Many people trying to lose weight find that diet and exercise alone are not enough to help them achieve their weight loss goals. It is at this point that the research into surgical weight loss procedures begins.
One common question and point of confusion for people is in the difference between cosmetic surgery, such as liposuction or tummy tuck, and bariatric surgery procedures, such as gastric bypass or gastric band. While medical terminology can be confusing, it is important to understand that cosmetic or body contouring procedures and weight loss surgery are not one in the same.
Cosmetic weight loss procedures, such as liposuction remove existing fat from the body. Body contouring procedures help patients improve their body shape after they lose weight. But these cosmetic procedures do nothing to address the root issues of the patient’s weight gain and help the patient maintain weight loss over time. Cosmetic procedures are ideal for individuals with “trouble” areas, rather than those who are significantly overweight or obese.
On the contrary, bariatric surgery help patients achieve long-term weight loss through mechanisms such as restriction (limiting stomach capacity) and malabsorption (limiting absorption of calories and nutrients). As you are considering your weight loss options, here are a few key differences to keep in mind between bariatric surgery and cosmetic weight loss procedures.
If diet and exercise has not worked for you and you are looking for a medical procedure that can help you reach your weight loss goals, bariatric surgery may be an option for you. Below is a brief explanation of the various bariatric procedures available.
During the gastric band, or lap-band procedure, an inflatable silicone gastric band is placed around the upper portion of the stomach, reducing the amount of food that can be consumed. The adjustable band is connected with tubing to an access port under the skin and can be adjusted in size by injecting fluid through the port.
Patients who undergo gastric band surgery can expect to lose 20 to 45 percent of their excess body weight in the first year after surgery.
During the gastric bypass procedure, a small stomach pouch is created in the top portion of the stomach. This stomach pouch is about the size of an egg. The new, smaller stomach is then connected to the lower portion of the small intestine, bypassing the remainder of the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine. Food enters the stomach and goes directly to the lower part of the stomach, limiting the amount of calories and nutrients the body can absorb.
Patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery typically lose about 60 to 70 percent of their excess body weight in the first year after surgery.
During the gastric sleeve procedure, the portion of the stomach that produces ghrelin, the hunger hormone, is resected and removed, leaving a small and narrow gastric tube, or “sleeve.” The new stomach is about 15 percent of its original size. The result is a reduced stomach capacity and reduced appetite.
Patients who undergo gastric sleeve surgery typically lose about 70 to 80 percent of their excess body weight in the first year after surgery.
Cosmetic procedures may provide instant gratification for patients who do not have a significant amount of weight to lose. However, cosmetic surgeries are not intended to treat obesity or to help patients achieve long-term weight loss. If you are considering bariatric surgery to help you reach your weight loss goals and improve weight-related health conditions, contact your First Baptist Medical Center bariatric surgeon today to schedule a consultation.