Surgery for Weight Loss Could be a Life Saver

No one wants to be overweight—let alone obese, so it’s understandable why there is a mind-boggling number of diets, exercise plans and even surgery for weight loss options vying for people’s attention. In fact, Google the phrase “weight loss” and 562 million results pop up in less than one second! And every one of them is vying for their share of the nearly 80 million Americans who try to lose weight every year.

While many will turn to diets— including fad ones like The Hollywood Diet, Acai Berry Diet or Cabbage Soup Diet—others will turn to prepackaged food programs and workout regimens. Lured by a popular spokesperson, slick advertising and promises of fast and easy, it’s easy to understand why so many people who are eager to drop a few pounds drop $50 billion a year on diet pills, packaged foods, exercise regimens and even bariatric weight loss. Yet, despite all their efforts, hopes and dreams—not to mention the money spent—95 percent of these well-intentioned folks eager to slim down will fail.

For some individuals the consequences of failure can be very serious—an increased risk for a host of life-threatening conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and more. For individuals whose body mass index (BMI) renders them officially obese (30 to 39.9 kg/mZ) or morbidly obese (anyone who is more than 100 pounds overweight), surgery for weight loss may be the right choice.

Bariatric weight loss involves undergoing a surgical gastric procedure designed to severely limit how much food you can eat or the amount of nutrients your body can absorb—and sometimes both. Patients who undergo gastric surgery are able to finally lose a significant amount of weight. Besides helping these individuals look and feel better, the surgery may resolve or reduce the severity of associated health issues either caused or exacerbated by obesity—including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, hypertension and other serious medical conditions.

There are several different types of gastric procedures. Your physician—a gastric specialist—will carefully evaluate which procedure is best for you. One of the most common types of surgery for weight loss is the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. This procedure limits the amount of food you can eat during one sitting by sealing off a walnut-size portion of the stomach. The small intestine is cut and sewn directly to the small stomach pouch to reduce the body’s absorption of nutrients.

Adjustable gastric banding is a less invasive procedure for bariatric weight loss. An inflatable band is placed around the uppermost part of the stomach. When the band is inflated, it compresses the stomach and separates it into two parts. The small upper pouch limits the amount of food you can eat.

During a sleeve gastrectomy, the actual shape of the stomach is changed so it resembles a slender tube—which restricts the amount of calories the body can absorb.

A biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch is a complicated procedure that removes about 80 percent of the stomach and bypasses most of the intestine to limit food intake and the absorption of nutrients. This type of bariatric weight loss is usually only used for people who have a body mass index greater than 50.

If you suffer from obesity, USMD Hospital at Arlington has knowledgeable and compassionate physicians who are experts in gastric medicine. Just as important, they are dedicated to helping you win your battle with weight so you can live a healthier life. If you’d like to be connected with one of our gastric specialists, please call (888)444-USMD for a free physician referral.

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