Bariatric Surgery: Types, Requirements, Risks, and Aftercare

The surgical procedure used to treat obesity is called bariatric surgery or weight loss surgery. These types of surgeries make some changes to the digestion system that help you lose weight. They either limit the amount of food you can eat, or reduce the nutrient absorption level, or both. These weight-loss surgeries are required when you are prone to serious health problems due to your weight.

Bariatric Surgery Requirements

Bariatric surgery is not for everyone. You must meet certain criteria to qualify for bariatric surgery such as:

  • Your efforts to lose weight through diet and exercise have failed.
  • Your BMI (body mass index) is 40 or higher.
  • Your BMI is 35 or more, but you have other serious health problems due to weight, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or severe sleep apnea.
  • You are a teenager going through puberty having a BMI of 35 or more, and serious health problems due to weight, such as type 2 diabetes, or severe sleep apnea.
  • In some cases you may be eligible if your BMI is 30 to 34, and you have a serious health problem related to weight.

Bariatric Surgery Types

The most common types of bariatric surgery are:

1. Gastric Bypass Surgery

In this procedure, the surgeon creates a small pouch at the top of the stomach. The pouch now receives the food which limits the amount you can eat or drink. Then, the surgeon cuts the small intestine below the main stomach and connects it to the pouch. Food is passed directly from the pouch into this area. Digestive juices are still created in the main part of the stomach.

The other end of the small intestine still connected to the main stomach is reattached further down which helps the digestive juices to flow into the small intestine. This allows less absorption of nutrients and calories as food is bypassed from a portion of the small intestine.

2. Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding

In this procedure, an inflatable band is placed at the top of your stomach. This creates a small pouch above the band, and the rest of the stomach will be below the band. The size of the opening the band creates between the pouch and the stomach determines when a person feels full.

The size of the opening is adjusted by injecting or removing fluid from the band. The fluid is injected through a port which is placed under your skin. This procedure does not help in reducing absorption of nutrients and calories; it restricts the amount of food the stomach can hold, thereby reducing hunger.

3. Sleeve Gastrectomy

In this procedure, 80% of the stomach is removed, leaving a tubular pouch that can hold a small amount of food. This produces less of the hormone that regulates appetite and hunger. However, this procedure has no effect on caloric and nutrient absorption in the intestines.

4. Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch

In this procedure, the surgeon removes a major portion of the stomach. The middle section of the small intestine is closed, and the last part of the intestine is attached to the duodenum. This is called the duodenal switch.

The separated section of intestine is then reattached to the end of the small intestine which allows bile and pancreatic digestive juices to flow into it. This is called the biliopancreatic diversion. As a large part of the small intestine is bypassed, this limits the absorption of nutrients and calories.

[Also Read – Spinal Stabilization Surgery: What Does It Involve?]

[Also Read – Major Surgery and Minor Surgery: What Are the Differences]

Bariatric Surgery Risks

Like any other surgical procedure, bariatric surgery also poses some health risks, both short-term and long-term.

Bariatric surgery short-term risks may include:

  • Anesthesia-related problems
  • Bleeding
  • Acid reflux
  • Infection
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Breathing or lung problems
  • Leaks in the gastrointestinal system
  • Blood clots
  • Obstruction of stomach
  • Dilation of esophagus
  • Death (rare)

Bariatric surgery long-term risks depend on the type of surgery. They may include:

  • Dumping syndrome which can cause dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Malnutrition
  • Low blood sugar
  • Hernias
  • Ulcers
  • Gallstones
  • Stomach perforation
  • Death (rare)

Bariatric Surgery Aftercare and Diet

Following your doctor’s recommendations in regards to diet and general lifestyle is important to ensure you are on the right path to losing weight.

  • For the first few days, you will be given clear liquids.
  • You are given pureed foods for the next few weeks.
  • After a few weeks of taking pureed foods, you are allowed soft foods.
  • After 6-8 weeks, you can take solid foods.
  • Eat small and frequent meals.
  • Create a diet plan to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need.
  • Eat more high-protein foods.
  • Avoid foods high in sugar and fat.
  • Follow the recommended exercise routine to keep the weight off.

If you are looking for more information on bariatric surgery in Anchorage, Alaska, contact Far North Surgery. Our surgeon Dr. Madhu Prasad has the experience and expertise to treat serious weight-related health problems. Call us at 907-276-3676 to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Madhu Prasad has over 30+ years of experience working as a general surgeon and surgical oncologist and providing the highest level of care in Anchorage, Alaska. He believes in providing quality care to patients and their families. Inspired by compassion and humanism, Dr. Prasad and his team work for the well-being of their patients. Click here to know more about him. 

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