Bariatric surgery (obesity surgery) is sometimes recommended for people who have a BMI of >40 or >35 if they have other medical complications. The surgery must be undertaken in conjunction with lifestyle changes. The surgery aims to reduce the amount of food (and hence calories) required to fill the person up, thereby inducing weight loss. It is becoming an increasingly popular choice for weight loss.
Laproscopic adjustable gastric band
This procedure involves inserting an inflatable band around the top of the stomach which makes a pouch. The pouch can only hold a small amount of food and when it fills up, messages are sent to the brain that the stomach is full. The band works to slow the entry of food in to the lower stomach. This results in earlier satiety and therefore smaller intakes.
In this procedure up to three quarters of the stomach is removed. This then reduces the amount of food the stomach needs to feel satiated. The hormone ghrelin is also reduced – this hormone makes us feel hungry. As a result, people who get a gastric sleeve will fill up from a much smaller amount of food. Unlike the gastric band, digestion is unchanged.
Roux-en-y gastric bypass
A small pouch is created at the top of the stomach which then completely bypasses the remainder of the stomach. This means that the gastrointestinal tract needs to be reconstructed and malabsorption of some nutrients occurs as a result. Weight loss results from a decrease in intake and also decrease in absorption.
How is the surgery performed?
The procedures above are done via keyhole surgery (laproscopically).
Life after bariatric surgery
People often think that having this type of surgery will solve many of their concerns. Bariatric surgery can definitely have its benefits but unfortunately it cannot tackle all issues.
The points below should be carefully considered prior to undergoing surgery.
- A healthy diet and lifestyle is still imperative to follow. You cannot start eating whatever you like but in smaller quantities – quality is essential.
- Bariatric surgery will not always solve psychological elements of overeating, emotional eating and self esteem.
- Lifelong vitamin supplements are often required due to the reduced intake of food and poorer rates of absorption in some cases.
- As with any surgery there are risks associated and the risk is raised when you are obese.
- The weight can be regained if you do not keep to a healthy lifestyle.
- Nausea and vomiting or dumping syndrome may be experienced post surgery.
Unfortunately lifestyle modification is one of the least successful modes of weight loss whereas bariatric surgery can be an effective way to lose excess weight. It is important to read the literature before making the decision to undergo a procedure and it is always better if you can make the changes through diet and exercise alone.
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist. If you have questions about healthy eating, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns. Contact us today!