By Travis Lawrence
Gastric Bypass Surgery is growing in popularity. It is important that anyone who is considering this type of surgery to insure that they are ready for both the physical stresses of it as well as the mental challenge it presents. Gastric bypass surgery is a way for doctors to help treat morbid obesity. For those individuals who have serious health problems that are brought on or made worse by their weight, this surgery can be the difference in life and death. Here are some details and things to keep in mind when considering gastric bypass surgery.
First of all, it isn’t for everyone. In fact, you must be above 40 BMI in order to qualify. Some doctors will go as low as 35, though. BMI stands for Body Mass Index. This is a system that is used to compare and understand the effects of weight on human bodies as compared to their height. We know that a person with a BMI between 35 and 40 is considered morbidly obese, but that doesn’t mean someone should be very low either. There is a balance in which the body simply needs to have a certain level of fat. This is a controversial understanding in most cases. Nevertheless, this is an indicator that a person is a candidate for gastric bypass surgery.
In most cases, individuals who are candidates for gastric bypass are 100 pounds or more overweight. But, just being overweight by a certain amount is not the only thing that is considered. Individuals who would like to be considered for this weight loss will in fact need to go through a battery of mental testing. For those who eat because of emotions, gastric bypass is likely to fail. The first steps for these individuals is dealing with their specific eating disorder first. When they are successfully through them, they may then be considered a candidate. It is important to understand that once the surgery is complete, if a person can not commit to specific changes, they will not succeed at losing weight and can complicate the surgery’s outcome. Many times patients will be required to diet and exercise during a period of time prior to becoming a candidate. So, what does happen during this surgery?
During the procedure, the doctor will create a pouch out of the stomach. They will take the stomachs normal size and reduce it to mere 1-2 fluid ounces or between 30-60 mL. This is a drastically smaller size. They will lower the stomachs capacity by connecting the pouch to a point midway to the small intestine. The larger remaining pouch will be kept within the body and will be connected farther down the small intestine so that it can remain a producer of gastric juices that aid in digestion. Gastric bypass surgery does require an incision of six to eight inches. In some cases, several smaller incisions will be used instead.
What is the goal of gastric bypass surgery?
The whole point of this surgery is to limit the amount of food that a person can take in and to shorten the digestive track to allow for fewer calories to be absorbed within a person’s body. By limiting the amount of food a person can consume, they greatly reduce the amount of calories being consumed and therefore force the body to use stored fat instead. This surgery is called restrictive because it reduces your intake of foods and malabsorptive because it reduces the amount of food that can be absorbed into the body.
Most of the time, gastric bypass surgery is successful. In 2% of patients, though, it is fatal. One percent is due to complications during surgery. In many cases, the heart is already weakened from having to pump so vigorously to handle the extra weight or complications from other diseases may cause death as well during surgery. The other one percent will come within one month or so after the surgery is done. In these cases, it is often due to patients not restricting themselves properly. Patients who have this surgery will no longer be able to eat foods that are high in sugar or fat. The body can likely not handle these fast absorbing foods within their bodies.
If you would like to be considered for gastric bypass surgery, you will need to see your doctor and tell him about your situation. Not all insurance companies within the United States will actually cover this surgery unless there is medical evidence that your weight is attributing to your health. You will go through a battery of tests to determine your circumstances and to find out if you do indeed qualify. It is a life changing experience, but it is one that needs to be thoroughly thought out.
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