A Guide to Bariatric Surgery – What You Can Expect

A gastric bypass is said to be the most advanced type of bariatric surgery. It has shown excess long term weight loss of more than 70% within 15 years of having completed the surgery. Additionally, the reduction in obesity related illness is also very significant.

Who Can Have the Surgery?

A gastric bypass is most suitable for people who have a BMI of above 35kg per square meter and associated obesity illnesses. Alternatively, those who have a BMI of above 40kg per square meter are also ideal candidates, whether they have any associated illnesses or not. Candidates should also be between 18 and 65 years old, although some treatment options for teens now also exist. It is very important to find more information about bariatric surgery and understand the ins and outs, the risks and how your own behavior must change in order for it to be successful.

The Surgical Procedure

With a gastric bypass, the top part of the stomach is turned into a very small pouch, thereby leaving you with very little room to fill with food. This pouch connects directly to the small intestine, thereby basically bypassing the stomach and its digestive enzymes.

You will usually be placed under general anesthesia for the procedure, even though it is completed laparoscopically. Because of the keyhole surgery method, you will not be left with extensive scar tissue. Additionally, it means that the risk of complications, blood loss and infection is greatly reduced. Usually, the procedure itself takes between an hour and half and two hours to complete, and you may have to remain in hospital for three to four days.

How Does it Work?

Essentially, the surgery forces extreme food restriction, as well as malabsorption. The result is very quick and sustainable weight loss. When food gets in direct contact with the small intestine, hormones are released telling the pancreas to create more insulin. Hence, more glucose is taken up in the body, the metabolic rate is increased, and any stored fat in the body is burned. Hence, body weight reduces and obesity related illnesses go in remission.

The Diet

It is important to understand that having this surgery completed means an extreme life changing. The first few days or weeks after the surgery, you will only be allowed to consume clear liquids. Gradually, you will move on to mashed and finally solid food. You will have to eat small meals about six times per day in order to make sure you get sufficient nutrients. Usually, you will also have to take vitamin and mineral supplementation for the rest of your life.

How Much Weight Can You Lose?

Statistics show that within one to two years of surgery, you can lose between 70% and 90% of your excess weight. You must maintain this, of course. Unfortunately, there are some cases where the surgery fails due to the unhealthy relationship people have with food. If you are unable to stick to the restrictive diet that comes with this surgery, it will not be successful.

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