What Can Be Done About Severe Obesity?
Eating less, more sensibly, and exercising more are the first recommended steps to take in order to reduce weight. But for people who are severely overweight, this solution probably sounds like an over-simplification. As most dieters will agree, adhering to a strict regimen is a difficult and sometimes painful task. Many of those who have succeeded in losing some excess weight have found themselves quickly returning to their old weight when they discontinue dieting. The result is another diet, a meal replacement drink or a perceived "wonder pill." This cycle of weight-loss-weight-gain, weight-loss-weight-gain, or the yo-yo effect, may make it harder to lose weight in the future, although even temporary weight loss may be helpful.
Seeking professional help from a physician or dietitian for nutritional counseling can help you change your lifestyle, and a program of improved eating habits and exercise will be important in your progress. These specialists may also prescribe certain drugs to temporarily reduce your appetite. Some people find that keeping a journal of their food intake, exercise, weight loss, and goals can aid them. However, numerous studies have demonstrated that diets and weight-loss aids rarely succeed in helping severely obese people achieve the desired result of long-lasting weight reduction.
Drugs have been developed to assist in weight loss and weight-loss maintenance. Unfortunately, no drug therapy has been shown to result in substantial and sustained weight loss in people suffering from severe obesity. Jaw-wiring, hypnosis, counseling and other non-surgical methods have not been shown to be effective in the long-term.
If diets, exercise programs, medications and other non-surgical methods have failed to help you lose excess weight and keep it off, an operation to reduce the capacity of the stomach may be an option. It is important to remember that a positive attitude is fundamental to the success of the surgery. Only if you are well motivated and committed to losing weight and keeping it off can this operation help you achieve the desired result of long-term weight loss.
You should consider the following. If you are then comfortable with your decision to have WLS, you should do some research and become familiar with all aspects of each weight-loss procedure.
Can you comply with the therapy and follow up that is so necessary after weight loss surgery?
You have to follow the directions of your surgeon, especially diet, exercise, labs and office follow up. The surgery is a only a tool. Results are only as good as your use of this tool. It would be disastrous if one depended on the surgery alone to "take care of the obesity". There will never be a break in following the guidelines set forth by your surgeon regarding diet, exercise and follow up. You are making a life long commitment.
Are you looking for the surgery for the right reasons? Do you just want to look better?
Bariatric surgery is NOT done for cosmetic reasons. It is always done to improve failing health. If you meet the medical criteria, you are doing it for health reasons. Feeling better is the goal, looking better is a nice "side effect".
Have you made many attempts at weight loss?
Only you can decide if you have reached the point where you have exhausted all other options to lose weight. You are making a serious decision that only YOU can make, once you feel you are well informed about the risks and benefits of weight loss surgery.
Are you comfortable with your decision? Are you apprehensive?
Once you are feeling comfortable with your decision to make a lifestyle change forever and you know you can do it, you are ready. If you know exactly and feel comfortable with how the surgery rearranges your digestive system and the short and long-term risks of bariatric surgery, you are ready. If you have found a surgeon that you feel very comfortable with, you are ready. If you are apprehensive about the whole process, you are normal!!
Types of surgical procedures
There are two basic types of surgical procedures for obesity: Malabsorptive and Restrictive.
1. Malabsorptive - Shortening the digestive tract
In this procedure, the majority of the stomach is excluded from the digestive process by suturing or stapling, and a lower portion of the intestines is attached to the small stomach pouch. Most of the stomach and part of the intestines are bypassed. The result: Reduced absorption of nutrients and calories.
2. Restrictive - Reducing the stomach capacity
In this procedure the capacity of the stomach is restricted by suturing or stapling. You achieve the feeling of satiety (fullness) when the small stomach pouch is full. The result: Food intake is limited. This procedure is done less often now, since the arrival of the Lap Band because this band is not adjustable, in cases where there are problems eating or not losing weight appropriately.
In this procedure the capacity of the stomach is made smaller by placing an adjustable band around the upper part of the stomach. No cutting or stapling is required to create division between the upper stomach pouch and lower stomach. You achieve the feeling of satiety (fullness) when the small stomach pouch above the band is full. The result: Food intake is limited. The band, unlike the Vertical Banded Gastroplasty, is designed to be adjusted as your situation requires.
The advantage of reducing the capacity of the stomach
Food provides energy. It arrives in the body via the alimentary canal, which consists of the mouth, the esophagus, the stomach, and the small and large intestines. The digestive process begins in the mouth with chewing and the addition of saliva. After the food passes through the esophagus, this process continues in the stomach. Gastric juices which contain enzymes break down the food so that the energy can be carried further into the body by the circulation of the blood. The stomach then serves as temporary storage for food.
Reducing the capacity of the stomach makes the food storage area smaller so that the feeling of fullness is achieved sooner. The stomach digests nutrients and calories normally.
The LAP-BAND System uses innovative surgical technology to help you attain desirable weight-loss results by reducing the capacity of the stomach and lengthening the feeling of satiety. The ultimate success of the LAP-BAND System surgery, however, also depends on your motivation and commitment to achieving long-lasting weight loss.