Types of Weight Loss Surgery
Weight loss surgery is recognized as the most effective treatment method for sustainable weight loss. The goal of weight loss surgery is to make changing your eating habits easier, whether that is by limiting how much you can eat comfortably, or by altering food absorption by re-routing parts of the digestive tract.
There are two primary categories of weight loss procedures. They are:
- Malabsorptive: This means changes are made to the way the digestive tract absorbs nutrients, especially fats. This is done by making changes to the routing of the small intestine. Gastric bypass surgery is the most commonly performed malabsorptive weight loss surgery.
- Restrictive: These procedure restrict the amount of food the stomach can hold, thus causing earlier feelings of fullness and limiting caloric intake. Gastric band and sleeve gastrectomy surgery are both restrictive procedures.
Choosing the Right Weight Loss Procedure
Each weight loss procedure requires behavior changes and adherence to specific dietary guidelines. Prior to choosing a weight loss operation, review the dietary requirements and care methods associated with the procedure to find the one that fits best with your lifestyle.
Gastric Bypass Surgery
This is the most common form of weight loss surgery performed in the United States. It combines restrictive and malabsorptive elements to help people lose weight.
During this procedure, the stomach is divided in two sections and the small intestine is re-routed. As you eat, food travels through a small pouch that can only hold one ounce at a time, and then bypasses the first portion of the small intestine.
Following gastric bypass surgery, your reduced stomach size will encourage you to eat less, as the amount of fat your body can absorb from your diet is simultaneously reduced.
Gastric Band Surgery
Gastric banding surgery uses a silicone band to restrict stomach capacity without making any permanent alterations to the stomach or digestive tract. The most commonly performed gastric band surgery is the Lap Band procedure.
Lap Band surgery is adjustable and reversible. During the procedure, a silicone band is placed around the upper portion of the stomach like a belt. It is connected via a plastic tube to an access port that sits just under the skin. Following surgery, your weight loss surgeon can make adjustments to the tightness of the gastric band by injecting saline into the band.
Though intended to be left in place permanently, the Lap Band device can be Safely removed and the digestive system will gradually return to normal. Lap Band surgery is reported as the safest form of bariatric procedures.
Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery
This is a restrictive procedure that calls for the removal of about 80 percent of the stomach. Also called gastric sleeve surgery, during this procedure the stomach is divided in two sections and the larger portion of the stomach is removed from the body.
The portion of the stomach that remains is a banana-shaped sleeve that stretches from the base of the esophagus to the small intestine. The smaller stomach size reduces the amount of food that can be eaten before feeling full and thereby limits caloric intake.
Each of these procedures are performed laparoscopically eliminating the need for large incisions. Laparoscopic surgery allows your weight loss surgeon to operate using specialized tools through three to five small incisions in the abdomen. Laparoscopic surgery generally results in faster recovery period, reducing the risk of post-surgical complications and scarring.