What is Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery a.k.a. Weight loss surgery is a procedure which involves altering the anatomy of the stomach and some portion of intestines. This helps in reducing the quantity of food the stomach can hold at a time, thus accelerating weight loss.
Bariatric surgery is not to be confused with liposuction, which happens commonly. The later deals with removal of excess body fat, thereby leading to relatively instant weight changes. Bariatric surgery will not lead to immediate changes in the weight and appearances of patient.
Bariatric surgery is a life changing event for those who have battled obesity for a long time. Patients are advised to undergo this procedure at a good hospital which provides complete pre and post-procedure care and aids with recovery after surgery as well.
What Happens During Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery includes 4 different procedures viz. Gastric banding, gastric bypass, duodenal switch and sleeve gastrectomy. The basic principle of each procedure is reducing the quantity of food which stoamch can hold at a given time or, reducing the time for which food remains in the intestines thereby reducing absorption of unhealthy fats.
Resultant weight loss occurs gradually if patients follow a regular physical exercise regimen and a healthy diet plan. Weight loss after bariatric surgery is as much dependent on post-procedure health plan which the patient follows, as the surgery itself.
Post-Procedure Health Plan
Patients are put on a strict diet and exercise plan after bariatric surgery. Along with this other restrictions are applicable too in order to assist healthy weight loss. The following points must be remembered by patients:
After undergoing bariatric surgery a qualified nutritionist will consult with the patient before formualting any diet plan. Parameters like post-operative recovery, post-operative weight, digestive tract functions after surgery are taken into consideration. The aim of designing such a diet plan is to allow body fat to be utilized as a source of energy. This will lead to gradual but steady fat loss and weight returns to normal over a period of time. Fiber rich food like leafy vegetables, multi grain brain, oats are included in patient's diet. Protein intake is kept optimum through eggs, sprouts, yoghurt etc. Non vegetarian food may not be allowed during recovery period after surgery as it is difficult to digest.
Diet and exercise are the two pillars on which a person's health and fitness are dependent. After complete recovery from bariatric surgery, a regular exercise regimen customized for the patient is started gradually. Exercises which stimulate maximum calorie loss in the most effective manner are included.
Due to heavy body mass, patients may not be able to indulge into a rigorous exercise schedule initially. Workout sessions are arranged keeping this in mind in order to avoid muscular or ligament injury during exercise.
Obese patients invariably experience stretching of skin due to excess body fat. Once patients begin following their diet plan and exercise regimen, they begin losing body fat and their weight gradually. Skin which was previously stretched will start forming loose flaps due to fat loss. Some patients might require skin tightening surgery in order to repair the lost skin tone.
As mentioned earlier, obesity surgery ensures that patients consume lesser quantity of food and food remains in the digestive tract for a lesser period of time. Though this helps in reducing fat absorption, important nutrients may also get absorped in lesser quantities than required.
Nutritional deficiencies arising due to malabsoroption of vitamins, iron, calcium etc. can be avoided if patients consume supplements in the form of tablets, powder or pills after bariatric surgery.
Patients are expected to follow up with their bariatric surgeon regularly in order to track their progress. Surgery can be considered successful, if patients show consistent weight loss during every follow up.
Blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate along with other physical examination are conducted during each follow up to ensure good health. Sometimes patients might require to undergo blood tests in order to assess their cholesterol and blood sugar levels. These tests provide information about patient's physiological functions.
Restrictions After Bariatric Surgery
Fast weight loss
Weight loss or gain is healthy and can be maintained in long term only when it is gradual and consistent. Patients are adviced against taking drastic steps for weight loss. This may lead to metabolic as well as hormonal disturbances.
Patients end up losing weight fast with measures like crash dieting or rigorous workout. However, rapid weight gain could occur later after rigid diet plans are not followed any more. This indicates unsuccessful outcome of the surgery and patients have to start from scratch to lose weight again.
Bariatric surgery involves reducing the size of stomach to that of a small pouch. This implies that the stomach can hold much lesser quantity of food after surgery. Patients should consider this and consume lesser quantities of food consciously.
The operated stomach is incapable of tolerating extra quantities of food and therefore small quantities of easy digestable food are the best for consumption. Overeating will lead to digestive troubles or disturb the new structure of stomach. In order to avoid this, over eating must be avoided by patients after bariatric surgery at all costs.
Weight loss supplements
It is inadvisable for patients to consume weight loss pills/ powders in order to aid weight loss. These supplements are not only unhealthy but will lead to weight gain in future as a rebound effect.
Only healthy methods like exercise and a well planned dietary structure should be employed in order to lose weight after bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery is a boon for patients who have been struggling with weight issues due to ill health. However, it is important for patients to know about and follow all pre and post operative restrictions as per surgeon's advise in order to undergo a successful bariatric procedure.