Obesity is becoming a major problem in society with far-reaching implications for additional health risks like heart disease and type II diabetes. Surgery should never be the first option for weight loss, but if diet, exercise, and changes in lifestyle are unsuccessful in controlling weight, there are surgical options. Weight loss surgery is achieved surgically in a number of ways including: by reducing the size of the stomach; through removal of a portion of the stomach; or by rerouting the small intestines to a small stomach pouch. Each method offers pros and cons and should be discussed with your chosen physician. Countries like Mexico and Costa Rica invite thousands of American and Canadian patients each year looking for cost effective gastric banding, gastric sleeves, and gastric bypass. New techniques like gastric plication and intragastric ballooning are constantly being developed to provide options for the patient looking to lose a substantial amount of weight.
Types of Bariatric (Weight Loss) Surgery:
Gastric band surgery is considered the ‘gold standard’ of weight loss surgery. The stomach is divided into two: an upper small segment that will function as the new stomach, and a lower section. Because the stomach has been reduced, the patient experiences the feeling of fullness more quickly, reducing the quantity of ingested food and aiding in weight loss.
A gastric band is a silicon band that’s placed around the stomach to diminish its capacity. A person will feel rapidly full, aiding the weight loss process. Gastric banding has many advantages such as: it is reversible; minor incisions are used; and it has a smaller complication rate than many other weight loss surgeries.
Is a relatively new procedure where approximately 60 % of the stomach is cut, thus considerably decreasing its capacity. With a much smaller stomach, the patient feels a sense of being full much more quickly, aiding in weight loss. The procedure is usually performed laparoscopically.
No surgery is involved in this procedure. Under minimum sedation, through endoscopy a balloon is placed in the stomach, thus creating less room for food and a sense of being full more quickly. There is minimal risk in this procedure, and it’s more economical than some other weight loss surgeries. The balloon must be changed every 6 months though, and it is not advised in all situations. Like all weight loss surgeries, it is a good idea to discuss with your doctor if it’s right for you.