What is weight-loss surgery?
Weight-loss surgery is surgery to the stomach or intestine (or both) to help you lose weight. It's also called bariatric surgery.
Doctors sometimes recommend weight-loss surgery for people who are very overweight (obese Obesity Obesity is having too much body fat. Obesity causes health problems. The fatter you are, the higher your risk of health problems. Obesity is caused by eating more calories than your body needs... read more ), particularly if they have weight-related health problems
There are many different surgical procedures
After surgery, you'll still need to make lifelong changes to what and how much you eat
Weight-loss surgery can lessen weight-related health problems, such as diabetes Diabetes Diabetes is a disease in which your blood sugar (glucose) levels are too high. You get diabetes if your body's normal way of controlling blood sugar isn't working right. There are 2 types of... read more
Weight loss surgery can be more effective than dieting but has a higher risk of side effects
To qualify for weight-loss surgery, you must:
Have tried other ways of losing weight
Be physically and mentally able to have surgery
Be ready to follow your doctors’ instructions after surgery about what to eat, how much to exercise, and when to get follow-up tests
How do doctors do weight-loss surgery?
Your stomach is where food first goes when you swallow it. The stomach starts digesting food and then passes it into the intestines. The intestines finish digesting food and take the nutrients into your body. Weight-loss surgery does one or both of the following:
Makes your stomach smaller to limit the amount of food you can eat
Bypasses part of your intestines so less food can be absorbed
The most common weight-loss surgeries include:
Sleeve gastrectomy Sleeve gastrectomy Bariatric (weight-loss) surgery alters the stomach, intestine, or both to produce weight loss. In the United States, about 160,000 people have bariatric surgery each year. This number accounts... read more : Removing part of your stomach so what remains is a thin, small tube
Gastric bypass Roux-en-Y gastric bypass Bariatric (weight-loss) surgery alters the stomach, intestine, or both to produce weight loss. In the United States, about 160,000 people have bariatric surgery each year. This number accounts... read more : Making a small stomach pouch and connecting it to the middle part of your small intestine
Adjustable gastric banding Adjustable gastric banding Bariatric (weight-loss) surgery alters the stomach, intestine, or both to produce weight loss. In the United States, about 160,000 people have bariatric surgery each year. This number accounts... read more : Putting a band around your stomach to restrict its size
Gastric bypass is the most common type of surgery. After this surgery, your stomach can hold only a small amount of food. Food that leaves the stomach bypasses the first part of the small intestine.
Your doctor will recommend the type of weight-loss surgery best for you.
Doctors can do some weight-loss surgery with laparoscopy. Instead of cutting your belly open, doctors put a viewing tube (laparoscope) and surgical tools in through small cuts in your belly. Laparoscopy is generally safer and you recover quicker than with regular (open) surgery.
Bypassing Part of the Digestive Tract
In gastric bypass, part of the stomach is detached from the rest, creating a small pouch. The pouch is connected to a lower part of the small intestine.
Banding the Stomach
In adjustable gastric banding, an adjustable band is placed around the upper part of the stomach. It enables doctors to adjust the size of the passageway for food through the stomach as needed.
How should I eat after weight-loss surgery?
You may have to wait about 4 weeks to eat solid food. For the first 2 weeks, you'll drink protein drinks. For the next 2 weeks, you may start eating some soft, mushy, or pureed foods.
When you start eating solid foods, your doctor may recommend:
Taking small bites of food
Chewing food carefully
Not eating high-fat and high-sugar foods, such as fast food, cakes, and cookies
Eating only small meals
Not drinking liquids when eating solid foods
Even though having a smaller stomach makes it easier to eat less, some people still eat too much. Some people drink lots of shakes or other high-calorie liquids. Others keep eating even when they're full and gradually stretch out their smaller stomach. Even though you had surgery, you still have to watch what you eat so you lose weight and don't gain it back.
Also, because you aren't absorbing food normally, you have to be careful you get enough vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other important nutrition.
Changing how you eat can be hard. Counseling or a support group may help.
What are the benefits of weight-loss surgery?
Weight-loss surgery may help you lose weight that you couldn't lose by dieting or taking diet pills. Also, you usually lose a lot more weight with surgery than with dieting.
Weight loss can help with weight-related health problems, including:
How safe is weight-loss surgery?
All surgeries have a chance of:
Infections near the site of surgery
Blood clots in your lungs
Lung infection (pneumonia)
Weight-loss surgeries also have a small chance of:
Blocked intestines (affects 2 to 4 people out of 100)
Leaking from one of the surgical connections, which can cause belly infection (affects 1 to 3 people out of 100)
Bleeding from the stomach or intestine, or in the belly area
Gallstones or gallbladder problems (affects about 15 people out of 100)
Not getting enough nutrition from your food
Death (affects about 20 out of 1000 for open surgery and 2 out of 1000 for laparoscopy)
Because of these risks, doctors do weight-loss surgery only for people who are dangerously obese Obesity Obesity is having too much body fat. Obesity causes health problems. The fatter you are, the higher your risk of health problems. Obesity is caused by eating more calories than your body needs... read more or who are very overweight and have a serious weight-related health problem. Talk to your doctors about the risks of surgery.
Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection around your wound, such as:
Call your doctor right away if you have these warning signs after surgery:
Severe belly pain
Fever or chills
Fast or skipping heartbeats
Dark, tarry, bad-smelling stools
Shortness of breath