Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is any operation that is carried out with the intention of affecting the patient’s ability to absorb food and therefore reduce weight. It is a form of surgery that is only carried out on those who are severely obese and have failed every other form of treatment for the excessive weight. A patient would need to have a BMI (body mass index) in excess of 35 to be considered for this surgery.

A number of different procedures are available including :-

  • adjustable gastric banding (lap band) –
    Using a laparoscope an inflatable band is tightened around the stomach to create a smaller pouch for food.
  • Roux-en-Y gastric bypass –
    the top quarter of the stomach is cut off and drained directly into the small intestine.
  • biliopancreatic diversion
    the stomach is separated from the duodenum and joined by a short length of small intestine to the colon.
  • gastroplasty
    a line of staples is inserted through the stomach wall to reduce the amount of food the stomach can hold.
  • stomach balloon
    a tube with a deflated balloon at its end is swallowed and then inflated to fill up approximately three-quarters of the stomach. The tube is removed, and the balloon can remain in place for weeks or months.

Liposuction is performed to reduce the amount of fat in the body but does not prevent it from reaccumulating.

Bariatric Surgery

The relative benefits and disadvantages of the various procedures are listed in the table below. The fewer the “x” signs the better, the more the “+” signs the better.

GASTRIC BANDING ROUX EN-Y BYPASS GASTROPLASTY STOMACH BALLOON
Safe +++ ++ + ++ +++
Effective ++ ++ +++ ++ ++
Reversible Yes No No Difficult Yes
Side Effects X XX XXX XX X
Long Term Effect ++ ++ +++ ++ +
Ease Of Operation +++ ++ + ++ +++
Adjustable Yes No No No Yes
(Last modified: 13th Oct 2014)

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