In order to really understand what bariatric weight loss surgery is, you have to understand firstly when it may be a necessity. Clinically speaking, obesity is a medical condition, whereby the amount of fat someone carries on their body is so significant that it starts to affect their health in a negative way. Once that happens, their average life expectancy is reduced. In these cases, someone may be offered a gastric balloon to help them avoid further problems. Without such intervention, people become more likely to develop problems like type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, and even certain forms of cancer.
What Causes Obesity?
Obesity can be caused by a variety of factors, and is often down to more than one factor at the same time. Some of the most common (but not only) factors include:
- Eating too many calories.
- Not moving enough.
- Having an endocrine disorder.
- Social determinants.
- Psychiatric conditions.
How to Lower Body Fat
The most important way to lower body fat is by eating less and moving more. Specifically, they should eat more fiber and less sugars and fat, as well as engaging in a proper exercise program. If this doesn’t work, people are usually prescribed anti-obesity drugs to reduce appetite and absorb fat. Unfortunately, there are situations where these methods also do not work, or if they would work and the patient already has certain health conditions, it wouldn’t work fast enough. In those cases, patients may be offered surgery instead.
The Working Principle for Bariatric Surgery
It is important to not see obesity surgery as a simple procedure just because it is performed regularly. It requires a team of highly trained professionals in state of the art facilities. Together, they will determine which type of surgery is most suitable for the patient (restrictive, malabsorptive, or combination). The goal is for the stomach to no longer be able to hold as much food, and/or for the digestive tract to not be able to absorb nutrients as much. Inevitably, this will lead to weight loss.
There are different ways for the surgery to be performed. Sometimes, open surgery is required, although this is avoided as much as possible. Most procedures are now laparoscopic, but in around 5% of cases, situations during the procedures mean that it has to be turned into open surgery regardless. Open surgery is far riskier, which is why surgeons will try to avoid it as much as possible. However, even laparoscopic surgery is not without risk. You must be properly prepared for the fact that this surgery is major surgery, whether performed open or laparoscopically, and that it will literally change every aspect of your life. You will look different, you will feel different, you will eat different things in different amounts, you will enjoy different activities, and so on. Proper preparation is key to this, so do listen to the advice of your surgeon and accept any referrals they give to other specialists.