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Weight Loss Surgery: What to Expect

Feb 18th 2015 at 11:51 PM

Obesity can have many causes, including heredity, metabolic disorders, as well as social and emotional eating issues. Regardless of the cause, morbid obesity greatly increases the chance of developing health conditions that may result in significant physical, mental and social disabilities, and in some cases death. The high incidence of obesity worldwide has increased the need for a medical solution to address the serious weight related complications of the past two decades. Much advancement has been made in the field of Bariatric surgery as a more permanent solution to these problems and issues.

Determining if you are a Candidate for Weight Loss Surgery

This is a sample of the weight requirements for the top three Bariatric procedures. (Your doctor or insurance company may require additional or slightly different requirements then these examples before either performing surgery or covering the cost of surgery)

*BMI calculator shows your body mass index is 30 or higher

*Suffer from other conditions such as severe sleep apnea, hypertension, diabetes or heart problems *Overweight for more than 5 years

*Unable to sustain weight loss from various diet attempts

*Willingness to change your lifestyle and eating habits

*Do not drink alcohol to excess

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Health Benefits

If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or other weight-related health problems, they may get better or go away after your surgery. Work with your doctor to adjust any medications you take for those conditions. Weight loss will often help arthritis, joint pain, or sleep apnea. You may also find it easier to be physically active.

Risks of Surgery

All operations carry some risk. For weight loss surgery, serious problems are rare. People most at risk are those who are older, have a history of deep-vein thrombosis (blood clots), and are very obese. The best way to avoid complications is to carefully follow your post operative instructions and stick to your prescribed diet and lifestyle plan.

Possible Complications after Surgery

People who've had weight loss surgery are at risk for problems such as:

*Infection

*Blood clots

*Stomach ulcers

*Gallstones resulting from rapid weight loss

*Not getting enough nutrients (if you have had one of the malabsorptive procedures)

*Problems with the gastric band or sleeve (if you underwent one of those procedures)

In areas where you lost weight, your skin may sag or be loose. You may want to consider plastic surgery to take up that extra skin, but you might need to wait at least 18 months to do that. Also, most health insurance policies don't cover it.

Your doctor will screen you carefully to check that you are physically and mentally ready for the surgery, as well as being prepared to commit to the big changes needed to keep the pounds off once the weight loss begins. You'll discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure you're considering. It is very important to consider all that is involved. Including any additional cost or care associated with the procedure you choose. To be able to financially maintain your heath after the procedure and find local medical follow up care should not be taken lightly.

Preparing for Surgery

Your doctor or facilitator will tell you exactly what you need to do to prepare yourself for surgery. Your doctor may ask you to do some things before the surgery, such as losing some weight to reduce surgical risk, weaning off certain kinds of medication and supplements. You'll avoid aspirin, nsaid's or any products that contain them for 5-10 days before surgery or according to your surgeon’s instructions. You'll need to stop eating or drinking 12 hours beforehand. You will undergo general anesthesia during the surgery.

Surgical Methods

Your surgeon will use either the open or the laparoscopic surgical method. Laparoscopy leaves smaller scars and tends to have fewer complications and a quicker recovery time. For this procedure, the doctor only needs to make several small, "keyhole" cuts. He or she will use a thin, lighted tool, called a laparoscope, that will show what's going on inside of a monitor in the operating room. For open surgery, you'll get an 8- to 10-inch cut on your abdomen.

Eating After Weight Loss Surgery

You'll be on a liquid diet at first. After a few weeks, you can eat solid foods. You'll work closely with a nutritionist or facilitator who's familiar with the weight loss surgery eating plan. You may not be able to eat what you did before, and you should prepare yourself that you should develop healthier eating habits for any weight loss procedure to be effective. You must eat smaller portions and fewer calories.

You'll need to make sure you get enough nutrients, which may mean taking supplements, especially if you chose a malabsorption surgical procedure such as gastric bypass (RNY).

Lifestyle Changes after Surgery

It takes a long-term commitment to make the results last and keep the pounds off. This will require you to make lifestyle changes you can live with forever. You'll need to eat small meals the day, and make good nutrition and exercise a daily habit.

Adjusting to Your New Life

You may feel many different emotions after weight loss surgery. You may be happy or excited as you begin to lose weight. You may also feel overwhelmed or frustrated by the changes that you have to make in your diet, activity, and lifestyle. These ups and downs are normal. Talk with your doctor, patient counselor or patient facilitator if you have concerns or questions as you get used to your new body.

About The Company:

This article is written by Dr. Pedro Kuri, who is a pioneer of the Lap-Band System (Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery) in Latin America and has performed 5,500+ procedures in over 12 years as a respected specialist in his field. He is the specialized surgeon for Lap band surgery in Tijuana, Mexico.

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