How Weight Loss Surgery Works

Weight loss surgeries, known as bariatric surgeries, such as gastric banding or bypass, for example, work by modifying the stomach and altering the normal process of digestion and absorption of nutrients, helping people to lose weight and gain quality of life. .

The surgeries to lose weight are indicated for people with a BMI greater than 35 or 40, as they are considered obese or with morbid obesity and, normally, the surgeries help to lose between 10% to 40% of the weight.

When surgery can be indicated

The surgeries to lose weight are most often recommended by the doctor when no other weight loss strategy has had an effect, that is, when not even with diet, physical activity, supplements or medicines the person can lose the established weight.

The type of surgery varies according to the goal of weight loss:

  • Improved health, in these cases it is recommended to perform  bariatric surgery , in which the size of the stomach is reduced so that the amount of food ingested is less, which promotes weight loss. This surgery is indicated for people who have morbid obesity and it is important that after the surgery, the person besides being accompanied by the endocrinologist, have an adequate diet and practice physical activity;
  • Aesthetics, in which liposuction can be indicated  , which aims to remove the layers of fat. This surgery is not considered a weight loss surgery, as it does not promote weight loss, but an aesthetic surgery in which it is possible to eliminate large amounts of localized fat more quickly.

The performance of surgeries should be indicated by the doctor according to the person’s needs and the relationship between weight loss and health improvement. In addition to surgeries, there are other aesthetic methods that help eliminate localized fat without the need for surgery, such as lipocavitation, cryolipolysis and radiofrequency, for example. Learn  more about treatments to lose belly.

Bariatric surgery techniques

Generally, weight loss surgeries are performed under general anesthesia, and can be performed by laparotomy , making an extensive cut to open the patient’s belly, leaving a scar about 15 to 25 cm above the umbilical scar or through laparoscopy , some holes are made in the abdomen, where the instruments and a video camera pass to perform the surgery, leaving the patient with a very small scar, approximately 1 cm.

Before surgery, the patient must be evaluated by the doctor, take a blood test and perform an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy to assess whether he is able to undergo bariatric surgery. In addition, in normal cases, the surgery can take between 1 and 3 hours, and the hospital stay can vary between 3 days to a week.

Types of weight loss surgery 

The most common stomach surgeries that help you lose weight include gastric band placement, gastric bypass, gastrectomy and the intragastric

1. Gastric band to lose weight

The gastric band is a weight loss surgery that consists of placing a band around the upper part of the stomach and dividing the stomach into two parts, causing the person to eat small amounts of food, as their stomach is smaller.

In this surgery, no cut is made in the stomach, it is just squeezed like a balloon, decreasing in size. Learn more at: Gastric band to lose weight .

2. Gastric bypass to lose weight

In the gastric bypass, a cut is made in the stomach that divides it into two parts, a smaller and a larger one. The smallest part of the stomach is the one that remains functioning and the largest, although it has no function, remains in the body.

In addition, a direct connection is made between the small stomach and a part of the intestine which, by having a shorter path, leads to the absorption of small amounts of nutrients and calories. Learn more at Gastric bypass to

3. Intragastric balloon to lose weight

In the intragastric balloon technique, a balloon is placed inside the stomach that is made of silicone and is filled with saline. When the individual ingests food, it is over the balloon, giving the feeling of satiety very quickly.

This surgery is done through an endoscopy, with no need for general anesthesia and leads to a loss of up to 13% of body weight. However, the balloon must be removed 6 months after placement. See more at: Intragastric balloon to lose weight.

4. Vertical gastrectomy to lose weight

Gastrectomy consists of removing the left part of the stomach and removing ghrelin, which is a hormone responsible for the sensation of hunger and, therefore, leads to decreased appetite and decreased food intake.

In this surgery, the normal absorption of nutrients occurs, as the intestine does not change and up to 40% of the initial weight can be lost. Learn more at: Vertical gastrectomy to lose weight. 

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