24 million Americans live with severe or morbid obesity. And the number of people with this issue is rapidly increasing.
Consequences of morbid obesity can include diabetes, a heart attack, a stroke or a severely shortened lifespan. Those who live with extreme obesity may find that they have difficulty performing everyday tasks such as bathing, going to the bathroom or even getting out of bed.
Those who are morbidly obese may wish to consider weight loss surgery. Any time anyone has surgery, they are taking on a risk, but you may wish to know what is the safest form of weight loss surgery?
In this article, we’ll address this question so that you, and your doctor, can further evaluate which option is right for you.
Be Realistic When Considering Weight Loss Surgery
Before we continue, you must be realistic about your weight loss surgery. As we stated above, every surgery, even the most routine like wisdom teeth removal, carry a risk. There is a chance of fatality any time someone takes medication or undergoes anesthesia.
In terms of the “safest” weight loss surgery, we’ll be discussing those that have had the fewest number of fatalities. However, it is important to note that just because there have not been many fatalities doesn’t mean it carries no risk.
It is also important to consider your doctor’s opinion. Due to your weight, and other factors that affect you and your physical health, your doctor may still suggest you undergo a different procedure. This is because he or she has determined this will be the safest and most effective for you.
Remember: just because one surgery worked well for one patient does not mean it will work for you.
What is the Safest Form of Weight Loss Surgery?
There are three popular forms of weight loss surgery that you may consider with your doctor. They are the duodenal switch, the gastric sleeve and the gastric bypass surgery. We’ll exclude the Lap-Band surgery, as doctors often do this as a last resort surgery. It also does not necessarily help the patient change their lifestyle and is not a long-lasting solution.
Let’s discuss them in order from safest to the riskiest.
Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Out of the most popular surgical options, the gastric sleeve is the safest way to to lose weight surgically. The risk of complication is low but depends on a variety of factors.
Those who at a very high weight, such as people who weigh over 400 or 500 pounds, may have this surgery without as much of a risk. Because of their high weight, going under anesthesia is already risky enough. As the gastric sleeve surgery is less invasive, this allows those individuals the option of benefitting from the operation.
With this type of surgery, the surgeon will only operate on the stomach itself. They will remove around 85%, making it impossible for the individual to hold too much food.
It is called “gastric sleeve” not because there is a sleeve placed on the stomach, but because what’s left of the stomach is a tiny sleeve.
This surgery also works well for those who take medication on a daily basis that isn’t related to their high weight Some weight loss surgeries can alter their ability to metabolize their medication. This surgery, however, won’t do that and allows them to continue their medicine without issue.
The gastric bypass surgery may be more common than the sleeve, but it does come with slightly more complications.
After having a gastric bypass, a patient will have both trouble absorbing nutrients and will feel less hungry than before. This is because the surgeon creates a “bypass” so that some of the food passes through the large intestine, meaning your body will not absorb all of the calories you eat.
As this surgery is a bit more extreme, it does carry a few more risks than the sleeve.
The duodenal switch is like creating the best of both surgeries. Surgeons will create a sleeve with the stomach, but then also create a small bypass at the bottom so that calories cannot be absorbed fully.
This is done mostly for patients who have diabetes, as a large number of patients find their diabetes goes into remission after this surgery.
The duodenal switch surgery is not necessarily inherently riskier than the gastric bypass surgery. The only reason it is listed as riskier is that fewer surgeons are experts at it. Therefore, having this surgery done at all is a risk because of its rarity. If your surgeon, however, is an expert, the risk is much lower.
If you wish to have the duodenal switch, you must speak to your doctor extensively about their experience with it.
Losing Weight Medically
We’ve loosely answered the question of what is the safest form of weight loss surgery. However, your doctor is the only one who can answer this fully. You should also understand that weight loss surgery is not a permanent fix for your weight loss issues. While it may help, you will still need to exercise and watch what you eat to achieve the results you want.
If you’re a doctor and you’re looking for help on how to help your patients lose weight with UnCrave, click here now to learn about how to join our team. We want you to see your patients on a path to success.