What is Obesity Surgery?
Obesity surgery fundamentally depends on two principles: the decreasing of stomach volume, and/or ‘malabsorption,’ i.e. the prevention of food absorption in certain stages. These operations are lifesaving when performed on the right patient at the right time.
For whom is obesity surgery suitable?
Obesity surgery is suggested to patients with body mass indexes of 35 and above who cannot lose weight with programs such as specialist-controlled medical nutrition, exercise, or medical therapy. It is also recommended for patients with body mass indexes above 30 who also suffer from conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and sleep apnea that negatively affect life quality. The decision on the type of operation to perform is made following various examinations and observations done by specialists.
It is advised that fertile women planning to have a baby in the near future to consult their doctors before doing so as pregnancy is not recommended within the first twenty-four months following obesity surgery.
The following methods are performed in general for obesity surgery and all present patients with a more comfortable recovery period than open surgery through the use of laparoscopic or robotic surgery methods that use only small incisions. Patients return to their daily lives in a very short time and adjust to their new diets monitored by metabolism specialists and dieticians.
Commonly known as “stomach clamp”, the adjustable silicone gastric band method involves inserting a band around the stomach immediately underneath where the oesophagus and stomach merge. In effect, the volume of the stomach is reduced. The inner membrane of the band could be likened to a balloon or bicycle tire. This balloon is connected to a subdermal port with a fine tube. Approximately one month after the operation, the band is gradually inflated through the port with serum injections. So after the operation it becomes possible to adjust the size of the passage with a simple intervention. In this method, the aim is for the patient to feel full although he or she eats small amounts.
How is it performed?
Gastric bands are most often implanted with the laparoscopic method. Most patients are able to resume their normal daily life very quickly because the surgery only requires minor incisions.
In this type of surgery, patients lose up to 60-80% of their excess body weight within 18 to 24 months. Unless there is a problem with the band, these patients do not face the risk of regaining their weight.
The Gastric Sleeve
Also known as “sleeve gastrectomy”, stomach reduction involves the reduction of the stomach volume (by about 60-100 cc) which in result makes the patient feel full with smaller amounts of food. To achieve this, a part of the stomach is removed with a surgical procedure leaving behind a small, tube shaped stomach (about the size of a banana). The operation also removes the part of the stomach that secretes the hunger hormone so the patient no longer feels hungry. This operation only involves limiting the amount of food intake. The patient will not require vitamin or mineral supplements because nutrients continue to be absorbed by the stomach.
How is it performed?
The laparoscopic method is employed for sleeve gastrectomy operations. The surgery is performed through minor incisions in the abdomen.
After surgery, patients will feel full by only eating small amounts and in time this sense of feeling full will change into loss of appetite. Total food intake drops significantly and patients will typically lose up to 80-90% of excess weight.
The Gastric bypass
Gastric bypass surgery is a surgical procedure that involves bypassing a large section of the stomach and creating a small stomach pouch (of approximately 30-50 cc) for digestion before the small intestine is rearranged to connect to the both. As with other types of obesity surgery, this type of surgery also reduces the volume of the stomach but it also aims to by-pass a part of the intestines so that a portion of the nutrients is discarded without being absorbed. In effect, patients feel full with smaller amounts of food and can only absorb a portion of their nutrient intake.
How is it performed?
Similar to other forms of obesity surgery, gastric bypass surgery is also generally performed with the laparoscopic method. The surgery is carried out through small incisions opened in the abdomen. This method significantly reduces risks of post-surgical wound infections and hernias. The robotic surgery method is also used for gastric bypass surgeries.
After surgery, patients will feel full by only eating small amounts and in time this sense of feeling full will change into loss of appetite. Total food intake drops significantly. Due to the smaller stomach size and reduced food absorption, patients undergoing this type of surgery will have to follow the instructions of surgeons and dieticians regarding the use of vital vitamin and mineral supplements. In this approach patients can lose weight without experiencing vitamin and mineral depletion. Patients are discharged 3-4 days after the operation.