Weight-loss surgeries seem to be gaining in popularity. Many see them as an easy way out. You have the surgery. You lose weight. You go off into the sunset. Unfortunately it’s not that simple.
After food is swallowed, it is broken down by acids in the stomach. Then the nutrients from the food are absorbed in the small intestines. Weight-loss surgeries work on these two aspects of food processing. These surgeries either alter the stomach, the small intestines or both.
Restrictive surgeries use staples or bands to decrease the size of the stomach. This restricts the amount of food the stomach can hold. It works because you can only eat as much as your stomach can hold.
Malabsorptive surgeries completely bypass parts of the small intestines, decreasing the amount of small intestines involved in the digestion process. It works because there is less small intestines available to absorb nutrients and calories.
One type of surgery forces you to eat less and the other forces you to absorb less.
These surgeries will typically result in significant weight loss, especially during the first two years post-operation. However, these surgeries are not risk free. There are potential side-effects and complications associated with them.
Potential complications include: leaking of stomach fluids, band/staple line breakdown, infection and nutritional deficiencies. Some complications require a second surgery for repair.
Not for Everyone
These surgeries are only meant for people who have a BMI greater than 35, who have also failed to lose weight using safer methods. Their potential rewards from weight-loss are greater than the potential risks associated with the surgery. Please do not gain weight on purpose so you can have the surgery because these surgeries are not risk-free.