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Options for Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery is often the best option for people who need to lose at least 100 pounds, and there are now a number of different types of procedures to consider. People who undergo weight loss surgery generally can lose their desired amount of weight in a couple of years, and keep it off.  Also, weight loss surgery can help to remove excess fat that is causing serious obesity-related health problems. 

You must qualify as a candidate for weight loss surgery, following a process that is done by physicians who specialize in obesity and weight loss. Each individual is reviewed on a case-by-case basis before any decisions are made. In general, candidates for weight loss surgery must be morbidly obese (at least 100 pounds overweight), and their body mass index must exceed 40. In addition, good candidates have to be in relatively good health and not have any medical problems associated with their intestines, stomach or pancreas.

Weight loss surgery can be grouped into three categories, all of which are designed to reduce the stomach capacity by creating a new, smaller stomach pouch, or by shortening the digestive tract by joining the stomach and the large intestines. The small intestines are bypassed in these procedures. 

One of the newer surgeries, called the Lap-Band Surgery, reduces the stomach size and is frequently recommended by weight loss experts for a number of reasons: there are fewer risks, the recovery time is shorter, the procedure is reversible, and the Lap-Band can be adjusted.  In addition, people who have Lap-Band surgery are able to lose weight at a steady pace and generally keep the weight off longer compared to other types of surgery.

Another procedure that limits the amount of food that goes to the stomach is the Roux-en Y Gastric Bypass, which also helps the digestive system absorb less food. The upper part of the stomach is either stapled or sewn to create a smaller stomach area, and then the new, smaller stomach is attached to the intestines to allow food to go directly from one place to the other.               

One of the primary benefits of this type of this highly successful form of surgery is that it lets patients lose weight rapidly immediately afterward. It should be noted that the gastric bypass has a longer recovery period and is considered more invasive than other types of weight loss surgery.

A similar procedure is the Vertical Banded Gastroplasty, in which the stomach is stapled and the intestines are untouched.

The weight loss surgery that is most invasive is the Biliopancreatic Diversion, in which up to three-fourths of the stomach is removed and the remaining part is connected to the small intestines.

This surgery has a higher mortality rate than other forms of weight loss surgery, and can lead to what is known as the dumping syndrome, which can cause severe anemia and loss of bone density. However, the procedure does have its benefits, as patients are able to eat larger meals afterward and can lose more pounds initially than from any other type of weight loss surgery. 


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