Top 5 Weight-Loss Surgeries

It has been estimated that as many as 160 million adults in America face the serious health issues that being overweight or obese can create. As a result of this staggering figure, many people are considering weight loss surgery to help them gain control of this problem and reduce their risk of future weight-related health complications. In fact, there were at least 196,000 of these weight-loss surgical procedures performed in 2015 alone.

Carrying an excessive amount of body weight can lead to an increased risk of a number of serious health problems including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and various forms of arthritis. The long-term implications of these health issues can be far-reaching and quite devastating. While weight-loss surgeries bring with them their own unique set of challenges, these procedures are sometimes the answer that a person struggling with proper weight loss needs.

Many types of bariatric surgery exist today, so it may be overwhelming to consider the possibilities that one is presented with when making this decision. Of course, consulting with a medical professional is the first step in discovering whether or not weight-loss surgery is right for you and which type would be ideal. The following are the most common types of bariatric surgeries performed in the United States today.

Gastric Sleeve

The gastric sleeve procedure is performed to permanently reduce the size of the stomach. During this operation, an incision is made in the abdomen. The surgeon then carefully removes at least half of the stomach. A thin vertical sleeve about the size of a banana is left to function as the stomach, resulting in the individual feeling a sense of fullness after consuming much less food that they typically would need to consume.

The pros and cons of this procedure can vary slightly depending on the individual and the degree of problems their current weight is creating. The gastric sleeve surgery can be a very effective way for an individual to lose weight. However, since a portion of the stomach is removed entirely, this procedure cannot be reversed. There is a small risk of the individual experiencing vitamin and mineral deficiencies as a result of consuming less food, but these problems can generally be addressed by a physician.

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Gastric Bypass

During a gastric bypass procedure, a surgeon uses staples to reduce the size of the stomach, dividing it into two separate pouches. The top pouch is where the food the individual consumes will go, resulting in the person feeling satiated on much less food than before.

Gastric bypass runs the same small risk of nutrient deficiencies as the gastric sleeve procedure. However, the surgery can be reversed if needed due to the fact that a portion of the stomach is not removed.

Duodenal Switch

A duodenal switch is a two-part procedure. First, a portion of the stomach is surgically removed to create a smaller pouch in which to collect food. Secondly, a large part of the intestine is bypassed by connecting this new stomach pouch directly to a portion of the small intestine.

This procedure can allow many individuals to experience the weight loss they have been striving for by feeling a sense of fullness and satisfaction consuming much smaller portions of food. This surgery has slightly higher complication risks associated with it, however. These complications can include a more extended recovery period and a more significant risk of long-term nutritional and protein deficiencies.

Gastric Balloon

The gastric balloon procedure is performed by inserting a small medical-grade silicon balloon into the individual’s stomach. This balloon is then inflated and filled with either a non-toxic gas or saline solution. The balloon takes up additional space in the stomach, resulting in the consumption of less food.

The benefits of the gastric balloon procedure are many. For starters, most people experience a quick rate of recovery and very few complications. Additionally, a portion of the stomach is not removed nor are any surgical changes to the intestines created. In some rare cases, the contents of the balloons may leak and cause health issues. Continual monitoring can detect any issues right away.

vBloc Therapy

vBloc therapy is designed to assist with weight loss in a less invasive manner than the procedures mentioned above. By interfering with the body’s own hunger signals, the idea is that the individual can experience a greater sense of satisfaction from consuming less food. In this procedure, a device is implanted just under the surface of the skin. Leads are then placed laparoscopically that place pressure on the vagus nerve to effectively reduce hunger signals and elevate feelings of satiation from food.

Since this procedure is much less invasive than other bariatric surgeries, most people experience a quick recovery and minimal discomfort. In fact, the procedure is able to be performed on an outpatient basis in many cases. Since no surgical changes are made to the stomach or intestines, the procedure is reversible and does not permanently alter the anatomy in any way. The main drawback is that not all individuals experience the degree of hunger relief and satisfaction that would enable them to continue losing weight long-term.