What Is Bariatric Surgery and How It Helps in Weight Loss?

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Obesity has emerged as one of the most dreaded diseases of this century. People who have attempted to lose weight, know how difficult it is to not only lose weight but also to maintain the weight loss. Most of the times, this entire process is extremely disheartening and demotivating for the patients.

As doctors dealing with obesity, we are increasingly coming across patients who are susceptible to rapid weight gain. Once the weight is more than 30 to 35 kg above the ideal body weight it becomes extremely difficult to bring it down with conventional methods for weight loss like dieting and exercising. Most people yo-yo between weight loss and subsequent weight gain. This not only leads to frustration and demotivation but also leads to risk of developing other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnoea, PCOD and knee/back pain.

Currently, bariatric surgery is the only way that can lead to sustained weight loss in morbidly obese patients. Bariatric surgery is recommended for patients who have a BMI ? 37.5 Kg/m 2 [BMI= Weight in kg/height in meter square]. It is also advisable for patients with a BMI? 32.5 Kg/m 2 along with two or more associated diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, dyslipidemia etc. It is generally performed through the key-hole method which facilitates an early recovery post surgery.

Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy and laparoscopic Roux-en y gastric bypass are two of the most common bariatric procedures being performed across the world today.

Most bariatric surgery procedures lead to a massive weight loss of about 60 to 75% of the excess weight, which happens over a period of 12 to 18 months. It also leads to a significant improvement in most of the associated diseases of obesity such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, joint pains, infertility etc and reduces the overall risk of heart disease. Surgery leads to a considerable improvement in the quality of life and most patients are able to maintain atleast 50% of excess weight loss at the end of 5 years, which is significantly higher than any other form of weight loss.

Bariatric surgery is safe and the complication rate is like any other surgery. However, a strict life-long follow up with the bariatric team is mandatory for good results. Last but not the least, it is a life changing surgery. Patients who embrace the lifestyle modification after bariatric surgery get the best results.

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