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Is The Surgery Final Cure For Obesity?

By Author: Sanjay Chawla
Total Articles: 4

Obese people try everything, from fad diets, workouts, fat burning pills, massage oil to green tea to lose weight. They are more likely to pile on more weight, leaving them more vulnerable to severe lifestyle diseases once the weight-loss measures stop. The weight loss is more than a physical challenge. It is a mental challenge that one often quickly loses the willpower to continue fighting.

Weight loss surgery comes to the rescue of people who have lost their will to fight against obesity. Bariatric surgery involves making changes to the digestive system and reducing the stomach size. It restricts the amount of food the stomach can hold and affecting absorption of nutrients. Most weight loss surgeries are minimally invasive. Each procedure has its own advantages and challenges. The most common Bariatric surgery procedures include –

1) Gastric Bypass
Also known as Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, the surgery involves creating a small stomach pouch of approximately one ounce in volume by dividing the top of the stomach. The small intestine is divided and its bottom end is routed to the small stomach pouch. The rest of the stomach remains functional and connected to the intestine.
Advantages

Aids in significant long-term weight loss
Reduced appetite with better digestion
Typical weight loss ranges from 50-80% of excess weight post surgery

Challenges

Can lead to vitamin and B12 deficiencies
Requires relatively longer stay in hospitals for post-surgical recovery

2) Sleeve Gastrectomy
The surgery involves removing 80% of the stomach, leaving behind a tubular pouch. The smaller stomach pouch can hold lesser food, thereby restricting the amount of calories consumed.
Advantages

Sleeve Gastrectomy is as effective as Gastric bypass in weight loss
It needs shorter hospital stay of 2-3 days post surgery
It curbs patient’s appetite restricting food intake

Challenges

It is a non-reversible procedure
Can lead to vitamin deficiencies

3) Adjustable Gastric Band (AGB)
AGB involves placing an inflatable band at the upper portion of the stomach. This creates a small stomach pouch over the inflatable band, resulting in feeling fullness with smaller meals.
Advantages

It doesn’t involve cutting of the stomach or rerouting the intestines.
The procedure is completely reversible.
It is effective in reducing 40-50% of excess weight.

Challenges

Slow pace of weight loss in early days.
Involves inserting a foreign device in the body.
Can result in mechanical complications with the band.

Bariatric Surgery in India is getting popular as it is effective in not just helping patients lose weight, but also enabling them to better manage obesity related diseases including cardiovascular issues, diabetes, thyroid and arthritis. It is increasingly becoming more accessible to the general public with reducing costs over the years. The actual cost may vary depending upon the surgery and medical conditions of the patient.

Bariatric surgery coupled with certain lifestyle changes can be effective in both – achieving the long term weight-loss as well as having an improved quality of life.

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