Obesity surgery is only performed for severe, chronic obesity which cannot be treated with diet control and exercise alone. This surgery is performed on the stomach and / or intestine. Severely obese people who have tried all other means of weight reduction are good candidates for obesity surgery. The main aim of this surgery is to reduce the intake of food which ultimately reduces weight. Some surgeries interrupt the way food is digested and absorbed. This prevents calories and vitamins from being absorbed and hence the tendency to gain weight is reduced.
Under normal circumstances, the food you eat moves along the digestive tract and the digestive juices and enzymes that are present help in absorbing the calories and other nutrients. When the food reaches the stomach strong acids aid the process of digestion. The food moves to the small intestine and is further digested by bile and other pancreatic juices. Iron and calcium is generally absorbed here. Other nutrients are absorbed by the small intestine gradually. The other food particles that are not digested in the small intestine are passed on to the large intestine and are eliminated from there.
In obesity surgery, the intake of food itself is restricted. Along with surgery, the patient is also given a food and exercise routine which he must follow for life. There are four different ways in which this surgery is performed.
Here are a few ways in which this surgery is carried out:
1. A small bracelet type band is placed round the top of the stomach. The size of the opening is controlled with a circular balloon inside the band. The balloon is inflated or deflated with a saline solution as per patient requirements. This mainly decreases the food intake and hence fosters weight loss.
2. The second method creates a small pouch similar to the one above and food is sent directly from the pouch to the small intestine. The stomach, upper intestine and the duodenum are no longer in contact with the food. Thus, the way the intestine absorbs food is also altered.
3. In another method, a large part of the stomach is actually removed. The patient thus feels full sooner and eats less. The food is also redirected so that a large part of the small intestine is skipped. This method is known for its quick results.
4. In the last method, most of the stomach is removed. This greatly reduces the generation of the hormone that prompts appetite.
These changes are for life. So, always remember that once you have opted for this surgery, there is going to be a lifetime commitment in terms for food, nutrition, exercise and overall lifestyle change. Doctors will prescribe additional vitamins and minerals. Make sure that you do not skip them. They are essential because most of the intestines are skipped and this makes food absorption poor.
Overall, this surgery could help you maintain a healthy weight, provided you stick to the rules and follow all the instructions given by your doctor religiously.