Weight loss surgery is an effective and long-term weight loss option for anyone struggling with obesity or suffering from obesity-related diseases. Unlike more typical approaches to weight loss, like diet, exercise and medications, weight loss surgery changes how your body actually responds to food. By physically changing your body and the way it processes food, weight loss surgery promotes rapid weight loss and lasting results.
Who is Weight Loss Surgery for?
Weight loss surgery may be an option for you if:
- Your body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher. This indicates extreme obesity.
- Your BMI is 35 to 39.9 and you have health complications due to your weight such as type 2 diabetes or hypertension.
- In some cases, you may qualify for certain weight loss surgeries if your BMI is 30-35 and you have serious weight-related health issues.
How does Weight Loss Surgery Work?
There are three types of procedures when it comes to weight loss surgeries: malabsorption procedures, restrictive procedures and procedures that utilize a combination of the two. Malabsorption procedures affect the way your body absorbs and digests nutrients and calories from the food you consume, whereas restrictive procedures limit the size of the stomach and the amount of food that can be consumed.
By reducing the size of your stomach and altering your digestive process, weight loss surgeries dramatically change the way your body naturally responds to food. This leads to relatively rapid weight loss.
What Are the Types of Weight Loss Surgery?
There are several options when it comes to weight loss surgery. Three common surgery options are:
- Gastric Band Surgery. This is a restrictive surgery in which Dr. Choi places an adjustable band around the upper portion of your stomach. The band can be adjusted by the inclusion or release of saline through a small port that lies under your skin. The band creates a small stomach pouch that is connected to the rest of the stomach through a small channel where the band sits. This limits the amount of food you can consume.
- Gastric Bypass Surgery. This is a restrictive and malabsorptive procedure in which a small portion of the stomach is sealed off from the rest, and the small intestine is split so that half of it reconnects to the new stomach pouch. This causes your food to bypass most of your stomach and the first part of your small intestine; food instead goes directly to the middle of your small intestine. This not only limits the amount of food you can consume with your smaller stomach pouch, but also limits nutrient and calorie absorption.
- Sleeve Gastrectomy. This is a restrictive surgery that limits the amount of food you can consume by reducing the size of the stomach completely. A large portion of the stomach is removed during this procedure, leaving it shaped like a sleeve or a tube. This procedure is not reversible.
Health Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery
The largest benefit from weight loss surgery is losing excess weight. However, weight loss surgery is also beneficial due to decreasing your risk for a number of serious obesity-related health conditions, such as:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep apnea
- Metabolic syndrome
Weight loss surgery can also help improve your quality of life, making it easier to practice healthy lifestyle habits like daily physical activity.
Possible Complications of Weight Loss Surgery
Although there are numerous benefits to be gained from weight loss surgery, there are always possible risks when it comes to surgery. These complications are rare but may include:
- Internal bleeding
- Blood clots
- Bowel obstruction
- Dumping syndrome (diarrhea, nausea or vomiting)
Is Weight Loss Surgery the Right Option?
Weight loss surgery can be a positive and effective experience for someone who is obese, or overweight and suffering from obesity-related disorders. However, it is not a “quick-fix” and does require dietary limitations, lifestyle changes and behavior modifications to ensure lasting results and overall health. Weight loss surgery can be a catalyst to get you on the right path for wellness and health. Dr. Choi is an experienced and professional bariatric surgeon who will provide you with safe and efficient care before and after your surgery.