Weight Loss Surgery
Each year approximately two hundred weight loss procedures are carried out in England and Wales. Weight loss surgery can decrease body weight by a staggering 80 percent and is considered as a last resort for patients that have tried all other methods of losing weight without any luck. As the rates of obesity rise across the world, the number of people seeking weight loss surgery is also increasing. However, Health Authorities are keen to promote preventive measures such as healthy eating and regular exercise, rather than glorifying weight loss surgery. People should be aware that weight loss surgery is a huge demand on both physical and mental strength and is not a miracle cure for being overweight; losing a large amount of weight is not easy and it requires a lot of determination and willpower, but there are thousands of people who have managed to shed the pounds without surgery so it is possible.
Types of weight loss surgery
There are three main types of weight loss surgery; these are explained in further detail below:
Gastric band surgery
Gastric band surgery involves fitting a band around the upper portion of the stomach; this effectively halves the size of the stomach, which means only a small amount of food can be eaten. Patients with gastric bands often feel full quickly and are therefore much less likely to eat more than their body needs. Gastric band surgery can be a risky procedure as it can result in infection in the intestine and bowel; however, the chances of complications are low and the risks associated with being morbidly obese far outweigh the risks associated with this procedure. People with a BMI (body mass index) of over 45 are usually not advised to have this type of treatment as it carries too many risks.
Gastric bypass surgery is similar to the gastric band procedure but involves the new stomach (after the band has been fitted and the size of the stomach decreased) being diverted to the small intestine, rather than being attached to the rest of the stomach. Gastric bypass surgery carries higher risks that other types of weight loss surgery and is not carried out on patients with a BMI of over 45.
Gastric balloon (also known as intra-gastric balloon)
This method works in the same way as the other two because it effectively makes the stomach smaller and therefore the patient feels full after only a small amount of food; however, it uses a balloon to achieve this instead of using a band to section of an area of the stomach. The balloon is made of silicone and is implanted into the stomach during a short operation. In most cases, the balloon is taken out after 6 months.