Extreme Fat Loss
Extreme Fat Loss Surgery: When Diet Isn’t Enough
When a person is severely overweight, medical weight loss procedures are sometimes necessary in order to facilitate extreme fat loss and thereby minimizing associated health risks. It’s imperative to understand the different procedures available and to discuss each one thoroughly with your doctor. The following is a brief rundown of some of the most popular weight loss surgeries available.
Gastric Bypass Surgery
This is the most common type of weight loss surgery and involves cutting and rerouting a portion of the intestine to minimize calorie absorption. This is a complex and invasive surgery and the changes to the digestive process are permanent. An individual who has had this surgery will find that his or her eating habits will be forever altered. Discuss this in-depth with your doctor before you decide if gastric bypass is right for you.
After gastric bypass surgery, weight usually comes off rapidly. While this certainly a viable option when extreme fat loss becomes necessary, there are risks that should be considered. Complications can include:
- Vitamin deficiencies from malabsorption
- Dumping syndrome (when sugar enters the bloodstream too rapidly)
- Acid reflux
Many insurance companies will cover a gastric bypass if the patient is 80-100 pounds overweight, constituting a medical need.
Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding (Lap Band)
The lap band is a safer and simpler procedure than the gastric bypass, and its results are not permanent. During this surgery, a silicon band is cinched around part of the stomach. A small balloon is connected to the band. The balloon can be filled with salt water to adjust the size of the stomach.
Laparoscopic banding doesn’t involve cutting or rerouting any tissue, and so the possible complications from this procedure are typically not as severe and include:
- Erosion of band
Initially, band patients might not see the extreme fat loss that a gastric bypass patient would. However, after the first year the numbers seem to even out and neither procedure can boast better results when it comes to sustained weight loss.
Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy (Gastric Sleeve)
This procedure is still in the testing phase, but has been successfully performed on many people around the world. A surgeon removes part of the stomach (around ¾ of it) and inserts a tube to be used as new stomach. This dramatically minimizes the stomach and thereby reduces the capacity for food intake. In addition, the portion of the stomach that is eliminated is where the hormone Ghrelin is produced. Grehlin creates feelings of hunger and so appetite is greatly reduced when it is no longer present.
Since this is a fairly new type of surgery, there are no long-term risk studies available and many surgeons are still relatively unfamiliar with it. It is irreversible, and insurance companies will not cover this procedure since it is considered experimental.
Patients have reported substantial weight loss soon after having this procedure, but sustained results have not yet been documented.
The Right Choice for You
If you are considering any type of extreme fat loss procedure, make sure to discuss all of the options with your doctor. You’ll want to review your medical history, any current conditions you may have, and many other factors to decide if you are a candidate for one of these surgeries. You may find that one is a better fit than another for your own individual set of reasons.
If your weight poses a medical risk, then weight loss surgery might be the way to go. A regular exercise routine and a balanced diet will help you to maintain the results and to reduce the chances of adverse complications.