Bariatric Surgery Overview
Bariatric surgery initiates and encourages weight-loss by restricting the amount of food that is absorbed into the body. The term 'bariatric' refers to the field of obesity and weight loss. Bariatric surgery is not considered a quick fix, and patients who undergo this process are required to make a lifelong commitment to healthy eating habits and regular physical activity.
Who Benefits from Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery addresses severe obesity that is difficult to treat through diet and exercise. Generally, bariatric surgery is reserved for people who suffer from obesity related health problems, or those who have difficulty losing weight through traditional methods and are at high risk for complications. Bariatric surgical procedure restricts food intake, and is used in conjunction with a healthy and nutritious diet plan and regular physical exercise and activity.
Types Of Bariatric Surgery
Four types of bariatric surgery procedures are fairly common throughout the United States, and each comes with its own benefits. The physician will help a potential candidate consider which procedure is optimal for their condition and may include factors such as eating behaviors, health, body mass index, and other medical conditions that are affected by massive weight gain.
Bariatric surgery may be performed through an open (incision) or laparoscopic approach. Open approaches require incisions in the abdomen. Laparoscopic instruments are utilized through very small incisions, most 1/2" in length, and utilize a camera that sends images to a television monitor. Today, most bariatric surgical procedures are performed laparoscopically in order to reduce complications, tissue damage, and encourage earlier discharge from hospital environments.
Adjustable gastric band (AGB)
decreases food intake through the use of a band that is placed around the top of the stomach to create a pouch about the size of an adult thumb. A balloon inside the band controls the outlet of this pouch that encourages or restricts intake into the digestive tract.
The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass
technique actually reduces the amount of food that is absorbed in the digestive tract. This procedure routes food to pass directly from a small pouch that is created for food intake directly into the small intestine, bypassing much of the stomach, duodenum, and upper intestine.
A gastric sleeve (GS)
procedure is generally performed for patients who have a high risk of complications due to medical conditions and massive body weight. This procedure restricts food intake by removing much of the stomach.
A biliopancreatic bypass
with the duodenal switch is a procedure that is quite complex and involves the removal of the lower part of the stomach. A small pouch remains that is directly attached to the small intestine. While this procedure does promote optimal weight loss, it does carry complications because of the decreased absorption of minerals, vitamins, as well as food in the body.
Consumers must be aware that any bariatric surgery or bypass procedures carry some risks of infection, bleeding, and blood clots. Patients are also advised to maintain adequate intake of vitamins and minerals to avoid health risks. Patients are also advised to maintain proper and nutritionally balanced small portion meals, often limited to a few ounces at a time.
Is Bariatric Surgery for You?
Bariatric surgery is typically recommended for severely obese individuals who have been unable to lose weight through normal dieting and exercise programs. Also recommended for obese related disease processes, bariatric surgery is often a last ditch effort and requires serious consideration. Surgical procedures and techniques require extreme effort on the part of the patient to change eating and lifestyle habits for optimal results. Many bariatric surgery patients who undergo bariatric surgery also seek the help of therapists and nutritionists for optimal benefits throughout the bariatric surgery procedure.
Surgeons who are experienced in weight management, obesity and weight control, and subspecialties that utilize advanced laparoscopic surgery and procedures generally perform bariatric surgery. In the United States, such as surgeon may be registered with the American Society of Bariatric Surgeons. Surgeons in other countries are likewise required to maintain adequate certification and experience in bariatric surgical procedures.
How Much Does It Cost?
In the United States, bariatric surgery cost may range from $20,000-$25,000. In some cases, health insurance companies will cover the costs of such procedures, but many do not. In India, procedures cost roughly $6,000 to $8,000. Low cost bariatric surgery in Mexico, Costa Rica, and South American locations save consumers 60 to 70%. As always, careful research is recommended for any individuals seeking bariatric weight loss surgery regardless of location.
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