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Weight Loss Surgery: All about Bariatric Procedures

Updated on June 13, 2014
Cmdr. Gordon Wisbach performing a Laparoscopic Surgery
Cmdr. Gordon Wisbach performing a Laparoscopic Surgery | Source

Weight Loss Surgery Pros and Cons

Weight Loss Surgery Pros
Weight Loss Surgery Cons
Decrease Weight Fast
Aesthetic Improvement
Self-Confidence Provider
Economic Cost

Why losing weight by surgery?

Submitting yourself to surgery with the objective of losing weight is not something to be taken lightly. If on one hand you got some benefits, there are lots of things against you. Hopefully, after reading this article, you think about what your objectives are and you weight pros and cons to decide if Weight Loss Surgery is for you.

So, why do you want to lose weight by surgery? Did you exhaust all your other options? Are you looking for a "quick fix"? Maybe you don't have time to workout and prefer to use money instead? Well, only the first option is an okay option - you should only submit yourself to weight loss surgeries if you exhaust all other options, because this kind of surgery is always a danger - I'll inform you of them later in this article.

Now, the reason why these procedures are rising in reputation and becoming more and more frequent are mainly two:

They are getting cheaper: Medical and Scientific advances are minimizing costs and making this kind of procedure simple and economic. Prices crash as a result of these advances and therefore more and more people jump aboard.

People are getting more aware of Health Concerns: Society is getting more aware of the dangers fat and obesity bring into your organism - hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol and heart diseases. People are now searching for ways to overcome these problems and prolong their longevity as a result.

Before we Begin

What Brought you here?

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What is Bariatric Weight Loss?

Bariatrics is the branch of medicine that dedicates itself to solving and preventing obesity problems. So what is Bariatric Weight Loss? It's the simple process of losing weight trough Bariatric treatments.

So, when people are advising you to try Bariatric Weight Loss they are not advising you to get surgery - they are advising you to go to a specialist, as Bariatrics involve dieting and exercise along with therapy (it's not just surgeries). In fact, surgery is the last resort - complications are common in a high percentage of cases so you should always try everything before considering it.

There are lots of causes to obesity, so you should consult a bariatric professional to sort out what's your problem and how to better tackle it - don't just go to a regular physician and hope for the best.

Test: Are you ready for Surgery?

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Option 1: Gastric "Lap Band" Procedure

This procedure treats the patient by restricting the amount he/she can eat. An inflatable adjustable gastric band is placed around the stomach - around the top part of it. This way the patient feels full much earlier than without it - because of the constriction.

Another fact is that if the patient eats too much just for gluttony the compressed stomach makes him feel ill and he won't soon commit the same mistake again.

You're now asking for details, I bet, so I'm going to give them to you:

Placement: The placement of the band isn't made by cutting you off in half like an open-heart surgery. Instead, professionals use the laparoscopic procedure which allows for a faster recovery, shorter hospital stay and reduced health risks.

Lap-Band Functioning: The band doesn't only compress the stomach to make the food fill it faster. It helps in one of the cores of weight problems - metabolism. The Gastric Band makes the patient's digestion run slower than usual and reduces the rate at which the stomach empties.

Adjusting the Lap Band: The band doesn't need continuous surgeries to adjust. After the patient loses some weight, the lap band needs to be adjusted to fit the smaller stomach. This is done by injecting a saline solution on the band. Simple as that.

Lap Band Dangers and Complications

This is the bad part. I'm not going to lie, gastric procedures are always risky, even if the risk is minimized at maximum. It's one of the reasons it is always advised that you try everything before resorting to surgery.

Here are some possible side-effects and complications:

  • Ulceration
  • Infection of the fluid of the band
  • Chest Pain
  • Blood Clots
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Erosion of the Stomach
  • Gall Stones
  • Death

So, make sure everything is done properly and that you and your bariatric specialist work together in getting you the best plan possible.

Option 2: The Gastric Bypass aka Gastroplasty

The Gastric Bypass, also known as Gastroplasty, is an alternative to the lap band procedure - although a little more aggressive. This procedure consists of dividing the stomach into a big pouch and a small pouch, connecting them both to the small intestine. This, as the other option, scales down the amount of food that can be ingested and digested.

This surgery was the first one to appear and is a bit old fashioned - cutting up pieces of the body instead of simply regulating them with a lap-band - but it delivers results. Weight loss is drastic and fast and diabetes, hypertension and other obesity-related problems usually recede.

You have to be careful with your diet after this surgery, as some types of food cannot be eaten or drunk again.

This procedure registers 0.5% of Death Risk, as in:

"Complications and Costs for Obesity Surgery Declining". Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 29 April 2009.


Gastric Bypass Problems and Complications

The procedure, like any other injury the body can sustain, increases the body's coagulation capabilities (a defense mechanism to prevent you from bleeding out), so one of the dangers is Venous Thromboembolism.

The death rate is as mentioned above, the 0.5%

Another reality is the nutrient deficits the controlled diet may cause - for example Iron must be supplied to the patient to play it safe, as well as Zinc, Proteins and some Vitamins.

Because of the changes in the digestive tract, alcohol tolerance is virtually none, so extreme caution is to be taken when dealing with alcoholic beverages or food. Ulcers are a problem too.

Like the Lap Band, Gastric Bypass should not be made without a proper plan lined out by your Bariatrist. There is no better way to do weight loss treatments than to work with your physician.

Final Note: Decide if surgery is for you!

So, given the info about these two Bariatric Procedures, you got to take some time to analyze the situation your in and to decide if the risks are worth taken. Have you tried all conventional weight loss methods? They are by far the best for your health and body.

If you are thinking about your health, know that surgery doesn't give half of the benefits exercising and dieting will provide you. Think green!

On the other hand, if you have tried everything and to no avail - consult a Bariatrist.

Things to do before thinking of surgery:

Psychiatric Therapy
Social Engagement
Support Group
Healthy Diet
Improving self-confidence
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Eating Habits
Value Yourself

Opinion Time

What kind of surgery are you planning to do?

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    • Rui Carreira profile imageAUTHOR

      Rui Carreira 

      6 years ago from Torres Novas

      Hello Ana ;)

      Yeah I agree... it's always good to think green and do stuff the natural way, as nature intended.

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S Jain 

      6 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      If you are a foodie and cannot control the urge of eating, Bariatric surgery can help as it helps to reduce the intake of food. I have seen many lose weight that way. Many of them got rid of hypertension and diabetes after undergoing the surgery too. But how effective can such a surgery be on someone who is picky about food and do not have hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol or heart disease? I wonder... I think anytime healthy diet and exercise is better for weight loss than surgery. Anyways, a nice overview of the types of Bariatric Surgery and their side effects. Hub voted up and useful.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi Rui. This is a great hub. I love the way you wrote it and designed it. I know a couple people who had this surgery and had a terrible time dealing with the side effects. One lady died related to alcohol consumption after the surgery. It's definitely a risky step to take to treat obesity. Shared, and voted up and useful! Take care, Kelley

    • Rui Carreira profile imageAUTHOR

      Rui Carreira 

      6 years ago from Torres Novas

      Haha! See? Wasn't that nice? Thanks Millar *hug*

    • Msmillar profile image


      6 years ago from Valley Springs

      Hi Rui. What hub! I had a couple of friends have this done. Pretty trippy stuff. I love the spacers. I like making my own spacers too! (*friendly hug, pat on the back, nice!)

    • Rui Carreira profile imageAUTHOR

      Rui Carreira 

      6 years ago from Torres Novas

      Thanks for the support Sushma!

    • Sushma Webber profile image

      Sushma Webber 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi Rui, Great work. Keep it up! Very helpful article. Voted up.

    • Rui Carreira profile imageAUTHOR

      Rui Carreira 

      6 years ago from Torres Novas

      Thanks for the sweet comment TravelAbout, and for the pat in the back :)

    • Rui Carreira profile imageAUTHOR

      Rui Carreira 

      6 years ago from Torres Novas

      Ahah.. thanks Maren :D

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I like your casual terminology in the opinion poll!

    • TravelAbout profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Rui...nice job. I like how you explained the surgical options as well as the procedures involved in each type of surgery


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