More and more people are struggling with their weight and this has made bariatric surgery one of the most common surgical procedures available today. This is particularly true because it is now covered by most insurance companies. As a result of this popularity, the medical field has been able to perform a lot of research into the different types of procedures, determining which ones are safe for which patients. If you are considering surgery, it is important that you study the different bariatric procedures that are out there. Your surgeon will also discuss your options with you, but it is always good to already have some basic knowledge yourself.
The first thing to understand is that there are two methods for bariatric surgery:
- Restriction, whereby you cannot consume as much food.
- Malabsorption, whereby you can no longer absorb as many nutrients.
Some procedures use a combination of the two. Let’s take a look at the four main bariatric procedures available today.
1 – Gastroplasty
In this procedure, the stomach is stapled around the top. This means its size is changed. When the stomach is smaller, you will feel fuller much quicker, which means you will eat less. When you eat less, you lose weight.
2 – Gastric Bypass
The gastric bypass is quite similar. There are now numerous bypass procedures, but the most popular one is the Roux-en-Y. Here, the stomach is effectively divided into two unequal parts. This means that there is about 95% less storage space for food and that any food that goes into the tiny stomach is then empties straight into the upper instestine.
3 – Biliopancreatic Diversion
This is also known as the BPD. It is very rare for surgeons to still offer this option, as better methods exist. It involves slicing the intestine and rejoining it to the ileum, which is found near the end of the small intestine. It is located above the large intestine, or colon. This method has low success rates and high chances of complications.
4. Lap Band
Finally, there is the lap band and this is now generally seen as the preferred and most effective method. As a result, various physicians are coming up with ways to change and improve this method. The lap band is an inflatable device that is wrapped around the intestine and stomach. Various manufacturers now exist, including the first one, which is the registered trademark Lap-Band by Allergan.
One of the reasons why the lap band is now so popular is because it is minimally invasive. The surgery is done through laparoscopy, which ensures there is very little recovery time and very little chance of complications as well. The lap band is also adjustable through a portal that is left just below the skin, which means changes can be made with ease, without having to subject the patient to further pain, discomfort and surgical risks. Finally, the lap band is a reversible procedure, unlike those where the stomach and intestines are physically altered.