It is very important to understand that a weight loss surgery procedure is not a cure for weight loss. Rather, the benefits of the surgery itself only last a few years. Weight loss surgery does not guarantee permanent weight loss; it is simply designed to help people make a true lifestyle change.
Types of Surgeries for Weight Loss
There are three types of surgery for weight loss, with some variations.
- Mal-absorptive weight loss surgery
- Restricted weight loss surgery
- Combined weight loss surgery
With a restrictive surgery, the size of the stomach is reduced so that the patient is force to eat less, as the stomach simply cannot hold any more. Usually, this is done either by using a band or by using staples. Both options mean a small pouch is created to hold food, effectively making it impossible to fill the stomach.
With mal-absorptive options, food intake is not limited. Rather, it stops the body from absorbing calories. Here, a large piece of the small intestine is removed or bypassed, so it no longer comes into contact with food. The idea is that this will stop the body from consuming calories eve if the person does.
The American Society of Bariatric Surgery has reported that 170,000 people in this country had some type of weight loss surgery during 2005. Most of these had significant medical conditions associated with their weight and were effectively housebound. Almost all were under the age of 65.
Weight Loss Surgery Offers Support
It is important to understand that this surgery does not cure anything. Rather, it offers a type of extreme support to people who have obesity and are unlikely to ever be able to lose the weight through their own effort. They must, however, commit to changing their lifestyle by eating a balanced and nutritious diet and engaging in physical exercise.
For many surgeons, this procedure should be seen as a tool, albeit an extreme tool. It needs to be extreme, however, because the patients on which it is used are experiencing extreme situations themselves.
There are four main reasons as to why people struggle with losing weight:
- No support structures are in place to help people keep the weight off.
- Lack of knowledge about what a healthy lifestyle consists of.
- Overeating purposefully, often because food is seen as an emotional crutch to cope with certain difficulties.
- An inability to lose weight because the obesity is so severe that it is impossible to make any real changes.
Weight loss surgery addresses all four of these elements. Most strongly, it offers that support structure that people need in order to be successful. Furthermore, patients will be referred to nutrition and fitness experts to help them achieve sustainable weight loss. Any good bariatric surgeon will also offer counselling to their patients in order to address any underlying relationships with food. The final hurdle is obviously no longer present, as the surgery will immediately address this.