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Bariatric Surgery: Effective way to lose weight

Severe obesity in a person is very difficult to treat, merely with a diet and exercise plan. This chronic condition can lead to serious health problems if not treated effectively. The Bariatric surgery is a restrictive procedure that aims to curb the amount of food that a person intakes.

The theory behind this surgery is quite simple- the restriction in the stomach created through the operation makes you feel satiated by consuming only a small amount of food. Some surgeries also control the digestion, thus preventing certain vitamins from being absorbed by the body. As a result bariatric surgery reduces the daily intake of calories without making one feel deprived of food.

This surgery can prevent health problems that can arise as a result of being overweight, especially type 2 diabetes.

When do you need surgery?

Body mass index (BMI) is an effective way to measure a person’s obesity level. When the BMI of an adult or child shoots beyond the range of 35-40, a weight loss surgery may be opted for. Research has shown that between the years 1996 and 2003, 2700 youngsters underwent a weight loss surgery.

Bariatric surgery involves two procedures:

1. Restrictive procedure, which uses the Lap Gastric Band to contain the stomach
2. Combined Procedure, which includes Roux -En- Y Gastric Bypass

The restrictive bariatric surgery requires a laparoscopy, through which a Silastic band is implanted around the stomach. It is used to section off a tiny segment of the stomach, which is called the stomach pouch. This creates an hourglass effect. A small opening, the size of a pencil eraser is made at the end of the stomach pouch, which allows the digested food to pass through.

The combined surgery effectively alters digestion and is termed as mal-absorptive procedure. Through this procedure the length of the intestine is reduced, so that its contact with food becomes less, thus a smaller number of calories are absorbed. The pencil eraser size hole in the stomach pouch allows digested food to enter directly into the jejunum, which is also called the Roux limb. This efficiently eliminates the duodenum and a small part of the jejunum from playing a role in digestion.

Risks involved:

  • The duodenum plays an important role in the absorption of iron and also calcium in the body. If the role of the duodenum is eliminated this may affect the total content of iron and calcium in the body, which may lead to anaemia.
  • A bariatric surgery may lead to the deficiency of Vitamin B12, this problem can be controlled with the help of pills or injections.
  • One of the more severe outcomes of a bariatric surgery is the setting of metabolic bone disease, which results in paining of the bones or excessive loss of weight. It may lead to weakening of the bones, leading to fractures.
    It may also lead to a condition called the “Dumping Syndrome” which causes unpleasant nausea, excessive sweating and dizziness.
  • The side effects of bariatric surgery can be easily managed with a balanced diet, complemented by exercise and vitamin supplements.

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