Weight Loss Surgery (Bariatric Surgery)
Sometimes, exercise and diet alone fail to treat people suffering from extreme or excessive obesity, placing them at risk of developing medical conditions. This may include diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and high cholesterol.
Bariatric Surgery, or Weight Loss Surgery, involves making changes to your digestive system to help you lose weight. This type of procedure is done when diet and exercise fail to work or when an individual is suffering from serious health problems caused by being overweight. Evidence also suggests that Bariatric Surgery can lower death rates of patients suffering from severe obesity.
What does Bariatric Surgery do?
Bariatric Surgery, or Weight Loss Surgery, restricts a patient’s food intake in an individual’s stomach and intestines by altering the body’s digestion process of food absorption.
Weight Loss Surgery is recommended for people who meet certain medical qualifications. This procedure will help patients to lose excess weight and it will decrease their risk of life-threatening health conditions such as:
- Heart disease and stroke
- High blood pressure
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
- Sleep apnea
- Type 2 diabetes
Types of Bariatric Surgery:
TransgenderThailand’s partners, offer two types of Weight Loss Surgery:
1. Gastric Sleeve surgery
Also called Sleeve Gastrectomy, is a surgical weight loss procedure used to reduce the size of the stomach up to 25 percent of the original size. Surgeons remove a large portion of the patient’s stomach along the great curvature, effectively reducing its size and leaving a “sleeve” or a tube-like structure in its place.This smaller stomach is not able to hold as much food, which leads to a less appetite feeling. Patients who underwent Sleeve Gastrectomy have reported less desire to eat.Gastric Sleeve surgery is the first step of a two-stage gastric bypass operation typically performed on patients suffering from extreme obesity. This procedure is also the fastest-growing Weight Loss Surgery option across North American and Asia. Advantages to this procedure include significant weight loss and no rerouting of the intestines. This type of surgery is a great option for people with diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol. Individuals who undergo Gastric Sleeve Surgery may suffer from calcium, iron, and vitamin deficiency, as well as bone erosion and anemia.
Preparing for Gastric Sleeve Surgery
There are few specialists that patients would need to consult with before undergoing the Sleeve Gastrectomy, including:
- Nutritionists - These doctors can help patients set up new diet plans and determine the best way to lose weight before the surgery
- Psychologists - They help manage and reduce stress before and after Weight Loss Surgery.
- Physicians specializing in obesity - These doctors closely monitor a patient’s health condition and may offer counseling or certain medications prior to the surgery.
- Expert surgeons performing surgeries in obese individuals - Expert surgeons can give the patient a deeper insight into the advantages and disadvantages of Weight Loss Surgery.
Possible complications of Gastric Sleeve Surgery
- Excessive bleeding
- Adverse reactions to anesthesia
- Blood clots
- Lung or breathing problems
- Outflow tract or tears in the bowels
Postoperative complications are less likely to occur if the surgery is performed by a team of expert doctors with experience in handling obese patients.
2. Gastric Balloon Surgery
Gastric Balloon Surgery is recommended for patients suffering from severe obesity. This procedure is done to reduce surgical risks by helping patients lose weight before undergoing Weight Loss surgery.
During this procedure, the doctors will place a deflated balloon inside the patient’s stomach by passing it through the mouth and esophagus. The balloon will be filled with liquid and inflated to partially fill the patient’s stomach. The Gastric Balloon will give the patient a feeling of fullness and it will reduce the volume of food the stomach can hold.
The Gastric Balloon is designed to stay in the stomach up to six months, after that the doctors will remove it in a similar way it was inserted.
Gastric Balloon Procedure
The patient must fast for 12 hours before the Gastric Balloon procedure. Two days before the removal of the balloon, the patient will be put on a fluid-only diet.
On the day of the procedure, doctors will spray a numbing agent at the patient’s throat. This spray tastes unpleasant but offers a safe and effective way for the patient to tolerate the gastroscopy tube. Individuals wearing false removable teeth prosthesis will be asked to remove them before the procedure.
Once the patient is comfortably lying on the trolley, the doctor will place a plastic mouth guard between the teeth and gums to keep the mouth slightly open throughout the procedure.
Once the mouth guard is set in place, the doctor will pass an endoscope through the opening and down into the patient’s stomach. This step of the procedure is unlikely to cause the patient any pain or interfere with breathing. The surgeon will then pass the deflated balloon through the patient’s mouth and down into the stomach. Once the balloon is in the right place, it will be inflated with liquid.
Diet plan after the Gastric Balloon procedure
For the first week following the insertion of the Gastric Balloon, the patient will be required to follow a fluid-only diet. This gives the stomach time to get used to the balloon. Patients would be recommended not to drink more than 100 ml at once and to consume at least eight cups of fluids a day.
The best fluids for people who have Gastric Balloons in their stomachs are low-fat or low-sugar varieties, such as semi-skimmed milk, skimmed milk, and low-fat yogurt drinks. It is not advisable to consume coffee and fizzy drinks following the procedure.
After a week of the fluid-only diet, the patient can eat pureed products, followed by a soft diet, and eventually to a normal diet. The patient also needs to see the dietitian or a nutritionist a week after the balloon insertion to discuss a long-term food plan.
Risks of Gastric Balloon
A large majority of patients who get a Gastric Balloon face few problems during and after the procedure. But unlike many treatments, this weight loss procedure may still result in complications and difficulties, including:
- Bleeding or perforation during the insertion or removal of the Gastric Balloon
- Low levels of oxygen in the blood
- Irregular heartbeat
- Bowel blockage caused by the balloon
- Change in color of the urine
- Stomach discomfort
- Abdominal or back pain
- Acid reflux or indigestion
- Chest infection (very rare)
In rare cases, patients who underwent bariatric surgery may develop hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) years after the procedure.
Who is Bariatric Surgery For?
Patients with these characteristics are typically the best candidates for obesity surgery.
- Those with a body mass index of 40 or body mass index of 35 or those experiencing morbid obesity.
- People with obesity-related conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure
- At least 100 pounds above ideal weight
- Age 18 or older
- Tried non-surgical rapid weight loss methods without success
- Committed to making long-term lifestyle changes, including regular exercise and developing healthy eating habits
Bariatric surgery and gastric bypass surgery is not recommended for patients with certain medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal disorders, autoimmune disease, or people with a history of a heart attack.
Questions To Ask Plastic Surgeons Before Bariatric Surgery in Bangkok, Thailand
Highly skilled surgeons and physicians will take care to answer every question that a patient may pose before and after performing any procedures. It is often advised for a patient to list the questions on a paper in advance of the consultation.
Some key questions to ask surgeons before weight-loss surgeries include:
- Are you a board-certified plastic surgeon?
- How many years of experience do you have in cosmetic surgery?
- Do you or the medical care team have specific experiences with performing bariatric surgery in Thailand?
- Are the results I am seeking realistic?
- What are the limitations of bariatric surgery?
- Will there be a noticeable scar?
- Will there be permanent damage after gastric sleeve or gastric bypass surgery
- Would I need pain medications to relieve pain during my recovery period? If so, until when would I need to take pain medication?
- What is the treatment plan?
- Would I be given general anesthesia by the medical team prior to the cosmetic surgery?