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Surgeries for Weight Loss

Obesity does more than make it difficult to purchase clothing. It puts you at a significantly higher risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. It is important to know that several types of weight loss surgery are available. Working with your doctor and armed with a basic foundation of each surgery, choose the one that works best for you.

Vertical Banded Gastroplasty

Your surgeon places surgical staples into you stomach to severely reduce its size. He divides the stomach into an upper and lower chamber. A tiny opening is left between the two for food to pass through. A band is surgically placed around the opening between the two area so that it cannot be stretched by eating larger amounts.

The risks of this surgery include having the band wear away, which leaves room to overeat again, having the staples rip out–in some cases badly enough to require a repair surgery–or death by having an infection due to stomach acids leaking from the bottom half of the stomach into the top half.

Laparoscopic Gastric Banding

Laparoscopic gastric banding works by having a small inflatable band put around your upper stomach. It creates a tiny pouch, and leaves a very narrow passage between the upper and lower stomach areas. The band is filled with saline solution, and can be increased or decreased depending on the size desired. The band also creates a feeling of fullness after several bites of food. It is placed permanently, and only recommended for those who have more than 100 lb. to lose.

Risks and complications of this weight loss surgery include heartburn, stomach pain and vomiting. The band can also slip causing the pouch to enlarge, which defeats its purpose.

Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass

During the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure, the surgeon bypasses the upper part of your small intestine by making a small stomach pouch using surgical staples and attaching it to the middle part of your small intestine.

This severely limits the amount of food you can eat. It also causes a reduction in the absorption of nutrients and vitamins. One complication you may experience with this procedure is called dumping syndrome. This causes food to move too quickly through your body, and you have an immediate need to have a bowel movement after eating. Dumping syndrome can also trigger weakness, vomiting and sweating. Nutritional deficiencies must be addressed through vitamins or injections.

Biliopancreatic Diversion

Biliopancreatic diversion surgery is performed more often in Europe than in the U.S. A large part of your stomach is surgically removed, forever forcing you to eat much smaller quantities. A very small pouch is created that bypasses the upper intestine and attaches to the middle intestine. One channel remains that allows the bile and juices from the pancreas to mix and go into the colon. You lose weight because food is dumped directly into the colon and not absorbed. This surgery carries a significantly high risk of causing nutritional deficiencies.

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