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Types of Surgery

When fad diets and conventional exercise programs just don’t cut it, often the best alternative is bariatric surgery. Severe obesity is a chronic condition that is difficult to treat through diet and exercise alone. Bariatric surgery promotes weight loss by restricting food intake and, in some operations, interrupting the digestive process.

People who may consider bariatric or gastrointestinal surgery include those with a body mass index (BMI) above 40—about 100 pounds of overweight for men and 80 pounds for women. People with a BMI between 35 and 40 who suffer from type 2 diabetes or life-threatening cardiopulmonary problems such as obesity-related heart disease may also be candidates for surgery.

The concept of bariatric surgery for morbid obesity grew out of results of operations for cancer or severe ulcers that removed large portions of the stomach or small intestine. Because patients undergoing these procedures tended to lose weight after surgery, some physicians began to use such operations to treat severe obesity.

The first operation that was widely used for severe obesity was the intestinal bypass. The first bariatric procedure to be preceded by animal studies and subsequently presented to a recognized surgical society and published in a peer reviewed journal was that of Kremen and associates in 1954. The procedure caused weight loss through malabsorption. The idea was that patients could eat large amounts of food, which would be poorly digested or passed along too fast for the body to absorb many calories.

Bariatric surgery alters the digestive process. The operations promote weight loss by closing off parts of the stomach to make it smaller. Operations that only reduce stomach size are known as ”restrictive operations” because they restrict the amount of food the stomach can hold.

Some operations combine stomach restriction with a partial bypass of the small intestine. These procedures create a direct connection from the stomach to the lower segment of the small intestine, literally bypassing portions of the digestive tract that absorb calories and nutrients.

There are a few types of bariatric surgery commonly practiced today. More specifically, there are eight surgical methods available, although depending on your medical history and your current medical condition only a few (if any) will be best suited for you.

The eight recognized types of bariatric surgery include: the Laproscopic bariatric surgery, the Bariatric bypass surgery, the Roux-en-y (RNY), the Duodenal Switch (DS), the Biliopancreatic Diversion (BD), the Vertical Banded Gastroplasty (VBG), the Sapala-Wood Micropuch, and Adjustable Gastric Banding (AGB).

Each of these procedures has its pros and cons, but it is up to you and your bariatric physician to decide what procedure is best for you.

For instance, laparoscopic surgery involves making five 1/2- inch incisions and performing the operation by observation through a small camera. The Roux-en-y (banding of the small intestine), and Adjustable Gastric Banding (banding of the small intestine via an adjustable band) are two other procedures that fall under laparoscopic surgery. The Vertical Banded Gastroplasty was one of the first kinds of bariatric surgical procedures and is very similar to the Rouz-en-y procedure.

Another procedure is the Biliopancreatic Diversion. Typically, biliopancreatic diversion involves a division of the stomach, limiting the amount of food brought in. Similarly, bariatric bypass surgery involves removing part of the stomach and bypassing much of the small intestine. The Duodenal Switch is like a cross-between a biliopancreatic and gastric stapling procedure (like the Roux-en-y).

The eight types of bariatric surgery listed will help you and your bariatric physician decide which procedure is best for you based on your medical history and current medical profile. Each bariatric surgical procedure has been praised by its own merits and offers many advantages but also several potential disadvantages I fthe wrong person chooses the wrong procedure. Please consult your physician for more advice.

Today, more than 1 in every 3 people in the United States is obese. Obese patients are at increased risk of developing illnesses as well as death. Morbidly obese patients have been shown to have a 12 times reduction in life expectancy. For the people who can’t afford to waste time and money on fad diets and exercise programs that just don’t work, bariatric surgery is the leading alternative when your health and well-being are at risk.

With the right planning and preparation, bariatric surgery will give you back the life you deserve.