An Alternative to Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, is one of the options for the severely obese patient seeking effective weight loss.

Who is a Candidate for Bariatric Surgery?

However, bariatric or gastric bypass surgery is not for you if you have less than 100 pounds to lose. If you want to lose 30 or even 50 lbs, no ethical doctor would normally consider surgery. American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery guidelines say patients should have a body mass index (BMI) above 40 (which is about 100 pounds overweight), or a BMI above 35 plus serious obesity-related medical problems like type 2 diabetes.

dietMD Hawaii Can Help You Prepare for Bariatric Surgery

If you are considering bariatric surgery, you may not realize that your surgeon may ask you to lose weight in advance, to prepare for the surgery. You see, obesity puts you at a higher risk when undergoing any type of surgery, and bariatric surgery is no exception. So this isn’t a shortcut to losing weight… it’s a procedure as risky as any other significant surgery.

Bariatric Surgery Requires Lifestyle Change

In addition, 20-25 % of people who undergo surgery regain weight after it is initially lost. Without proper nutritional education and lifestyle support, such as our medical weight loss program provides, getting a gastric bypass or similar surgery doesn’t always result in lasting weight loss. Since you’re going to have to undertake those changes anyhow, we suggest you try them first. You may be pleasantly surprised by the weight loss results you’ll get, and choose to skip the riskier surgery option altogether.

If you must lose weight in advance of bariatric surgery, dietMD Hawaii can help. Our doctor-supervised weight loss program helps our clients lose up to 30 pounds in 30 days, and most keep the weight off. In fact, we hope that we can show you an alternative to bariatric surgery that really can work for you, so that you may be able to avoid this costly and risky procedure.

Patients undergoing bariatric surgery lose, on average, 10 to 20 pounds a month in the first year after gastric bypass surgery. Our clients achieve similar weight loss (or better – up to 30 pounds in 30 days) while participating in our doctor supervised weight loss program, without surgery.

Types of Bariatric Surgery

Gastric Sleeve or Sleeve Gastrectomy

Gastric Sleeve, or sleeve gastrectomy, is a procedure which removes up to 85% of the stomach. Only about 15% remains, shaped like a narrow sleeve. This is a relatively new procedure whose long-term benefits and risks are not well known.

Gastric Band or Laporascopic Banding or Adjustable Gastric Banding

Adjustable gastric banding

Adjustable gastric banding

Gastric Band, LAP-BAND or laporascopic banding, involves an inflatable silicone band which is used to constrict the top part of the stomach, separating it from the rest. It’s reversible, but patients experience less weight loss compared to gastric bypass, and frequent revisional surgery is required.

Biliopancreatic Diversion

Biliopancreatic Diversion involves removing a large part of the stomach and bypassing much of the small intestine. It is becoming less common due to the need for extensive followup nutritional counselling due to malabsorption of nutrients.

Gastric Bypass

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass

Gastric Bypass (“stomach-stapling”) is the most common method of bariatric surgery, and considered the most effective for weight loss. In this procedure, the top part of the stomach is stapled off from the rest, leaving a tiny “pouch” which allows only a limited amount of food to enter. Less than 5% of the stomach remains useable for food consumption. Then this pouch is surgically connected directly to the small intestine (the bypass). Because nearly all of the stomach and the first two feet of the small intestine are bypassed, your body can take in and absorb fewer calories.

Risks of Bariatric Surgery

Gastric bypass is major surgery and it has many risks. In fact, a study of insurance claims of 2522 who had undergone bariatric surgery showed 21.9% with complications during the initial hospital stay and a total of 40% risk of complications in the subsequent six months. Risks (some are illustrated in this poster prepared for hospital emergency rooms by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery) include those attendant on any major surgical procedure, such as blood loss, infection, stroke, allergic reactions to anesthesia or other medications.

There are other risks specific to bariatric surgery, such as vitamin, mineral or other nutritional deficiencies after the surgery, hernias, ulcers, flatulence, diarrhea and/or abdominal cramps, and reduced dietary choices. You can begin to learn more about the risks using the links below.

iHealth Healthcare Information Directory

National Institutes of Health Medline Plus

Obesity Help Weight Loss Surgery Directory

Weighing the Risks of Surgery

Bariatric surgery alone is not an “easy” solution for weight loss. Beyond the surgical risk and pain during recovery, you will need to follow the exercise and eating guidelines that your doctor and dietitian have given you, or complications can result from the surgery. Women are strongly advised to postpone pregnancy for up to two years after the surgery, as the developing fetus can be harmed by the lack of nutrients and calories.

Before you consider bariatric surgery, come in for a free consultation with Dr. Katsura and discuss how the dietMD medical weight loss program helps people like you take weight off safely, without surgery and its risks, and keep it off permanently.

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2 Responses to An Alternative to Bariatric Surgery

  1. Karen Thomas September 20, 2014 at 11:50 pm #

    I agree Bariatric is not an easy journey but it is definitely a good choice for those who have suffered health issues because of obesity.

    • DrBruce September 22, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

      Every individual’s situation is different and needs to be evaluated by a qualified medical practitioner, but most medical professionals consider surgery an intervention best avoided if there are effective non-surgical choices. For many potential bariatric surgery patients, medical weight loss can provide a healthier and safer alternative.

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