Increasingly, obesity has become a significant concern in American life. For the first time in U. S. history, the average life expectancy appears to be in decline. Among most Americans, there is a growing realization of the need to control their weight, but many people find this difficult. For the morbidly obese, their situation is critical. bariatric surgery remains the best hope for most severely overweight people, and there are several bariatric surgery options available to them. These are not minor procedures though; bariatric surgery can produce uncomfortable, and sometimes, life-threatening side effects for some patients.
For bariatric surgery candidates, who meet certain criteria, the benefits of significant weight loss far outweigh the risks. Morbid obesity is a medical classification determined by a person's BMI, or Body Mass Index. Essentially, BMI is the ratio between a person's height to their overall weight. A BMI of 20 - 25 is optimal for most people, but if their BMI is 40 or higher, they are considered morbidly obese.
The following criteria determine if a person is a viable candidate for bariatric weight loss surgery:
The Patient's BMI is 40 or higher. If the patient suffers from any serious weight-related illnesses such as Diabetes Type 2, or high blood pressure, etc., then they may be considered a viable candidate even if their BMI is lower than 40.
Normal weight-loss efforts have proven ineffective.
If the patient's weight-related illnesses do not preclude bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery has become less invasive as new procedures are developed and approved. Currently, several different types of bariatric surgery are available to qualified candidates; Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass, Laparoscopic Duodenal Switch, Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy, and Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band. This is not just a case of limiting the physical size of the stomach, and reducing the body's ability to absorb nutrients. Some of these surgeries also create hormonal changes within the body that turn off the "hunger switch."
Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass surgery utilizes staples to bypass a large part of the stomach creating a small stomach pouch. The small intestine is attached to this smaller pouch, which bypasses the duodenum. Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Surgery is currently considered to be the most effective of the procedures.
Laparoscopic Duodenal Switch surgery also limits the size of the stomach, and reroutes the small intestine. This surgery is effective because the size of the stomach is reduced, and because of the hormonal effects that the surgery produces on the body.
Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band surgery involves placing an adjustable band around the top part of the stomach. This creates a smaller stomach pouch, which gives the patient a faster sense of fullness when eating. The main advantage of the Gastric Band is the fact that the band is adjustable, and the surgery is reversible.
Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy works on the same basic principle as Laparoscopic Gastric Band surgery. With Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy, a stapling device excises part of the stomach, but leaves the openings and intestines untouched, and the excised portion of the stomach is removed. As a result, this procedure is not reversible. The remaining section of the stomach is equivalent in size and shape to that of a banana.
Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy and Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band procedures are restrictive, but they do not reroute any of the intestinal system.
The success rates of all types of Bariatric surgery are greatly enhanced when they are combined with post-surgical behavior modification therapy and dietary education. These surgeries can be lifesaving, and will dramatically improve a patient's quality of life and their life expectancy.
Bariatric Surgery - The Best Weight Loss Surgery Options for