Things to Know About Weight Loss Surgeries

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For people who can’t lose the weight that makes them morbidly obese no matter how much they diet or exercise, and for people who suffer from such diseases as diabetes, weight loss surgery and metabolic surgery may be the last resort.

Basically, weight loss surgery, also called bariatric surgery, is surgery that reduces the amount of food the stomach can hold. This tricks the body into thinking the stomach is full. The person is satiated, and stops eating. This is called a restrictive weight loss surgery. Some bariatric surgeries also deliberately cause malabsorption because the parts of the small intestine that usually absorb fats and other nutrients are rearranged or removed.
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Lap Band Surgery 
In this restrictive surgery, the doctor places a band around the top of the stomach, which forms a pouch. The band can be adjusted and even removed. This makes lap band surgery reversible, unlike other bariatric surgeries.
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Sleeve Gastrectomy 
In this restrictive procedure, a large part of the stomach is removed. What is left resembles a sleeve, which gives the operation its name. What’s left of the stomach is still able to normally digest food, but less of it. The operation is done with the aid of a miniaturized camera and miniaturized tools, and the incisions in the abdomen are small. This cuts down on the risks of surgery and gives the patient a shorter recovery time.
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Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass 
This is both a restrictive and malabsorptive procedure. In this surgery, a pouch is created at the top of the stomach and connected to a section of the small intestine. The duodenum, which is at the end of the stomach, is attached to a lower section of the small intestine, creating the characteristic “Y” shape.
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Sleeve Gastrectomy and Duodenal Switch 
This surgery removes a large portion of the stomach as in the straight sleeve gastrectomy, but the duodenum is removed and a section of the small intestine put in its place. The duodenum and another section of the upper small intestine are then reconnected to the small intestine near the beginning of the colon. The gallbladder is also removed. Because the size of the stomach is reduced, this operation is restrictive. Because the small intestine is rearranged and the gall bladder removed, it is also malabsorptive.

After the surgeries the patients are started on a liquid diet that lasts for a few weeks. They are then fed purees or soft foods that are high in proteins, though carbohydrates are discouraged. Their doctor and dietitian instruct the patient on what foods to eat and in what quantities. Because their bodies aren’t absorbing as many nutrients as before, bariatric patients need to take multivitamin pills.

Patients generally lose a substantial amount of weight fairly rapidly after the surgeries, especially if they are very restrictive. Medical experts have also found that people who suffer from type 2 diabetes often recover from the condition within days after the surgery, even before they start to lose weight. Medical researchers do not know why this is, though patients are pleased that the risks and complications of the disease have been removed.