Considering a gastric bypass? You may be on the right track. The gastric bypass is a highly effective surgery that has helped many people. Due to the fact that it has been around the longest, it the most well-known weight loss procedure whilst also being the most radical. Fortunately, a newer, very safe, and effective alternative is now available. Today, leading bariatric surgeon Dr. Michael Feiz, M.D., F.A.C.S., typically recommends sleeve gastrectomy to his patients; however, it’s helpful to understand how both procedures work.
It’s likely that you’ve heard people refer to gastric bypasses more than other weight loss procedures simply because it’s been around the longest and has proven to be very effective. When these kinds of procedures are done, they are nearly always performed laparoscopically, meaning that a tiny camera is employed throughout the surgery to ensure that only a very small amount of tissue is touched. Because the use of these special cameras makes it possible for surgeons to be extremely precise, laparoscopic procedures are safer and the recovery is less lengthy.
The Gastric Bypass does two things. First it reduces the size of the stomach to roughly the size of an egg. Second, as the word “bypass” implies, food actually bypasses a section of the intestinal tract, lowering the amount of calories that the patient will obtain from food, as well as the absorption of some nutrients.
Obviously, a Gastric Bypass makes it very difficult to eat more than a small amount of food at a time. Moreover, eating foods that are very high in concentrated carbohydrates can cause dumping syndrome – a temporary condition that is as unpleasant as it sounds. In addition to the fact that patients obviously want to avoid becoming uncomfortable or ill, it also appears that there are some benefits in terms of hormonal changes that reduce the drive to eat in the first place.
While the positive impacts of the Gastric Bypass are very well documented, there is no denying that it radically alters the digestive tract. This can make it difficult for patients to obtain all the nutrients they require. Significant supplementation is typically required and patients admit that they have a great deal to adjust to once the procedure has been completed.
In recent years, a very powerful but less extreme alternative has emerged. Sleeve gastrectomy has proven to be highly effective but also less extreme and problematic. The procedure uses laparoscopic technology to remove approximately 75%-85% of the stomach. When the surgery is complete, a sleeve-like pouch remains, but the rest of the digestive system is left intact. As you would expect, the procedure makes it uncomfortable for patients to overeat, but it also reduces the incessant desire to overeat.
The main reason for this benefit appears to be that a part of the stomach that is removed includes the fundus, the primary source of ghrelin. This hormone’s job is to cause the hunger that motivates us to eat and which people with weight problems seem to produce more of compared to thinner individuals. Moreover, the body’s ghrelin production actually increases once we start to lose weight. A sleeve gastrectomy, therefore, makes it possible for patients to change their eating habits without the incessant pangs of hunger. It’s not a magic wand, but it does make weight loss a lot more achievable.
In most cases, bariatric surgery is only recommended for people with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 and above, or 35 or more with significant weight related health problems. If you think you might qualify for a procedure and are ready to get serious about losing weight, your next step is to contact a physician who is expert at weight loss procedures.
Dr. Michael Feiz, M.D., F.A.C.S. Is an acknowledged, board certified expert in laparoscopic surgery in general and weight loss surgery in particular. He has performed bariatric procedures on thousands of patients, enabling them to achieve a healthy body weight and, very often, a new outlook on life. To get started, just call our team at Dr. Feiz & Associates at the phone number above. You can also reach out to us by e-mail via our contact page.