What you should know about Gastric Bypass Surgery

Most of us remember the talented pop trio of Wilson Phillips back in the 90s. Most of us also remember its ‘biggest’ member, Carnie Wilson, who at the time had reached her highest weight count, coming in at close to 300 pounds. That’s a lot of weight for a petite 5’3″ frame. After years of trying every conceivable way to lose her weight, she eventually settled on gastric bypass surgery, a decision which she says today saved her life.

Gastric bypass surgery is a procedure carried out to help you lose excess weight. In simple terms, what it does is make your stomach smaller and creates a bypass for food through the small intestines. The effect is that you end up feeling full faster because your body can’t consume too much food. This also means that due to less food intake, your body absorbs fewer calories which eventually lead to weight loss. Gastric bypass surgery is highly recommended for individuals battling morbid or life-threatening obesity. It is however left as a last resort as surgery like this comes with great risks to a person’s life.

Like all serious operations, the patient will receive general anesthesia as the surgery is a serious one and it will render the patient unconscious and incapable of feeling pain. There are two ways gastric bypass surgery can be done – open surgery and laparoscopy. In open surgery, the doctor makes a large incision that opens up the belly, then directly handles your stomach, smaller intestines and other necessary organs. This procedure is usually recommended for patients who are considerably overweight or who have had abdomen surgery in the past. With laparoscopy, a tiny camera is placed in your belly button after the surgeon has performed some minor incisions on your belly. The camera allows him to see inside you through a monitor placed nearby. This method is less invasive as the surgeon will use thin surgical instruments to perform the bypass. Most people prefer this method as the healing process is faster and there are less scars visible after.

Most gastric bypass surgery patients will attest that they begin to shed the extra weight and continue to do so in less than 12 months after the surgery. Some have even lost as much as one-third of their weight in less than 5 years. If you opt for this method of weight loss, it’s important to remember that it will require a life-changing commitment to how you view food and treat healthy living. Gastric bypass is not a permanent fix for being overweight. After the surgery you need to adopt a healthy lifestyle, watch what you eat and take good care of your health. Most people don’t realize that without this commitment, it is only a matter of time before the weight piles back up. So before you choose this option, consult professionals to evaluate your mental strength and your will. It will be challenging and you have to make sure you’re ready for it.

There are risks associated with this kind of surgery. Patients could develop infections on their incisions, higher chances of anemia and osteoporosis, as well as vitamin deficiencies like iron and B12. You may experience tiredness which will lead to immobility and then bed sores, heart attacks or blood loss during the surgery, exposing your organs to injury during surgery, as well as hernia.

Doctors will recommended gastric bypass surgery only after it has been proven that other methods such as dieting, exercising and medicinal aids have failed to assist in weight loss. It will also require permanent lifestyle changes in order to maintain one’s health after the surgery. Other factors include a body mass index (BMI) exceeding 40 or coupled with a medical condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes. The patient must be free from any psychological disorders and must not be battling an alcohol addiction.

Although gastric bypass surgery has been considered a life-saver in certain obesity situations, it’s often cited as a last resort and patients should seek professional advice and counseling before resorting to this method of weight-loss.

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