SolveYourProblem Series: Adult & Child Obesity
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Are Gastric Bypass & Lap Band Surgery Right For Me?

Obesity surgery is also known as weight loss surgery. A more technical term would be bariatric surgery. There are actually several types of bariatric surgery. If you're looking to lose weight and reverse obesity then surgery may be an option.

Who is Obesity Surgery For?

Obesity surgery is often prescribed for individuals whose health is at extreme risk. For example, if blood pressure or cholesterol is at dangerous levels a doctor may believe surgery is the best option. However, obesity surgery isn't an easy fix. People who undergo obesity surgery have to be committed to lifestyle changes. The surgery demands it. And recovery can take quite a while. Weight loss surgery is only recommended if a person is motivated to lose weight and dedicated to the process.

Types of Obesity Surgery

The most common type of obesity surgery may be Gastric Bypass. With this procedure the surgeon staples closed a large portion of your stomach. The remaining stomach size holds about an ounce of food. It's about the size of a walnut. Your intestine is then relocated to connect to this smaller stomach. During this surgery you would undergo general anesthesia.

Some physicians perform the surgery with a laparoscope. A small tool, tube shaped with a camera at the end. The surgeon then only has to make a small incision in your abdomen and you have a shorter hospital stay.

After the surgery you won't be able to eat for a few days. After that you'll be on a liquid diet for several weeks. You'll gradually graduate to pureed foods and then to solid foods. This specialty diet lasts approximately three months. After that, you'll only be able to eat very small amounts of food. You'll also have to eat them very slowly. Too much too fast and you'll vomit. It can be quite painful.

Most patients lose fifty to sixty percent of their weight in the first two years. So the surgery works. However, you want to make sure you're willing to live with the new lifestyle and recovery time required.

The Lap Band surgery is another type of weight loss surgery. With this surgery, doctors place a band around the top of your stomach. It has the same effect of reducing your stomach size. However, unlike a Gastric Bypass, the surgery doesn't require your intestine to be relocated. The Lap Band instead restricts the flow of food from the top of your stomach to the bottom of your stomach. This gives you a sense of fullness so you don't overeat.

The Lap Band is also adjustable and doctors will re-evaluate your Lap Band approximately four to six weeks after surgery.

With both types of surgeries there is a risk of death. There are other potential side effects and risks with obesity surgery. There are also significant recovery periods for both surgeries. If you believe you're a candidate for weight loss surgery talk with your doctor about all of the risks and requirements for the surgery. It's a weight loss solution that has changed many lives for the better. However, it doesn't come without risks.

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