A problem that we have in America that is hardly found anywhere else in the world is obesity. On one hand, it’s a nice problem to have because it’s a huge factor that we’re well-fed and not starving for the most part. On the other hand, the superficial aspect of our society puts a lot of pressure on overweight people to fit a certain body type. A result of this pressure is a demand for cosmetic surgery designed for weight loss.
Other than apperance, obesity is also linked to a slew of health complications. Naturally, you would think that there would be something the medical field would be able to do about such a wide-spread problem such as obesity, and you would be correct. Depending on the level of obesity and other factors, there are many types of non-cosmetic surgeries that can be performed, and here we’re going to explore some of them.
There are two main techniques for weight loss surgery. The first is a malabsorptive procedure which is based on creating a situation where nutrients are absorbed less in the intestinal tract. Obviously if your body isn’t absorbing food as it normally would, there will be weight loss. The second is referred to as a restrictive procedure, and this kind of surgery reduces the size of the stomach. Combinations of these two techniques are used as well.
Malabsorptive procedures like the Scopinaro procedure basically aim to connect the stomach farther down in the intestines than where it normally is. This has the effect of skipping part of the digestive tract, so that food is not absorbed as much. These types of procedures are rarely done now, however, due to complications and health risks. Patients undergoing this type of surgery were often having too much malnourishment than desired, resulting in more health issues than obesity itself would have posed on it’s own.
Restrictive procedures are much more common than malabsorptive procedures and are typically much safer. The most well-known of these types of surgeries are vertical banded gastroplasty (or more commonly known as stomach stapling) and an adjustable gastric band. The gastric band is basically an adjustable thing that tightens your stomach and gastric tubes to make you feel like you’re full earlier in your meals before the stomach is able to stretch out to hold more food.
A new technology that is being tested in the United States now is an implantable gastric stimulator, which works similar to a pacemaker. The idea is that a surgeon will put a small device on the external surface of the stomach. This device has electrical leads which carries electrical stimulation which is thought to modify the activity of the nervous system of the stomach, which results in the brain thinking that you are full. You actually feel like you are full before you are completely full, reducing your perceived need to eat which also helps with weight loss.
Weight loss surgery is a pretty big deal, and should not be taken likely. Surgery is really considered to be a last resort to help with what diet and exercise alone cannot take care of. As with all health concerns, you should talk to your doctor if you’re considering weight loss surgery, and take his or her advice seriously. While weight loss surgery is not the “cure all” absolute answer for weight loss, it can help if you can’t get there on your own.