From Doubt To Decision: Is Weight Loss Surgery My Best Bet?

Weight gain is hitting epidemic proportions worldwide, with countless folks wrestling to shed pounds and amp up their well-being. If conventional methods like dieting, workouts, and lifestyle shifts haven’t paid off, going under the knife for weight loss surgery (WLS) might be on the cards. But, it’s crucial to weigh up if this is truly the best route for you.

This article will plunge into the wide spectrum of metabolic and bariatric surgeries out there, weighing their ups and downs, and help you determine if it’s the right match for your situation.

Types of Obesity Surgery

Various forms of weight loss surgeries, commonly referred to as bariatric surgery, exist. They’re geared towards assisting folks in shedding pounds by tweaking their digestive tracks. Small cameras and thin instruments are currently used in minimally invasive intestinal incisions. Clinics such as Tonic Weight Loss Surgery will be able to help you understand the different options, but the most common types of surgery include:

Gastric bypass

In this method, a mini pouch is fashioned at the stomach’s apex, while part of the small intestine gets sidestepped. This setup curtails both food intake and nutrient soak-up, ultimately leading to weight shedding.

Sleeve gastrectomy

A sleeve gastrectomy removes a large part of the stomach, leaving a smaller, banana-shaped “sleeve” that limits the amount of food consumed.

Adjustable gastric banding

This operation involves placing a band around the top of the stomach, creating a small pouch, and restricting the amount of food consumed. The band can be adjusted to control the rate of weight loss.

Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD/DS)

This procedure involves removing a portion of the stomach and rerouting the small intestine to create two pathways for food and digestive juices. This results in a smaller stomach pouch and reduced absorption of calories and nutrients, leading to weight loss.

Intragastric balloon

In this option, a deflated balloon is placed into the stomach endoscopically and then filled with saline to create a feeling of fullness, limiting the amount of food consumed. The balloon is typically removed after a few months.

Revisional surgery

This type of surgery is performed on individuals who have previously undergone surgery for weight loss but may require additional surgical intervention due to complications, inadequate weight loss, or weight regain. Revision surgery may involve modifying or revising a previous weight loss procedure or converting one type of surgery to another.

Comparison of different surgeries:

Surgery TypeGastric SleeveGastric BypassMini BypassLAP-BANDDuodenal Switch
Stomach Alterations80% removed (1 to 3 ounces)small pouch (stoma)small sleeve shape pouchstomach size is reduced75% removed like gastric sleeve
Changes to Intestinesno changessmall intestine is bypassedsmall intestine is bypassedno changeslast several feet of small intestine is switched
Average Hospital Stay2 days2 to 3 days2 to 3 days1 day2 to 3 days
Operating Time1 to 2 hours2.5 hours2.5 hours1 to 2 hours3 to 4 hours
Recovery Time3 weeks6 weeks6 weeks2 weeks8 weeks
Advantagesno change to anatomy
high weight loss
high weight loss
helps with comorbidities
high weight loss
helps with comorbidities
reversiblevery high weight loss
helps with comorbidities
Disadvantagesnon-reversibledumping syndromedumping syndromecomplications with the bandfrequent bowel movement
Expectations60% to 70% EWL in 1-2 years after surgery70% to 80% EWL in 2 years after the surgery70% to 80% EWL in 1 year after surgery40% to 50% EWL75% to 85% EWL in 1 year after surgery
Success Rate85% to 95%80% to 90%85% to 90%40% to 50%85% to 95%
Post-surgery Diet4 Stages Post-Op Diet4 Stages Post-Op Diet4 Stages Post-Op DietFollow a Liquid Diet for 3 weeks then slowly add solid foods4 Stages Post-Op Diet
Time Off Work1-2 weeks2 to 3 weeks2 to 3 weeks1 week3 weeks

Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery

Bariatric surgery can have several benefits, including:

Significant weight loss: Surgery can aid folks in shedding substantial weight, which in turn uplifts their general health while slashing the odds of obesity-tied issues like diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea.

Improved quality of life: Shedding pounds can bolster movement, ease joint aches, boost self-confidence, and generally enhance your life’s quality.

Long-term weight maintenance: Stepping away from usual diet routines, bariatric surgery offers lasting weight control, paving the way for enduring weight loss outcomes.

Resolution of obesity-related conditions: Bariatric surgery has proven to work wonders in mitigating or enhancing obesity-associated issues like diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea, thereby promoting improved health results.

Risks and Considerations: This operation isn’t a walk in the park and brings its share of risks:

Surgery risks: Like any operation, it’s not devoid of hazards such as infection, bleeding, and anesthesia-linked issues.

Nutrient shortfalls: Post-surgery, folks might need vitamin and mineral boosters to ward off nutrient deficiencies caused by diminished food consumption and absorption.

Lifestyle changes: It demands substantial lifestyle shifts post-surgery, encompassing diet limits, routine workouts, and consistent medical check-ins to guarantee triumph.

Emotional and mental health: The operation can stir emotional and mental ripples, involving shifts in body perception, relationships, and coping strategies. Psychological aid might be key in handling these transitions.

Is Bariatric Surgery Right for Me?

Deciding whether this surgery fits your bill demands serious mulling over and professional healthcare advice. Keep these factors in mind:

BMI and health status: The operation is typically suggested for folks with a BMI of 40 or above, or a BMI of 35 and above with obesity-tied health woes. Your overall health, including obesity-related issues, also needs thought.

Previous weight loss efforts: If diet and exercise regimens have let you down, weight loss surgery might be worth a shot.

Commitment to lifestyle changes: Keyhole surgery needs substantial life adjustments, from diet to exercise routines, and routine health check-ups. It’s vital to measure your readiness and dedication to these changes before opting for surgery.

Risk and benefit assessment: Balancing the risks and benefits of surgery is key. Comparing potential dangers like operation mishaps and nutrient shortages with potential wins like substantial weight loss, enhanced health, and life quality is fundamental for an informed decision.

Psychological readiness: The surgery can have emotional and mental impacts. It’s key to check your psychological readiness and ensure a support network to handle potential shifts in body image, relationships, and emotional health.

Medical evaluation: Prior to surgery, an exhaustive health assessment is required to gauge your overall health, spot any potential hitches, and decide the best surgery type for you.

Long-term commitment: This isn’t a one-and-done solution but a long-term promise to stay healthy. Readying yourself for ongoing care, surveillance, and upkeep is crucial to guarantee successful results.

Do I Qualify For Weight Loss Surgery “Quiz”

1. What is your current body mass index (BMI)?

  • BMI of 40 or higher.
  • BMI of 35 or higher with obesity-related health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea.
  • BMI of 30 or higher with type 2 diabetes that is difficult to manage with medication.

2. Are you willing to make lifestyle changes after surgery?

The surgery is a tool to help you lose weight, but it is not a magic bullet. You must still make lifestyle adjustments to keep the weight off after surgery. You must be willing to follow healthy diets and regular workouts.

3. Are you emotionally ready for weight loss surgery?

This is a big operation and it’s crucial to be mentally braced for the shifts it’ll trigger. You should be all set to grapple with the physical and emotional trials of recovery.

If you’ve ticked off all these boxes, you might be a good fit for weight loss surgery. That said, it’s crucial to have a chinwag with your doctor for a tailored evaluation.

Here are some additional factors that your doctor will consider when evaluating your candidacy for surgery:

  • Your age
  • Your overall health problems
  • Your motivation to lose weight
  • Your support system

If WLS piques your interest, have a chat with your doc to delve deeper into the pros and cons of the procedure.

types of bariatric surgery

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Medicaid cover weight loss surgery?

The coverage of this surgery by Medicaid varies from state to state - some foot the bill while others don't. Usually, Medicaid steps in to cover the costs if WLS is an absolute medical must to deal with a grave health issue tied to obesity. In simpler terms, the procedure should tackle a major health worry.

How do you tell if someone has had weight loss surgery?

Simply eyeing someone, it's not always clear-cut if they've had a date with the surgeon. Sometimes, rapid and hefty weight loss could be a hint of them having had bariatric surgery.
There are other giveaways suggesting someone may have undergone a weight loss procedure, such as:
• The appearance of scars on the abdomen or other parts of the body.
• The consumption of smaller food portions during meals.
• A decrease in appetite or feelings of hunger.
• The need to take vitamin supplements.

Which weight-loss surgery is best for me?

The decision on the perfect surgery relies on various aspects like your health status, individual preferences, and weight reduction aims. It's vital to weigh the advantages and drawbacks of each weight loss surgery with your health advisor. A skilled bariatric surgeon can guide you to choose the most appropriate option tailored to your needs and situation.

How do I hide weight loss surgery?

If you're keen on keeping your weight loss surgery in secret, there are a couple of tricks up your sleeve to make it less conspicuous.
• Wearing loose-fitting clothes will help hide any changes in your body shape.
• Use makeup or clothing to hide any scars resulting from the surgery.
• If people ask how you lost weight, you can say you changed your diet and exercise.
• If people do find out about your surgery, be prepared to answer their questions. You could clarify that your decision for the surgery was a health-driven one and that you're delighted with the outcomes.

Which weight loss surgery has the highest success rate?

The effectiveness of WLS can swing widely, influenced by factors like the patient's health and commitment to post-surgery instructions. Yet, gastric bypass surgery, often known as Roux-en-Y, typically scores the highest in terms of success. Let's take a gander at some commonly performed WLS and their ballpark success rates:
• Roux-en-Y gastric bypass: 70%,
• Sleeve gastrectomy: 60%,
• Adjustable gastric banding: 50%.

Can you have weight-loss surgery twice?

Under certain circumstances, a person might undergo WLS more than once, a process called revisional bariatric surgery. The feasibility of second round hinges on factors like the patient's health and the initial surgery's purpose. Still, keep in mind that these revisional procedures are typically trickier and come with added risks.

How much does weight loss surgery cost in the U.S.?

In the US, the price tag of this operation isn't the same everywhere. It depends on a variety of elements, like the surgery type, where it's performed, and what the healthcare provider charges. Typically, the bill for WLS might swing anywhere from $15,000 to north of $30,000.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, weight loss surgery can be a viable option for individuals struggling with obesity who have not achieved success with other weight loss methods.

However, WLS is a significant decision that requires thorough evaluation and consideration of all potential risks and benefits.

Working closely with a qualified healthcare professional is essential to determine if obesity surgery is the right option for you.

Read nextGastric Sleeve vs Gastric Bypass Surgery

Article source:

  • American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS)
  • International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO)
  • National Institutes of Health guidelines for bariatric surgery (National Library of Medicine)
  • NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH)