Is Weight Reduction Surgery the Right Choice?
In the last fifty years, obesity has skyrocketed. As of 2012, more than 30% of adults were overweight enough to be considered to have weight reduction surgery. Because of this epidemic, everyone seems to be looking for a way to lose weight. One of the most effective ways to lose weight is to cut sugars completely and exercise. However, this may be impossible for some people, or it may just not work. If you feel like your weight is impacting your health and you just cannot seem to lose it, you may qualify for weight reduction surgery.
Before you try this, however, it is important that you understand who is allowed to get this kind of surgery, what the dangers are, and what the recovery would be like. Like most surgeries, it can be dangerous and deserves special consideration.
Dangers of Weight Reduction Surgery
This is a permanent procedure that requires a permanent lifestyle change. It is very rare doctors will recommend it without very specific criteria being met. You will need to be under general anesthesia, which has its own dangers depending on your health and family history. You will have to stick to a very strict diet for the rest of your life or risk serious stomach pain.
The surgery itself can be dangerous, as all surgeries can. The most popular type of weight loss surgery, Gastric Bypass surgery, had a 0.15% mortality rate in 2008. While this rate is very small, it is still something to consider before choosing surgery over other weight loss methods.
Other dangers include lifelong complications, which are surprisingly common after these surgeries. 40% of patients had trouble after eating any type of fatty food, from intestinal leaks to diarrhea. The surgery shrinks the part of the body that absorbs nutrients so you may need to take vitamins every day for the rest of your life or risk a nutrient deficiency.
What are the Qualifications?
Who is allowed to get weight reduction surgery and who cannot? There are several qualifications patients must meet. If you are serious about trying weight loss surgery, your must have made previous efforts with dieting and exercising. Your BMI (body mass index) must be 40 or higher, which is considered extreme obesity. Either that or you must have a BMI of 35-39.9 combined with a health problem like type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, there are certain things that automatically disqualify a person from having weight reduction surgery, such as being too overweight. Any kind of surgery is made riskier when the patient is overweight. Because of this, your doctor may actually recommend losing weight before the surgery or be against it altogether.
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These qualifications are somewhat flexible, depending on the health problems you have.
What to Expect During the Surgery and Rehabilitation
A week before the surgery, you will have to stop taking asprin products and any herbal supplements. You will only be allowed to eat and drink clear liquids 24-48 hours before the surgery.
The actual surgery will last one to four hours and you will be put under general anesthesia. During the surgery, the doctor will remove part of your stomach to make it smaller, and you will feel full sooner. This is not a reversible process.
After surgery, you will be watched in the hospital for a little while to make sure everything is settling okay. You will be on pain medication and will only be allowed to eat liquids for awhile. You will probably never be able to eat like you did before again, as this surgery requires a permanent diet change.
Do the Benefits Outweigh the Dangers?
Simply put, it depends. Assuming that you have a weight related health problem, then yes. Keep in mind that it will take a long time for your body to return to normal after the surgery and that recovery can be painful.
However, it is highly effective, which is probably the greatest contributor to its popularity. It can help patients improve weight related health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea. It helps people to make permanent lifestyle changes and improve their general health.