Class 2 obesity with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 puts you at risk of developing comorbidities like diabetes, heart disease sleep apnoea, and bone disorders. The first step in tackling obesity is following a healthy diet and exercising. However, for people who’ve been unsuccessful at this and are too obese to lose all their excess body weight, bariatric surgery presents a good, safe, and medically proven alternative.

What goes into bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery modifies your digestive system to help weight loss. Your doctor will be able to decide the exact type of procedure, based on several factors. Bariatric surgeries, including gastric sleeve and gastric diversion procedures like the RNY gastric bypass and SIPS Surgery are commonly performed. In gastric sleeve surgery, the surgeon will make your stomach smaller so that you’re less hungry and feel fuller soon. In gastric diversion both your stomach and small intestine are altered so that you are able to eat less and your body absorbs fewer calories from the food you’ve eaten (because the food bypasses most parts of the stomach and the small intestine).

How important is pre-operative care?

Like all surgeries, bariatric surgery involves some risk. Commitment to healthy habits both, before and after the surgery is vital in minimising risks. Appropriate pre-op care will facilitate optimal treatment outcomes. Your bariatric surgeon will perform a complete physical examination. You MUST stop smoking for at least 6 weeks preoperatively and optimise your blood sugar levels before the surgery for best results.

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Related Read: A Handy Guide to Prepare you for Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery

Potential risks of bariatric surgery

Proper pre-op care reduces the chances of major problems. Complications of a surgical procedure (operation) may be direct or indirect.

The direct ones attributable to a surgery may occur immediately or after some time.

The immediate issues could be:

  • Bleeding during the surgery or immediately after surgery (usually due to a post-operative rise in the blood pressure).
  • Leaking from the site of anastomosis, where the cut ends of the stomach and the intestine are stapled or sewn up. This can appear as a late complication also.
  • There is a chance of developing infection after the procedure.
  • Blood clots or air emboli arising from the large vessels in the lower limbs may get lodged into the heart or lungs, resulting in fatality.

Common indirect complications include:

  • Diarrhoea that may occur immediately after the surgery

Late effects of bariatric surgery include:

  • Nutrition deficiency that may show up as anaemia and osteoporosis
  • Development of gall stones following weight loss
  • Formation of hernias at the incision site or in the abdomen owing to lower muscle strength (these can be treated with hernia repair surgeries).

Related Read: Benefits and Risks of Bariatric Surgery

What care should you take after the surgery?

Adequate rest is crucial to let your body bounce back from the procedure.

In addition:

  • Strictly follow the recommended post-operative diet (as prescribed by the dietician and doctor) to normalise your digestion.

  • Have smaller portions, chew well, and drink the recommended amount of water.
  • Be regular with your vitamin and mineral supplements (as advised by the doctor).
  • Keep moving; ask your doctor what kind of physical activity you can start to help with recovery.

With careful pre-operative and post-operative monitoring and care, you can overcome the risks of bariatric surgery and reach your ideal weight in due time. Get in touch with one of the best bariatric surgeons in Perth today to schedule an appointment.

Related Read: A Post-Operative Care Guide to Achieve the Desired Results from Bariatric Surgery

Reference Links:

  1. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/bariatric-surgery/definition-facts
  2. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/bariatric-surgery/side-effects
  3. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/bariatric-surgery/types
  4. https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/recovering_from_bariatric_surgery/
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