Weight Loss Surgery
It’s not cosmetic surgery, it’s choosing to live life surgery!
You’ve tried all the diets and are doing your 30 minutes of exercise a day, and you’re still struggling to lose the excess weight that is holding you back from enjoying a healthy life.
This article talks about weight loss surgery, what it is and how it can improve your future health.
How can weight loss surgery help me?
There are several types of weight loss surgery – also known as bariatric surgery – that can help people lose weight when other options, including diet and exercise, have been unsuccessful. It is not a form of cosmetic surgery, nor an alternative to good eating habits and regular exercise.
The aim of bariatric surgery is for a gradual loss of excess weight over a 1 to 2 year period.
As you probably know, obesity is linked with health conditions such as sleep apnoea, hypertension and certain types of cancer. Surgery can be an effective treatment for many obesity-related conditions, especially Type 2 Diabetes.
Jessie McPherson Private Bariatric Surgeon Mr Zdenek Dubrava explains that Bariatric Surgery is often now called Metabolic Surgery, as “this reflects its role in the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes and other metabolic disease due to insulin resistance. Metabolic surgery acts to reverse insulin resistance and thus is a powerful treatment for Type 2 Diabetes. As diabetes control improves after surgery, patients reduce their diabetic medications and often can cease taking them altogether.”
Bariatric surgery helps treat many conditions related to obesity, including:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- hypertension (high blood pressure)
- dyslipidaemia (abnormally high cholesterol or fats in the blood)
- cardiovascular disease
- fatty liver leading to cirrhosis and liver failure
- benign intracranial hypertension
- obstructive sleep apnoea
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- poor fertility
- back and joint pain
- poor mobility
Mr Dubrava highlights the importance of acting sooner rather than later if you are suffering from the above conditions as a result of excess weight. Speaking specifically about damage to the liver, Mr Dubrava says “fatty liver disease is the leading cause of liver failure in our community; it is reversible with weight loss, but once it has progressed to cirrhosis with portal hypertension it is too late, even for surgery.”
The key message here is that these conditions can be successfully treated by weight loss surgery, as long as treatment is not left too long.
The biggest impact that weight loss surgery can have is giving you the opportunity to become healthier and more active, so you can experience a better quality of life. A healthier, more active life has a multitude of benefits for both you and your family, on both your physical and mental well-being.
What Is Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery is surgery that affects your stomach and how you digest food. It’s designed to make your stomach much smaller, which causes you to feel full after eating only a small amount of food. You will eat less food and therefore absorb fewer calories after bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery is a tool to help you lose weight and keep it off. It’s the most powerful tool we have to give you, but it’s still only a tool. Surgery isn’t an alternative to diet and exercise, it complements diet and exercise.
Good eating habits and regular exercise become even more important after surgery, but will be more successful as a result of the surgery.
What type of bariatric surgery should I have?
If you’ve been thinking about weight loss surgery you would have spent time researching different options. Gone are the days of lap band surgery, which was popular around ten years ago. Sleeve gastrectomy surgery accounts for about 80% of bariatric surgery operations in Australia at the moment, followed by gastric bypass. These surgeries offer more reliable weight loss and a better quality of life, compared to lap band surgery.
Bariatric surgery is usually done as a keyhole procedure also known as laparoscopic surgery. With laparoscopic surgery you usually have a faster recovery period than conventional surgery.
Gastric Sleeve: In gastric sleeve surgery, most of the stomach is removed, including the part that makes a hormone which makes you feel hungry.
Gastric Bypass: In gastric bypass, a small stomach pouch is created by stapling. This is joined directly to the small intestine after some of the intestine has been removed. Food bypasses most of the stomach resulting in fewer calories being absorbed.
Lap Band: In lap band surgery, an adjustable ring is put around the top part of the stomach to create a very small pouch that increases the time food remains in the top part of the stomach.
Revisional Surgery: If you have had lap band surgery, and due to problems or other reasons you would like to change to a gastric sleeve or bypass, revisional surgery is available as either Band to Bypass or Band to Sleeve.
Most people lose weight for 1 to 2 years after gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery, then they stop losing weight. With lap band surgery, the process takes longer.
Which type of bariatric surgery is right for me?
You will need to discuss this with your specialist doctor, who will carry out a detailed assessment and discuss the best option, including the risks.
Many factors will determine which type of surgery is the best for you, including how much weight you need to lose, and any conditions that you might have.
Are there any risks?
There are risks associated with all surgical procedures. “The risks of surgery are weighed against the risks of continuing to be obese, where diets and medical management have failed”, Bariatric Surgeon Zdenek Dubrava explains.
There are different specific risks for the different types of bariatric surgery, which your doctor will discuss in detail. Risk is minimised by thorough pre-operative assessment and preparation, and by careful post-operative management and follow up.
What can I expect after bariatric surgery?
You will need to make significant lifestyle changes after bariatric surgery to lose weight and keep it off. You will be given dietary guidelines, and you’ll probably take vitamins or other supplements for life. Your weight loss program will also likely involve increased physical activity.
Lifelong follow up is required. This will be arranged by your surgeon and support team, which will include a dietician, psychologist, physician, and your GP.
After bariatric surgery you will have the opportunity to become the healthiest version of yourself, so you can experience a better quality of life, for you and your loved ones.
Which types of Bariatric Surgery does Jessie McPherson Private offer?
At Jessie McPherson Private we specialise in Laparoscopic Gastric Sleeve and Gastric Bypass surgery. We also specialise in Revisional Bariatric Surgery such as Band to Bypass and Band to Sleeve for those patients who require revision from a lap band.
Patients at Jessie McPherson Private experience the individual comfort and attention private healthcare offers, with the addition of highly-specialised support and state-of-the-art facilities available to us through Monash Health.
I’m interested, what should I do next?
Arrange an appointment with your GP to discuss your particular situation.
Your GP can confirm that you will benefit from specialist care as well as help you chose a specialist who will best meet your individual needs and health condition. Your GP can also help your surgeon provide optimum care by providing relevant information about your health and medical history.
Is there anything further I should know?
Guidelines for obesity surgery are fairly rigid. They are established by obesity surgical societies (ANZMOSS and IFSO) and government bodies (National Institutes of Health) to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the operations.
You may be a candidate if:
- You are more than 40kg above your ideal weight
- Your BMI is above 35 and you have a medical condition associated with obesity
Calculate your BMI using this calculator: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/tools/body-mass-index-calculator-for-adult
Search through the Jessie McPherson specialist directory for Bariatric Surgeons here: https://monashheartprivate.org/specialists-directory/?specialty=Bariatric+Surgery&specialistname=&searchbutton=Search
View Bariatric Surgeon Mr Zdenek Dubrava here: https://monashheartprivate.org/staff-members/mr-zdenek-dubrava/