Losing excess weight can greatly improve a person's overall health, especially individuals considered to be obese or severely obese. For many people, weight loss starts with diet and increased exercise. However, sometimes advanced treatments are necessary, such as counseling, medicine or various forms of surgery.
Consult with your doctor to determine if you would be a good candidate for bariatric surgery.
Gastric Bypass (Roux-en-Y)
Gastric bypass, also known as Roux-en-Y, is the most common form of weight-loss surgery. This may be performed as a traditional open surgery or as a laparoscropic procedure.
Like any surgery, there are risks to gastric bypass. These risks cannot be considered alone, but must be weighed against the risks of remaining obese.
The procedure reroutes a variable length of the small intestine to connect to a newly create stomach pouch, bypassing a portion of the digestive system. The procedure promotes weight loss not only by limiting food intake, but also by decreasing the absorption ability of the digestive system.
The stomach is reduced from the size of a large grapefruit to a golf ball, thereby decreasing the amount of food the stomach can physically hold. At the same time, the small intestine length is reduced by about 2 feet, reducing the number of calories that the body can absorb.
On average, gastric bypass patients lose about 100 pounds, maintained for at least 10 - 14 years. Clinical research has shown this weight loss leads to a significant improvement in the health of the patients. Many suffering from Type 2 diabetes no longer require medication after weight loss surgery. Patients who could not previously have necessary joint replacements became good candidates for the operation, usually with excellent results. Gastric bypass has also been shown to improve back and joint pain, sleep apnea, leg swelling, slipped disks, and lipid levels. Read more about this effective procedure for most patients with morbid obesity.
Adjustable gastric banding, also commonly known as LAP-BAND®, is an alternative to gastric bypass. The procedure is one of the least invasive approaches to obesity because neither the stomach nor the intestine is cut.
The LAP-BAND® System involves the laparoscopic placement of a hollow silastic band around the upper part of the stomach. This band divides the stomach into a small upper pouch above the band and a larger pouch below the band. The small gastric pouch limits the amount of food that a patient can eat at any one time. Because the band is adjustable and does not permanently alter the anatomy, it provides an option to the Roux-en-Y procedure.
Sleeve gastrectomy, a restrictive bariatric surgery, is the newest of three surgical options available to Genesis patients. Genesis is the only health care provider in the Quad Cities to offer the procedure.
Sleeve gastrectomy can be described as a middle-of-the-road approach to surgical weight loss. With a sleeve gastrectomy, there is no reliance on a device to perform flawlessly to ensure the weight loss, as there is with a gastric band. There also is no intestinal bypass with this procedure, only stomach reduction, so the patient avoids potential complications, such as marginal ulcers, vitamin deficiencies and intestinal obstructions.
The surgeon creates a small, sleeve-shaped stomach by stapling and dividing it vertically. As a result, between 70-80 percent of the stomach is removed. The smaller stomach reduces the amount of food a patient can eat, thus promoting weight loss.
The procedure is technically less difficult than the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, which reroutes a length of the small intestine to connect to a newly created stomach pouch. However, it's more involved than introducing an adjustable gastric band, which is placed around the outside of the stomach to divide it into a small upper pouch above the band and a larger pouch below the band.
Like the Roux-en-Y and gastric banding, the sleeve gastrectomy is usually done through a minimally invasive approach, using several small incisions instead of a single, large one. That means recovery time, discomfort and surgical wound complications are significantly reduced, and patients can return to normal, daily activities much faster. Patients undergoing a gastric sleeve procedure normally require only a one-night hospital stay.
Other advantages of the sleeve gastrectomy include retention of normal stomach function so most food items can be consumed, albeit in small amounts, and lowering of the hunger-stimulating hormone, Ghrelin, which is produced in the portion of the stomach that is removed.
Weight loss associated with the sleeve gastrectomy, based on available clinical data, shows patients lose 60 percent of their excess body weight by the end of the first year. That is less than with the Roux-en-Y procedure, but more than patients achieve with a gastric band. Consult with your doctor to determine if you would be a good candidate for bariatric surgery.