Bariatric Surgery – A boon for people suffering from obesity & metabolic disorders

Bariatric Surgery is a life-saving surgery and not a cosmetic surgery as it generally is regarded. In fact, it is a gastrointestinal surgery to improve, prevent and/or treat obesity and its co morbidities which may be life threatening. This surgery which is done by laparoscopy, does not involve removal of fat from the body and the weight loss after surgery is gradual i.e. 4-5kg per month and reaches a stable level after 1-2 years of surgery. Bariatric surgery is known to be the most effective and long lasting treatment for morbid obesity and many related conditions, but now mounting evidence suggests it may be among the most effective treatments for metabolic diseases and conditions including type-2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and obstructive sleep apnea.

Patients who are morbidly obese, have failed attempts at diet and exercise can opt for bariatric surgery. However, obesity is not the only criteria that qualify patients for surgery and it definitely is not for cosmetic benefit like Liposuction. Overweight patients may also be candidates if they have one or more health problems such as Diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, arthritis and high cholesterol that might be reduced or alleviated by weight loss. Metabolic surgery is a term used for such procedures.

Among the bariatric surgery procedures, Gastric banding is usually reversible as in this procedure the stomach and intestines are not cut or stapled. Even, Gastric bypass may be reversible but this is a very involved surgery and it’s more difficult to put everything back where it was, and there is a risk that the revision won’t restore normal function. Sleeve gastrectomy and duodenal switch entail actual removal of part of the stomach without reattaching it lower on the intestine. This type of surgery is not reversible.

Patients who undergo bariatric surgery may need to avoid very sweet foods, as it may cause dizziness and nausea; keep fatty foods to a minimum and eat very small portions.Dietary modification and following a healthy lifestyle after surgery is equally important. Most patients do not lose all of their excess weight after surgery, however, losing just 50 percent of excess weight and keeping it off is usually considered a success story.

Bariatric surgery has been shown to improve and provide longer life to patients suffering from obesity related diseases and most diseases like Diabetes, Hypertension, Sleep apnea, High cholesterol levels improve after surgery or are cured. Bariatric surgery itself causes no detrimental effects if dietary supplements are taken as per advice of the doctors.

Courtesy: Dr. Saurabh Kalia
Surgical Gastroenterologist
Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Jaipur

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