Thursday, May 29, 2008

What Are the Current Weight Loss Surgery Techniques Available?

The preferred method of losing weight is by dieting and an exercise program.

But sometimes other methods are needed. And the reasons are many, among them are long-term poor development of willpower, genetic disposition, disease or other factors. Maintaining the proper weight for the obese sometimes requires outside assistance.

Because fad diets rarely work for very long, and nutritional supplements and other compounds can only help to a degree, for the truly obese, weight loss surgery is the only hope. In today's market, there are many types of weight loss surgery techniques. All have their own pros and cons. The most important criteria therefore, are effectiveness, risk and side effects.

Surgical procedures have advanced over the past few decades. Most of them have attained their goal, which is bringing about substantial weight loss. That loss comes about usually as the result of restricted caloric intake, by eating less, or by absorbing less of the food that is eaten.

An early type of weight loss surgery technique was referred to a bypass surgery. All or part of the stomach was removed and the digestive system reconnected. Originally extremely dangerous, it has evolved but still carries substantial risks. It is no longer the preferred method. Patients who undergo the procedure have to take supplements forever after and the risk of disease and nutritional deficiencies remains high.

Another weight loss surgery technique that has been around for many years is called stomach stapling. Initially highly dangerous, it has become much safer in the past 10 years.

The procedure consists of opening the patient and clamping portions of the stomach with specialized surgical staples. Newer methods sometimes make possible laparoscopy, in which a small hole is created through which the surgeon works, but the patient isn't opened up.

There are risks of bleeding, though small. Patients can become ill if they attempt to eat more than the recommended amount. They may also suffer from nutritional deficiencies that can be lifelong, requiring supplements.

The net effect is to create a smaller stomach, leading to a more rapid feeling of fullness. The patient simply eats less and therefore takes in fewer calories. The body turns to stored fat for energy and the result is less fat and lower weight.

A newer form involves installing an adjustable Lap Band around the stomach. This eliminates the need to puncture the stomach and makes it possible for the physician to adjust the effect as the patient loses weight.

Generally safe, the procedure can be done on an outpatient basis. Most consider it a minor inconvenience, though like any medical procedure it's expensive and insurance companies increasingly won't pay for it.

The band itself is not painful. Patients typically experience rapid weight loss, but at the same time (as fat comes out of adipose tissue) many hormonal changes take place. Close, regular medical observation is important for the success of the procedure and the health of the patient.

There are dozens of various types of weight loss surgery today. But whichever procedure an individual considers, careful thought should be given to weighing the risks and benefits. For many, a commitment to long-term dietary and lifestyle changes is a better option. For those who believe surgery is the best option, consulting with an experienced physician is essential.

Gary Machado writes on a variety of topics on health issues. Did you find these tips on weight management useful? For more information go to:


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