Weight Loss Procedures
In general, weight-loss surgery helps patients lose approximately 50% of their excess weight. But to maintain weight loss, patients must continue with healthy eating and exercise habits.
Stomach surgery involves creating a small pouch at the top of the stomach, which can hold only a small amount of food. If the patient eats more food than the pouch allows, discomfort results. This surgery encourages patients to eat small, healthy meals. One example of stomach surgery is vertical banded gastroplasty, which divides the stomach into two parts.
Stomach surgery plus intestinal bypass goes one step further by adding a bypass around part of the small intestine. This surgery not only limits the amount of food a patient can eat, but also reduces the amount of calories absorbed by the small intestine.
In gastric bypass surgery, food generally goes directly into the middle of the small intestine so that fewer calories are absorbed. In laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery, the surgeon makes smaller incisions and uses smaller instruments to perform the procedure.
Laparoscopic surgery, which is not suitable for all patients, may decrease the length of the patient's hospitalization and recovery period.
Complications of Weight Loss Surgery
There are complications associated with weight loss surgery. Dumping syndrome (feeling nauseated when eating too much or too quickly) can occur, although eventually patients are able to eat larger amounts of food more comfortably.
Other complications include infection, blood clots, and pneumonia. Approximately 33% of patients who undergo weight loss surgery experience gallstones. Further surgery may be necessary, if the patient develops a hernia or weakness at the incision site.