When is Obesity Surgery an Option to Lose Weight?

It's a subject for great concern when you hear in the news and in magazine articles about how a growing percentage of the population in many western countries is becoming obese. There doesn't appear to be any end to the problem as more and more people are literally eating themselves to death. Their weight increases to such a dangerous level that drastic corrective surgery becomes the only option to actually save their lives. So let's look at when obesity surgery becomes the only option to lose weight for these people and what is involved in this last resort, last ditch attempt to reverse a person's weight problem.

A Big Problem

bariatric weight lossTo get into the situation where obesity surgery of one form or another is prescribed by a doctor, a person really has to have become extremely overweight. When this happens, the body becomes so encased in layers of distended fat cells that vital organs struggle to function at all. The heart in particular is placed under an enormous amount of stress to pump blood around a body that has grown so large that it is on the point of failing. All through this, the person continues to eat at an incredible rate and claims that they simply cannot stop themselves.

Of course, this is not entirely true just as it is not true that an alcoholic cannot stop drinking. They can when they put their mind to it and beat a physical addiction to a chemical that is far worse and far more addictive than food could ever be. What is really happening here is that a person who gets into this state is simply too lazy to get themselves out of it and they expect medical science to come to the rescue so they don't have to do it for themselves.

Doctor Dilemma

So when this stage is reached, the person's doctor has little choice than to recommend obesity surgery to try and stop the person eating themselves into an early jumbo sized grave.

The weight loss surgery options available to the surgeon are divided into three main type, which are restrictive surgery, malabsorptive surgery and combined restrictive/malabsorptive surgery.

  1. Restrictive surgery for weight loss are designed to limit the amount of food the patient can physically eat and this includes procedures such as stomach stapling, fitting a gastric band or inserting an expandable bladder into the stomach, al of which reduce its physical size.
  2. Malabsorptive surgery for weight loss include bariatric surgery, otherwise known as gastric bypass surgery, which bypasses the majority of the small intestine thereby reducing the amount of nutrients the body can absorb from the food that is consumed. This type of surgery comes with the risk of malnutrition and is generally not recommended except in extreme or life threatening cases of obesity.
  3. Restrictive/malabsorptive surgery is a combination of the above two by both restricting the size of the stomach and partially bypassing the small intestine and while being less dangerous is still a major operation and not one to be taken lightly.

Careful Consideration

These methods of losing weight are not for casual use and come with many dangerous potential complications that in themselves can be fatal if not treated immediately. They are specifically for people who have gone beyond the point of no return for traditional non surgical methods of losing weight.

If you feel you are getting to the point where you are unable to walk or realistically move around through excessive weight, you should consult your doctor who will usually refer you to a consultant. Before you get to this stage, you can still avert the seriousness of this by altering your diet and trying to get out of the house and do some light exercise before its too late. You can read more about losing weight naturally in our collection of health articles by following that link.