Obesity is a common and chronic disease condition of excess body weight that is affecting many Indians today. Obesity begets obesity; the obese condition triggers hormonal changes that further increases obesity.
The severely obese individuals usually opt for surgical intervention as a last resort, after exhausting lifestyle modifications and all available medical treatment options.
Weight loss surgeries are now being promoted commonly as a solution to all your weighty woes. The thought of going under the knife and saying goodbye to those layers of fat beneath your skin is quite irresistible. Also, if you are among those who can afford them, the temptation may just be too strong to resist. But, do these weight loss surgeries work the way they are propagated? To be honest, nothing comes easy. There is a lot involved in the success of these operations. It also does not end just with the surgical procedures.
Let’s explore some more about weight loss surgeries.
Risks and complications
Outcomes of bariatric surgeries are getting better with time and with increasing experience of surgeons, in performing these challenging procedures. Patients typically lose more than 50% of their excess weight over a period, following bariatric surgeries. The risks involved are not negligible but within acceptably low levels.
About 10% of the people develop complications that can occur after bariatric surgeries including but not limited to:
- Digestive problems
- Internal bleeding
- Psychological problems of coping up
The above complications can be addressed with regular follow-up and counselling sessions.
Nearly 1% to 5% of patients develop severe or life-threatening complications, such as:
- Pulmonary embolism (Blood clots formed in the tissues around the surgery travelling to the lungs and blocking the blood vessels there)
- Heart attack
- Leak in the surgical connections with the intestines
- Severe infection or bleeding
Factors contributing to the success
Weight loss surgery is life-saving and with some lifestyle changes in the way in which an individual eats, drinks, and lives can ensure a good quality of life.
There are many factors that contribute to the success of the surgical interventions. The most important is the facility. The postoperative complications are minimal in a facility which performs more than 100 procedures a year. When the bariatric surgery is conducted by a highly experienced surgeon, the chance of dying in the first 30 days is very rare 0.2 to 0.5 percent (2 to 5 in 1000)
Successful results are determined by the patient’s perceived improvement in the quality of life. About 95% of the patients who have undergone weight loss surgeries have felt an improvement in their quality of life.
By and large weight loss surgeries are known to provide relief to overweight individuals who regain their freedom of mobility and resume their normal activities.
Bariatric surgeries result in significant improvement in psychosocial well-being for the majority of patients.
- Obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea dramatically resolve or improve after bariatric surgery.
- Studies reveal that the 5-year mortality rate in the bariatric surgical group was 0.68% compared with 16.2% in the medically managed patients— an 89% relative risk reduction.
- Significant reduction in long-term direct health care and medication costs. Patients who underwent bariatric surgery spend less on medication, especially the spendings on diabetic and hypertensive medications go down by as much as 77%. But the savings are offset to some extent by the increased use of gastrointestinal medications and nutritional supplements.
Postoperative lifestyle changes
Only a small quantity of food can be consumed after bariatric surgery. This restricted food intake can cause a deficiency of vitamins and minerals which in turn can affect health causing fatigue, anaemia, muscle and bone loss. Patients are required to have their vitamins and mineral levels checked on a regular basis. Fortunately, these deficiencies can be corrected with appropriate diet and dietary supplements of vitamin and minerals. Protein rich food such as pulses, milk products, eggs, fish, and chicken are to be regularly consumed.
Thus, post weight loss surgery, individuals should follow a strict program of lifestyle changes, diet and vitamin supplements, exercise, and regular medical follow up for the success of the procedure.
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