What is morbid obesity?
Morbid obesity is a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more. The disease of morbid obesity interferes with basic physical functions such as breathing or walking. Long-term effects of the disease include shorter life expectancy, serious health consequences in the form of weight-related health problems (co-morbid conditions) such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and a lower quality of life with fewer economic and social opportunities.
What is a co-morbid condition?
There are two definitions for a co-morbid condition: the presence of one or more disorder or disease in addition to a primary disorder or disease; or, the presence of a disorder or disease that is caused by or otherwise related to another condition in the same patient. The primary disease of morbid obesity can lead to several co-morbid conditions.
What is bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery is a procedure designed to make the stomach smaller so the patient feels satisfied with less food. It is intended for people with a Body Mass Index of 40 or greater, and who have not had success with other weight loss therapies such as diet, exercise, medications, etc. A person with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or greater and one or more co-morbid condition also may qualify for bariatric surgery.
What is Body Mass Index (BMI)?
BMI is a measure used to index a person’s height and weight. BMI allows healthcare professionals and patients to better understand health issues associated with a specific weight classification (classifications such as obesity and morbid obesity).
How do I know if I qualify for bariatric surgery?
Patients should have:
- 45kgs or more of excess weight; or a BMI of 40 or greater
- A BMI of 35 or greater with one or more co-morbid condition
Other common guidelines include:
- Understanding the risks of bariatric surgery
- Committing to dietary and other lifestyle changes as recommended by the surgeon
- Having a history of weight loss treatments having failed the patient
- Undergoing a complete examination including medical tests
Is bariatric surgery right for me?
- Bariatric surgery is not cosmetic surgery.
- Bariatric surgery does not involve the removal of adipose tissue (fat) by suction or surgical removal.
- The patient must commit to long-term lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, the key to the success of bariatric surgery.
- Problems after surgery are rare, but corrective procedures may be required.
What are the complications and risks associated with bariatric surgery?
As with any surgery, there are immediate and long-term complications and risks. Possible risks can include, but are not limited to:
- Complications due to anaesthesia and medications
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Dehiscence (separation of areas that are stitched or stapled together)
- Leaks from staple lines
- Marginal ulcers
- Pulmonary problems
- Spleen injury
- Stenosis (narrowing of a passage, such as a valve)
What are the possible side effects of bariatric surgery?
Side effects include:
- Dumping syndrome
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Need to avoid pregnancy temporarily
- Nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhoea
- Excessive sweating, increased gas, and dizziness
What is the difference between minimally invasive and open surgery?
Open surgery involves the surgeon creating a long incision to open the abdomen and operating with “traditional” medical instruments. Laparoscopic, or minimally invasive, surgery is an approach that allows the surgeon to perform the same procedure using several small incisions, a fiber-optic camera, video monitor, and long-handled instruments. Learn more about the differences, as well as why your surgeon may recommend a minimally invasive technique but switch to an open one.
Why would I have an open procedure?
The decision to perform minimally invasive or open surgery is made by your surgeon before the operation. For some patients, the laparoscopic, or minimally invasive, the technique cannot be used due to dense scar tissue from prior abdominal surgery. Also, the inability to see organs and/or bleeding during the operation can cause your surgeon to switch from minimally invasive to open surgery during your operation.
What is Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery?
Roux-en-Y (pronounced ROO-en-why) gastric bypass surgery is the most popular bariatric surgery in the United States. In this procedure, the surgeon creates a small stomach pouch and then constructs a “bypass” of some of the small intestine. The smaller stomach pouch restricts the amount of food the patient can comfortably eat, and the bypass decreases the number of nutrients and calories absorbed.