An overview of bariatric surgery and its potential side effects

Bariatric surgery is a weight loss surgical procedure performed on individuals with obesity. The surgery aims to reduce the amount of food the stomach can hold and/or limit the amount of nutrients the body can absorb, ultimately leading to significant weight loss. 

Bariatric surgery is a collective term used to describe a variety of surgical procedures designed to help individuals with obesity lose weight. These surgeries work by either reducing the size of the stomach, changing the way food is absorbed in the small intestine, or a combination of both. Some of the most common types of bariatric surgery include gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and adjustable gastric banding. 

Reasons why Bariatric Surgery is performed:

The primary reason for performing bariatric surgery is to help individuals with obesity lose weight and improve their overall health. Obesity is associated with a range of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and sleep apnea. Bariatric surgery has been shown to be an effective treatment for obesity and can lead to significant improvements in overall health and quality of life. In addition to weight loss, bariatric surgery can also help to improve or resolve obesity-related health conditions such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Weight Loss Bariatric surgery is typically recommended for individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 30 or higher with obesity-related health conditions.

Types of Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, is a medical procedure that is designed to help people lose weight by restricting the amount of food that they can eat, altering the digestive process and also the body’s hunger signaling processes. There are several types of bariatric surgery, each with its own unique benefits and risks. 

Gastric Sleeve Surgery: This type of surgery involves the removal of a portion of the stomach, which reduces its size and capacity to hold food. This results in the patient feeling full after eating smaller portions of food.

Gastric Bypass Surgery: This surgery involves creating a small stomach pouch and rerouting the small intestine to connect directly to the pouch. This reduces the amount of food that the patient can eat, the body’s ability to absorb calories and also the body’s hunger signaling processes.

Adjustable Gastric Band Surgery: This surgery involves placing a silicone band around the upper portion of the stomach to create a small pouch. The band can be adjusted over time to regulate the amount of food that the patient can eat.

Each of these bariatric surgery procedures has its own advantages and risks, and it is important to discuss the options with a qualified healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment. Bariatric surgery is generally considered a safe and effective treatment for obesity and related health issues, but it should only be considered as a last resort after other weight loss methods have failed. With the right type of bariatric surgery and proper post-operative care, patients can experience significant weight loss and improve their overall health and quality of life.

Qualifications for Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a medical procedure that can help individuals with obesity achieve significant weight loss and improve their overall health. However, not everyone is a good candidate for this surgery. There are certain qualifications that a person must meet in order to be considered for bariatric surgery.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

The first qualification for bariatric surgery is a high body mass index (BMI). Generally, individuals with a BMI of 40 or higher are considered to have severe obesity and may be eligible for bariatric surgery. Those with a BMI between 30 and 40 may also be considered if they have co-existing conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea.

Co-existing Conditions

In addition to a high BMI, individuals are also considered for surgery based on co-existing conditions that are related to their obesity. These conditions may include diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, or joint problems. Bariatric surgery can help improve or even resolve these conditions, leading to better overall health.

Age and Health Status

Age and overall health status are also important considerations for bariatric surgery. While there is no specific age limit for bariatric surgery, most doctors will not perform the procedure on individuals who are younger than 16 years old or over 70. Additionally, individuals are assessed for other medical conditions that could increase the risk of surgery.

Psychological Evaluation

Finally, individuals must undergo a psychological evaluation to ensure they are mentally prepared for the surgery and the lifestyle changes that come with it. Bariatric surgery is not a quick fix for weight loss, and patients must commit to making significant changes in their diet and exercise habits.

Post-Surgery Recovery

Bariatric surgery is a weight loss surgery that helps people who are obese to lose weight by altering their digestive system. After undergoing this surgery, it is important to follow a strict post-operative care plan to ensure a smooth recovery. In this article, we will discuss the different aspects of post-surgery recovery for bariatric surgery.

Hospital Stay

After bariatric surgery, patients are usually required to stay in the hospital for 1-2 days to monitor their condition and ensure that they are recovering well. During this time, patients are given pain medications and are advised to get out of bed and walk around as much as possible to prevent blood clots from forming.

Pain Management

Pain is a common side effect of bariatric surgery, and it can be managed with prescription pain medication. Patients are advised to take their pain medication as prescribed and to avoid overexerting themselves.

Wound Care

Bariatric surgery involves making keyhole incisions in the abdomen, and proper wound care is essential to prevent infection. Patients are advised to keep their incision sites clean and dry, and to avoid lifting heavy objects or engaging in strenuous activities until their doctor gives them the go-ahead.

Follow-Up Appointments

After being discharged from the hospital, patients will need to attend regular follow-up appointments with their bariatric surgeon to monitor their progress and ensure that they are healing properly. These appointments may include blood tests, imaging tests, and consultations with other healthcare professionals.

Potential Side Effects

There are a number of potential side effects associated with bariatric surgery, both short-term and long-term.

Short-term Side Effects

Short-term side effects of bariatric surgery can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting

Nausea is common on the first day after surgery, and patients may be given medications to help manage these symptoms.

  • Infections

Infections can rarely occur at the incision site or in other parts of the body, and patients should be vigilant for signs of infection such as redness, swelling, or discharge.

  • Blood Clots

Blood clots can form in the legs or lungs after any form of surgery, which can be life-threatening. Patients are advised to get up and walk around as much as possible to prevent blood clots from forming.

Long-term Side Effects

Long-term side effects of bariatric surgery can include:

  • Malnutrition

Bariatric surgery can impact nutrient absorption in the body, and patients may need to take vitamin and mineral supplements for the rest of their lives.

  • Dumping Syndrome

Dumping syndrome occurs when food moves too quickly through the digestive system, causing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Rare to be problematic. More common with gastric bypass.

  • Gallstones

Gallstones can form after bariatric surgery from the rapid weight loss, and patients may require additional surgery to remove them.

  • Hernias

Hernia can very rarely occur at the incision site, and patients should be vigilant for signs such as pain or a bulge in the abdomen.

Risks and Complications

Bariatric surgery is a major surgical procedure, and there are risks associated with both the surgery itself and the anesthesia used during the procedure.

  • Risks Associated with Surgery

Risks associated with bariatric surgery can include bleeding, infection, and organ damage.

  • Risks Associated with Anesthesia

Risks associated with anesthesia can include allergic reactions, breathing problems, and blood pressure changes.

  • Complications That May Arise

Complications that may arise after bariatric surgery include leakage from the stomach staple/stitching site, bowel obstruction (for gastric bypass), and infection.