If you’re reading this article, you’re likely considering bariatric surgery as a means to combat morbid obesity. It is also likely that you’ve tried a variety of weight-loss methods without much success.
Today, obesity has become one of the greatest health crises that we face. It is an epidemic that taxes not only individuals but communities and economies as well. Individuals who are morbidly obese are also at a higher risk of suffering from other obesity-related adverse health conditions. Moreover, the physical discomforts one faces with obesity, as well as the social stigma that comes with it, can make life vexing, to say the least. Many morbidly obese people find that a strict diet and exercise routine is often not enough to produce significant results in weight loss. For such individuals, bariatric surgery is one of the most effective alternative treatment options available. With the gathering amount of strong evidence of its effectiveness, it is no surprise that more and more people who haven’t been able to lose weight through conventional methods are opting for bariatric surgery. So, without much ado, let’s answer the question – “What is bariatric surgery?”
WHY DO I NEED BARIATRIC SURGERY
Before diving into the details, let’s consider why you would choose bariatric surgery as a treatment for morbid obesity.
Studies show that morbid obesity is a medical disorder that increases the risk of many diseases as well as mortality. Obesity-associated comorbidities include cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, non-alcoholic fatty liver, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and even some cancers. The level of risk for these diseases vastly increases as one’s BMI reaches above 35. For patients with a failed history of losing weight through exercising, dieting and even medication, bariatric surgery remains the best solution to avoid these health complications. Furthermore, the significant and prolonged weight loss achieved by bariatric surgery can also help with combating depression, low self-esteem and many other negative mental conditions as well as social prejudices associated with obesity.
WHAT IS BARIATRIC SURGERY?
Bariatric surgeries are a collection of surgical procedures that are used to treat morbid obesity and help patients achieve weight loss. They all involve making changes to the digestive system, limiting the amount of calories that the body absorbs. These surgeries are performed on patients who have failed to achieve results through conventional means of weight loss.
Bariatric surgeries have been improved over many years now and are currently among the most studied procedures in modern medicine. Most of them are minimally invasive as advances in technology allow these surgeries to be done with only small incisions made on the abdomen. Some procedures are carried out endoscopically, completely removing the need for surface incisions. As a result, many bariatric surgeries are associated with low amounts of pain, thus increasing the quality of the patient’s experience. Furthermore, they are extremely safe, with complication rates lower than those of many common surgeries.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF BARIATRIC SURGERY?
Bariatric surgeries can be categorized into three main groups based on how they work. They are:
- Restrictive procedures – These surgeries (as their name suggests), restrict the amount of food that can be consumed, and/ or held in the stomach. This is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach and as a result, its gastric reservoir. Restrictive bariatric surgeries include gastric banding, vertical banded gastroplasty (VBG) and sleeve gastrectomy.
- Malabsorptive procedures – In malabsorptive procedures, also known as gastric bypass surgeries, the digestive tract is shortened to reduce the amount of calories that can be absorbed by the body. Jejunoileal bypass, biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD – DS), are examples of malabsorptive procedures.
- Combination malabsorptive and restrictive procedures – These surgeries utilize both the above methods for better effect. The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGBP) is a very popular combination procedure. Sleeve gastrectomy is also considered to be a combination procedure by some experts.
Each of the above types of procedures has its own associated advantages and disadvantages. At HealthyWeight Australia, (HWA), our bariatric surgery packages include appointments with physicians who will discuss your condition with you and advise you on the treatment option which is best suited for you.
PATHWAY TO BARIATRIC SURGERY AT HEALTHYWEIGHT AUSTRALIA (HWA)
At HealthyWeight Australia, our bariatric surgery procedures are a comprehensive experience that guides you till the end so that you achieve the results that you desire.
The initial patient selection process determines suitable candidates with careful consideration of BMI, associated comorbidities, previous weight loss attempts, age and surgical risk of the patient as well as mental health. Screened candidates are subjected to a patient care pathway which includes pre-surgical medical assessment, evaluation, counselling and preoperative care.
Post-surgical follow-ups include regular monitoring for any complications and long-term monitoring of outcomes. A multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers will guide you with your nutritional and physical activity requirements to ensure maximum results.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS BARIATRIC SURGERY?
Currently, there is ample evidence to suggest that patients with morbid obesity receiving bariatric surgery achieve greater and sustained weight loss compared to conventional methods. The amount of weight lost depends directly on the individual as well as the type of surgery. Studies have shown that patients treated with gastric banding, gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy lost between 17 to 40 kilos over a year. Although bariatric surgery is a highly effective treatment option for weight loss, the patient’s commitment to a healthy lifestyle is required to achieve and maintain the best results.
EFFECT ON COMORBIDITIES
There isn’t enough evidence to prove that bariatric surgeries directly resolve obesity-related comorbidities. However, the resulting weight loss itself plays a vital part in improving the health of patients. Studies have shown that surgery has significantly improved type 2 diabetes in patients. Other comorbidities which show improvement after bariatric surgery include sleep apnea, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, asthma, non-alcoholic fatty liver and overall life expectancy.
EFFECT ON QUALITY OF LIFE
As bariatric surgeries has been around for a long time, many studies have been done on their effect on the quality of life. Research shows that surgery improves the psychological and social conditions of patients, leading to a better quality of life. This includes improvements in psychosocial functioning, self-image, happiness, social interactions and even job opportunities in comparison to pre-operation states. Furthermore, resolution of obesity-related comorbidities leading to an improvement in overall health also increases the quality of life.
Studies have shown that bariatric surgery is a far more cost-efficient treatment in the long run for morbid obesity rather than conventional treatments. Moreover, they also contribute towards lowering obesity-related non-medical costs. Over time, patients also benefit from a lowering of health care costs due to the improvement of obesity-related comorbidities.
ARE THERE ANY COMPLICATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH BARIATRIC SURGERY?
All types of surgeries are associated with certain risks. However, bariatric surgeries are considered remarkably safe, with a very low rate of serious adverse effects and an extremely low mortality rate.
Complications related to bariatric surgery can be categorized into acute and long-term risks. Acute complications include hemorrhage, infection, blood clots, gastrointestinal leaks and adverse reactions to anesthesia. Long-term complications may include bowel obstruction, diarrhea, vomiting, nutritional deficiencies and emotional disorders.
Each type of bariatric surgery has different risks associated with them. Your doctors at HealthyWeight Australia will advise you on the risks you will face depending on the surgery that you choose.
AM I A SUITABLE CANDIDATE FOR BARIATRIC SURGERY?
Bariatric surgery is not suitable for everyone suffering from obesity. Furthermore, it should never be the first option for weight loss. Surgery should only be considered after failing to achieve results through traditional methods of weight loss.
Bariatric surgery is usually offered to patients suffering from morbid obesity with a BMI of over 40. It may also be approved for patients with a BMI over 35 who are also suffering from one or more obesity-related comorbidities. (BMI or Body Mass Index is a measure of height in relation to weight that is used to define obesity levels)
TYPES OF BARIATRIC SURGERY OFFERED AT HEALTHYWEIGHT AUSTRALIA
At HealthyWeight Australia, we provide our patients with the most common and effective bariatric surgeries available: gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy.
Patients undergoing gastric bypass can select between the laparoscopic Omega bypass or mini bypass and the laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.
Click here to find out more about bariatric surgeries offered at HealthyWeight Australia.
COST OF DIFFERENT BARIATRIC SURGERIES AT HEALTHYWEIGHT AUSTRALIA
HWA believes in comprehensive pricing plans when it comes to our treatments. Our ALL-INCLUSIVE packages save our clients the hassle of combing through the fine print and trying to figure out which add-ons they might need. Starting off with unlimited appointments with our bariatric nurse practitioner, we cover all your pre and post-procedural needs. Furthermore, all our packages come with multiple price plans to fit your budget. Contact your insurance provider and find out if you are eligible for significantly reduced payments out-of-pocket. Click here to find out the exact pricing plans for all bariatric surgery treatments available at HealthyWeight Australia.