According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) more than one third of the American population is obese. Obesity comes with a host of co morbidities ranging from type 2 diabetes mellitus to heart problems to arthritis and stroke. Obesity is crudely defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30. Bariatric surgery is a branch of surgery that helps obese individuals in reducing their weight and reduces the risk of suffering from the co morbidities of obesity by modifying the passage through which food passes through the body. Earlier bariatric surgeries were open surgeries and came with a significant mortality. Now as we switch to a laparoscopic mode, bariatric surgeries have become a safe way to help obese individuals. About 196,000 bariatric surgeries happen annually in the USA.
There are many types of bariatric surgeries. Most of them are done laparoscopically. To begin the surgery you will be given a general anaesthesia hence you will be unconscious throughout the procedure and hence won’t feel any pain. A tube will be passed through your mouth into your wind pipe to ensure proper breathing during the surgery. Your surgeon will make small incisions on your abdomen to introduce ports into your abdominal cavity through which instruments and camera will be inserted to facilitate the surgery. Carbon dioxide is pumped into the abdomen to inflate it for better visibility. The surgery then proceeds according to the type decided upon by you and the surgeon.
Bariatric surgery is indicated for individuals with
To prepare for the surgery you will have appointments with several health care providers like dieticians, surgeons, internists, and psychiatrists. Your doctor will take a detailed history and do a thorough physical examination. Multiple blood tests will be ordered to check for your fitness for the surgery. If you are a smoker you will be advised to stop smoking at least 6 weeks before the surgery. Your dietician will explain the diet restrictions that you will be facing after the surgery and help you prepare for it. Your surgeon will explain the procedure to you and will also you guide you through the preparations for the surgery. A psychiatrist will evaluate you to ensure that bariatric surgery is the right choice for you. It is advisable to incorporate lifestyle changes before surgery to bring the blood sugar level to normal before the surgery as this will reduce the chances of complications after the surgery.
Immediate risks associated with the surgery are:
After the surgery, you will be kept at the hospital for mentoring. You will not be allowed to ingest anything orally for about two days to give time to your stomach and intestine to heal. After that, your dietician will ask you to follow a very strict diet for the next 12 or so weeks. You will start taking food in the form of liquids and then proceed to add semi-solid food followed by solid food. Your dietician will inform you about which food and beverages to avoid. With the food regimen, you will be prescribed vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure adequate nutrients to reach your body. Walking and moving around the house will help you recover quickly. There will be frequent checkups scheduled with your doctor for the first few months after the surgery to monitor your recovery and weight loss. You may experience body aches, feeling of tiredness, hair fall and thinning, and mood swings during the first few months after the surgery. In addition to weight loss, there will also be an improvement in your lab reports for type 2 diabetes mellitus, in the blood pressure readings for hypertension, and a reduction in the symptoms of gastro Esophageal reflux disease.