable gastric band procedure, involves placing an inflatable band around the top of the stomach. This creates a small stomach pouch in the upper stomach which increases feelings of fullness. The surgery is reversible, meaning that the band can eventually be removed when the desired level of weight loss has been achieved.

This procedure isn’t as powerful as the gastric bypass but is easier to perform. Patients will require less aftercare and are often free to go home within 24 hours. Rates of early complications with this procedure are very low, and the risk of nutritional deficiencies is also much smaller. However, the placement of the band can be tricky as it won’t always stay in place, so the adjustable gastric band procedure has the highest level of re-operation to correct the placement.

3. Sleeve Gastrectomy

The sleeve gastrectomy method, sometimes referred to as the sleeve, involves the removal of around 80 percent of the stomach. This method can bring out quick weight loss similar to the gastric bypass, but with a few more benefits including shorter hospital stays and a favorable impact on digestive hormones to reduce hunger. 

One risk of this operation is the increased level of early complications, although the medium-to-long term risks are slightly lower than the gastric bypass procedure. One thing to keep in mind about the sleeve gastrectomy surgery is that it’s irreversible, so the decision to undergo the surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly.

4. Duodenal Switch

This procedure is touted as the most powerful weight loss surgery, and is purportedly the most effective surgery for treating diabetes. This operation involves a combination of the sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass procedures, but accounts for only around 2% of bariatric surgeries due to the risks involved.

More alterations are done to your digestive system in this procedure, increasing the risk of complications. When considering the duodenal switch surgery, it’s advisable to consider only the very best surgeons due to the potential complications. The procedure is usually conducted only for those with the most severe weight issues.

How Safe is Bariatric Surgery?

The risk rate of bariatric surgery is relatively low and goes down even more when you opt for an experienced surgeon. While the safety of the surgery itself is in the surgeon’s hand, your lifestyle choices post-surgery will play a key role in determining the overall success of the operation. Once you’ve undergone bariatric surgery, staying healthy and keeping the weight off is key to preventing complications occurring. This involves sticking to a healthy diet plan and getting plenty of exercise to keep your body fighting fit.

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