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Weight Loss Surgery – Your Last Option?

What Is Weight Loss Surgery? Do You Need Surgery?

Surgical procedures to correct severely obese and overweight persons are technically referred to as Bariatric surgery or weight loss surgery. This is often resorted to as the least recourse of severely obese or overweight persons on whom diet and exercise programs and prescriptive medication have failed.


It is not something that any overweight person should consider unless you have a BMI in excess of 40. Even then, if diet and exercise show promise, then Bariatric surgery may not be necessary unless prescribed by your doctor.

Weight loss surgery can immensely improve your appearance and mobility that are often the first to suffer with severe obesity. In addition, it reduces the risk of health problems that overweight people are heir to, such as diabetes, heart and blood circulation problems.  



Options And Types Of Surgery

Gastric Bypass is a type of weight loss surgery aimed at reducing food intake when all other weight programs and medication have failed.  It consists of the traditional and laparoscopic Rous-enY-Gastric Bypass procedure considered less complicated than the other form called Biliopancreatic Diversion bypass which involves removing portions of the stomach and is more risky.


Adjustable Gastric Banding, an alternative to gastric bypass, is a restrictive weight loss surgery involving the surgical implantation of a silicone band with an inflatable collar around the upper stomach to constrain and reduce food intake. The band can be tightened or loosened in time to change the restriction.  This is the more popular form of weight loss surgery as more than half a million people have undergone this surgical process



Cost of Surgery

Bariatric surgery procedures can cost anywhere from $18,000 to $35,000. The cost involves laboratory expenses, X-rays, anesthesia, hospital facilities and the surgeon’s professional charges. The range accounts for the degree of complexity depending on the extent of operation.  


Post operation costs are something else which can include the recovery time, dietary plans and fitness regimen and supplementation, subsequent body contouring surgeries to take out excess skin, correct sagging tissues and improve loose muscles.  


Gastric banding costs just minimally lower but post-operative maintenance like adjustments and fills during the first year can be costly. Additional body contouring that may involve plastic surgery that will increase the cost.


Health insurance companies as well as Medicare generally do not cover frivolous cosmetic surgeries unless they are prescribed as medically necessary with appropriate documentation that include previous but unsuccessful attempts at controlling obesity. Morbid obesity with BMI in excess of 40 requiring weight loss surgery can be covered if a doctor certifies to its medical necessity. Post operative costs can be covered but quite minimally.



Pro And Cons

Just like any kind of surgery, there will always be the risk of post-operative infection or complication.  But for severely obese persons, the benefit can far outweigh the risks if done by competent weight loss surgeons. Weight loss is assured but will not come until the surgical wounds have healed typically around 6 weeks.


You can expect to lose about 10 lbs a month and are likely to shed two-thirds of your excess weight in 2 years after the surgery. But just like any weight loss regimen, you need to be mindful of maintaining a healthy lifestyle with the right diet and exercise to better realize the weight loss benefits.


Different persons may have different periods and levels of difficulty in adjusting to their eating habits after surgery. Each type of Bariatric surgery also carries its own set of pros and cons.



The popularity of undergoing adjustable gastric banding has more to do with the fact that it is reversible, adjustable, and less invasive as this can be done with small incisions on the stomach over a shorter period of time allowing it to be an outpatient procedure compared with the other forms that require total general anesthesia and large bowel incisions.



The disadvantage comes with frequent visits to your doctor to adjust the band or fills, could cause infection and slippage of the band that could trigger vomiting episodes. There’s also the risk of death from gastric banding surgery which is one in 2,000.





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