Surgery for the Severely Obese
Severe obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of over 40. It’s not just a matter of aesthetics: this condition is associated with the development of life-threatening complications that include hypertension, diabetes and coronary artery disease.
How did it happen? No one is exactly sure. Severe obesity is a disorder of appetite regulation and energy metabolism that’s probably the result of a combination of genetic, psychosocial, environmental, social, and cultural influences.
It’s clear to most people with severe obesity that something needs to be done – but what?
The only treatment that’s effective in long-term management of severe obesity is surgery for obesity. Non-surgical methods of weight loss for patients with severe obesity, except in rare instances, are not effective over long periods of time.
A number of operations providing surgery for obesity are available to you:
Laparoscopic gastric bands: this surgery places a half-inch belt or collar around the top portion of the stomach, creating a small pouch and a fixed outlet into the lower stomach. The adjustable band is filled with sterile saline. When saline is added, the outlet into the stomach is made smaller.
Laparoscopic gastric bypass procedures involve dividing the stomach and forming a small gastric pouch. The new gastric pouch is connected to varying lengths of your own small intestine constructed into a Y-shaped limb (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass).
Malabsorption operations such as the duodenal switch cause weight loss by decreasing absorption of calories from the intestines. These operations involve reducing the stomach size and bypassing most of the intestines.
Choosing between the different options for surgery for obesity involves conversations between you and your doctor, and then further conversations with your surgeon. Finding out which surgery for obesity is best for your condition is a team decision. Ask your doctor how to start the conversation today!