Obesity Surgeries and Obesity Weight Loss Treatment Overview
Obesity is one of the most prevalent causes of multiple diseases and conditions that afflict people in the United States today. Some people who are more than 100 pounds overweight may find it difficult to lose weight through traditional methods and look to weight-loss treatments and surgeries to provide the answer for long-term weight loss.
Common Weight Loss Treatment and Obesity Surgeries
Examples of Weight-Loss Treatments and Surgeries
Obesity and weight loss treatment and surgeries are generally only an option for people who are more than 100 pounds overweight. Most physicians will first suggest a wide variety of treatments such as behavior modification, dieting, and exercise. Sometimes, a doctor will prescribe medications. When these fail, surgery is an option for those who have not responded to such treatments and who are severely obese.
Surgical procedures are generally divided into three categories: malabsorption, restrictive, and mixed, or combination. The type of surgery any patient will undergo will depend on how much weight needs to be lost. Lap banding and gastric bypass (gastric bariatric surgery) are two of the most common surgeries.
Two common weight loss medication therapies involve the use of Sibutramine, also known as Meridia and Reductil. These drugs are appetite suppressants. Results of up to a 10% loss of initial body weight are usually visible within one year. Orlistat, also known as Xenical and the newer Alli are available without prescription in the United States. Using such medications, roughly 8-10% loss of initial body weight may be expected after a year. Ephedra is no longer available within the United States due to safety concerns regarding its use.
Bariatric Surgery is a catchall phrase for several different types of weight loss procedures and surgeries. Candidates for any type of bariatric weight-loss surgery should not expect it to work miracles, as patients are expected to engage and maintain strict eating habits, as well as developing new lifestyle habits and behaviors.
Restrictive bariatric weight loss surgery procedures are designed to generally reduce the size of the stomach and to limit the amount of food a person can eat at one sitting. Several common weight loss procedures are described below.
Lap banding -- Laparoscopic banding (LAGB) is a process through which a silicone band, much like a rubber band, is placed around the entrance to the stomach. One of the most popular choices of weight-loss procedures, patients undergoing this type of procedure can expect a 50 to 75% weight loss of 50 to 90 pounds after two years.
Vertical Banded Gastroplasty -- This procedure is commonly known as stomach stapling or VBG. Surgical staples are used to section off a small portion of the upper part of the stomach. The other side of this pouch is fitted with a band that slows the amount of time it takes for food to leave this pouch, which results in feelings of fullness after eating small amounts of food. Most patients who choose this type of procedure are generally able to lose roughly 50% of excess weight after a two-year time period.
Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy -- This type of procedure is generally performed on patients who have a body mass index over 50. It involves removing a portion of the stomach to create more of a sleeve rather than the pouch shape that the stomach has. This type of procedure offers less of weight loss expectancy after a typical two-year timeframe, and a person may anticipate losing between 30 and 35% of their initial body weight, or roughly 40 pounds.
Gastric Bypass surgery for obesity is a procedure that results in dividing the stomach to create a small pouch that is directly attached to the small intestine. This pouch can only hold 1 ounce of food, though it may stretch in time to allow a person to eat about a cup of food at a time. This type of procedure is considered the most drastic, although it contains the highest success rate with patients losing between 60 and 70% of excess body weight within a year.
Benefits of Obesity Surgeries and Weight-Loss Treatments
Weight-loss treatments and obesity surgeries and procedures are designed to reduce illness and death caused by obesity. For many, weight loss improves multiple conditions including high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and coronary artery disease. In addition, other body systems, including digestive, endocrine, and immune system benefit.
However, such procedures however require dedication and determination for those who undergo such procedures to maintain permanent lifestyle changes. After surgery, patients who follow instructions may enjoy as much as a 60% weight loss, improving health problems as an added benefit.
While weight-loss treatments and obesity surgeries and procedures are very expensive in the United States, and may range anywhere from $17,000-$30,000 per procedure, benefits in long-term health and quality of life often make such a choice not only necessary, but reasonable in the long run.
Choosing the Right Doctor
As with any other type of surgical procedure, patients should make sure that their surgeon is trained and belongs to a surgical or medical doctor association or organization in his or her country of origin. In addition, the surgeon performing any of the above procedures should be considered a bariatric surgeon and belong to a college or association of surgeons who specializes in gastric and bariatric procedures.
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