In the modern era, unhealthy eating habits and, the changing lifestyles directly contributes to obesity. With the increase in awareness about obesity related issues more and more people are turning towards bariatric surgery to lose excess weight and improve their quality of life.
If you are the one who has tried all possible ways to lose weight right from dieting to gymming but cannot find a way to lose that extra pound, you may consider weight loss surgery before things get worse.
Though bariatric surgery may seem like an easy way out to lose weight for overweight people, but there are some things you must keep in mind before going under the knife.
Team Medimanage spoke to a well known Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Shashank Shah from Hiranandani hospital to get all doubts cleared about bariatric surgery.
1. What is bariatric surgery? Is it a cosmetic procedure?
Bariatric surgeries are procedures done on the stomach &/or intestines preferably laparoscopically. It is used as a tool for weight loss for morbid obesity i.e. Body Mass Index > 33kgs/m2, especially when associated with additional diseases like Diabetes Mellitus, Sleep Apnea, Infertility, Osteoarthritis of weight bearing joints, Breathlessness, Hypertension and Ishaemic heart diseases at younger age etc.
Along with weight loss these surgeries improve the condition of all the above co morbidities (diseases associated with obesity) so it is not a cosmetic procedure.
2. Why should an individual opt for surgery? Why not lose weight through dieting or exercising?
Non-Surgical weight loss involves a combination of calorie- restricted Diet with a well planned physical activity and life style changes, all done by the patient alone. During non-surgical weight loss attempts, the secretion of the hunger hormone called ‘Ghrelin’ is increased, ultimately making the patient give up the program. On stopping the weight loss attempts the patient sometimes faces the 'rebound' phenomenon and hence even exceeds the previous maximum weight. Therefore it is nearly impossible for a patient to lose substantial weight and/or maintain the same only by non-surgical efforts.
3. Benefits of Bariatric surgery?
Majority of the benefits of bariatric procedures are because of the substantial weight loss that they bring about. However there are many benefits which are seen even before substantial weight loss. For example , many studies world over have shown that the blood sugar levels of type 2 diabetic patients decrease immediately after the procedures like Gastric bypass / Sleeve gastrectomy / biliopancreatic diversion etc, even during hospital day. This is before any significant weight loss.
Other benefits include:
a) Improvement in hypertension –including maintenance of normal levels without drugs,
b) Improvement in fertility levels- including chances of natural conception,
c) Improvement in sleep apnea- including getting rid of the c-PAP-(breathing machine),
d) Improvement in asthma – can walk longer distances without feeling breathless,
e) Improvement in stress incontinence in females –avoids embarrassment and surgery,
f) Improvement in knee, ankle, hip pains-avoids replacement surgery,
g) Improvement in self –esteem, self -confidence, body image, physical stamina and
h) Overall ‘Quality of life’ is one of the most important benefits of Bariatric surgery.
4. What are the chances of weight regain?
Bariatric surgery is a very effective tool for weight loss for morbidly obese and ill patients. Being aware of eating pattern, eating nutritionally correct food and keeping one active as the weight loss progresses is a very important aspect of the post operative journey. The allied team of the bariatric unit plays a very important role during this period. It encourages regular follow-up, makes the patient understand the eating pattern and teaches the patient and the family the importance and the means of including nutritionally correct food in the volume restricted diet. They also teach the patient the importance of increasing the physical activity as weight loss progresses, to maintain the muscle tone and prevent protein loss.
It is seen that those patients who do not follow–up with the bariatric team may not reach the target weight loss or regain some lost weight. Theoretically weight gain can occur if the patient goes to the extreme of consumption of high calorie foods like ice creams, milkshakes, sweets, oils, alcohol etc.