Losing weight is achieved by eating a balance, nutritious meal and getting plenty of exercise. However, once someone has a BMI of 40 or more, this simply isn’t suitable anymore. They will no longer respond to these types of lifestyle changes, and they are also in real danger of developing various other, potentially life threatening, diseases. For them, a variety of bariatric procedures exists.
While people often talk about bariatric procedures as if they are all the same, there are actually many different ones out there. For example, there is the sleeve gastrectomy, the gastric bypass, the gastric band, and the gastric balloon. All of them are different but have the same goal: to help you lose weight quickly.
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How Surgery Can Be Performed
While there are many different types of surgeries, they can be broadly categorized as being restrictive, malabsorptive, or a combination of the two. These procedures can be performed in one of two ways, being open or laparoscopically. Let’s take a look.
Open and Laparoscopic Methods
Traditionally, bariatric surgery was performed as open surgery. This means that the stomach was opened up through a long incision across the lower abdomen. There were significant problems with this procedure, not in the least the long recovery time. Most people would require a full week stay in hospital to recover, and it would take many weeks before they would be able to return to work and become physical again. Furthermore, because the wound is bigger, there is also a bigger chance of complications, including hernias and infections.
Today, the majority of procedures are performed laparoscopically. This means that they are minimally invasive, because surgeons only make several small incisions in different parts of the abdomen. Most surgeons make between four and six entry ports, but this is now also being reduced. Each port allows for a different instrument to be inserted, including a small camera.
With a laparoscopic procedure, the cuts are very small, about an inch in length each. As a result, most people can return home after just one or two days in hospital. Their at home recovery time is usually no longer than two weeks. Scarring is significantly reduced, as is the chance of them developing complications.
Whichever of the two procedures you are offered, the goal is to provide you with the necessary assistance to reach your goals. While the laparoscopic procedure is greatly preferred, it is no suitable for everybody. If someone is extremely obese, or has had some sort of stomach surgery in the past, or has very complex other problems, the open approach may be the only viable solution.
There are also still quite a few surgeons who have not yet been trained in using laparoscopic techniques. In fact, the ASMBS (American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery) has stated that only those surgeons who have received extensive laparoscopic training should be licensed to perform the procedure. Luckily, however, more and more surgeons are now completing the necessary training.