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5 Surgeries to help you lose weight plus Pros and Cons

Dr. Lala .A.

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Having discussed the questions to be asked before considering weight loss surgery and the various ways in which weight loss surgeries work, let’s take a step further and educate ourselves on the common types of Weight loss surgeries.

1. Adjustable Gastric Banding
It is a type of restrictive weight loss surgery. An inflatable band squeezes the stomach into two parts; a smaller upper part and a larger lower part connected by a very small channel that slows emptying of food.
Pros:
1. It is a simple and safe surgery with short hospital stay, no part of the stomach is removed.
2. It is reversible
3. Reduces the amount of food the stomach can hold
4. Induces excess weight loss of approximately 40 – 50 percent
5. Has the lowest risk for vitamin/mineral deficiencies
Cons:
It has slower and less dramatic weight loss than other types.

2. Gastric Sleeve
It is a type of restrictive weight loss surgery in which about 80% of the stomach is removed and the remaining portion is attached to the intestine.
Pros:
1. Restricts the amount of food the stomach can hold.
2. Causes rapid and significant weight loss.
3. Requires no foreign objects to be inserted in the body.
Cons
1. Is a non-reversible procedure
2. Can cause long-term vitamin deficiencies

3. Gastric Bypass Surgery (Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass)
It is the commonest type of weight loss surgery. It is both restrictive and mal-absorptive.
The stomach is divided into two parts; a smaller upper part and larger lower part (like gastric band type). The smaller upper part of the stomach is then attached to the lower end of the small intestine, bypassing a large part of the stomach and small intestine. Essentially, this reduces the amount of food that the body absorbs.
Pros:
1. Reduces the amount of food that can be eaten.
2. Causes quick and dramatic weight loss, such that conditions like obesity, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol level get better quickly.
3. Produces and maintains long term weight loss
Cons:
1. Is a more complex surgery with longer hospital stay.
2. Can lead to long-term vitamin/mineral deficiencies particularly deficits in vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and folate
3. Requires adherence to dietary recommendations, life-long vitamin/mineral supplementation, and follow-up compliance

4. Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch.
It is restrictive and malabsorptive. A large portion of the stomach is removed just like in gastric sleeve, leaving behind a small portion of the stomach which is then attached to the distal portion of the small intestine, thus bypassing a large part of the small intestine.
Pros:
1. Results in greater weight loss, but allows patients to eat near normal portion of food than the other procedures.
2. Reduces the amount of fat absorbed from food.
3. Is most effective against diabetes.
Cons:
1. Has higher complication rates and requires longer hospital stay than other procedures.
2. Has a greater potential to cause protein, vitamin and mineral e.g iron, calcium, zinc, fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin D.
3. Requires strict compliance with follow up visits and long term vitamin and mineral supplementation.

5. Implantable gastric stimulation or vbloc therapy
Is the newest on the block. It involves implanting a device into the abdomen which tells the brain when the stomach is full, making one feel less hungry. This device has a remote control outside the body for adjusting it.
Pros:
1. It is the least invasive.
2. It has the shortest time of surgery and hospital stay.
Cons:
1.The device has to be charged once or twice a week. If the battery completely drains, a doctor has to reprogram it.
2. It can cause nausea, vomiting, heartburn, belching, and chest pain.

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Dr. Lala .A. is a graduate of University of Ilorin who also holds a Diploma in Computer Engineering. She is an MDCN (Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria) certified doctor who aspires to be a plastic surgeon involved in creating awareness about women's rights and responsibilities and also training would be surgeons. She is a proud member of various reputable bodies including the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and Young Africa Leaders Initiative (YALI). She loves to read, write, sleep and play the drums in her spare time.