Are you suffering from obesity? Bariatric surgery could be your healthiest treatment option.
Bariatric surgery, or weight loss surgery, can be a life changing operation with enormous health benefits. By changing the shape and function of your digestive system, bariatric surgery helps tackle obesity by limiting what you can eat as well as adjusting how your body absorbs it. Surgery is generally only recommended for patients that are morbidly obese with a body mass index (BMI) over 40, or over 35 if accompanied by an obesity related-medical condition, such as diabetes. It is important to understand from the outset that bariatric surgery is just one part of your overall treatment plan. Understanding and committing to your role in recovery is key to maintaining long-term weight loss success and giving yourself the best chance for a healthy future.
The dangers of obesity
Severe obesity is a serious medical condition that is often accompanied by dangerous health complications such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers. Excess body fat puts extra strain on your joints and organs and can even affect your body’s hormonal and metabolic system. Living with obesity can present challenges to everyday life, making simple tasks such as shopping or socialising difficult and often awkward to perform. Not only can this severely impact your quality of life, it can have a detrimental effect on your emotional health and wellbeing. If you are suffering from obesity and a structured period of diet and exercise has been consistently ineffective, bariatric surgery can form part of an effective weight loss treatment regimen.
The role of bariatric surgery
Bariatric surgery can help you lose excess weight as well as reduce your risk of obesity-related health conditions. The surgery itself is just the start of your weight loss journey and cannot work without other lifestyle adjustments. Your long-term weight loss will very much depend on your commitment to the recovery process, and your motivation to implement the lifestyle changes that are crucial to the success of the surgery. Healthy eating, physical exercise and regular check-ups all work hand in hand to ensure that the surgery can work as effectively as possible. Without a commitment to such lifestyle changes, it is possible you may regain weight as your body adjusts to the physical changes following surgery. At St Vincent Private Hospital, our specialists will connect you with support services including dieticians and psychologists as part of your treatment program who will prepare you for surgery and the weight loss journey ahead.
The benefits of weight loss surgery
Combining bariatric surgery with a long-term treatment plan is the most effective way to achieve significant weight loss. During surgery, changes to the anatomy or digestive process can help cause other physiological changes that all contribute to weight loss in a way that traditional dieting cannot do. Different weight loss operations will have different effects that help break the vicious cycle of weight gain and include many additional health benefits such as:
- Long term remission for type 2 diabetes
- Improved heart health
- Improved emotional health
- Relief from sleep apnoea
- Less pressure on joints
- Improved fertility
Life after surgery
It’s important to remember that everyone will have a different weight loss experience after surgery. Much of it will depend on your weight and health coming into the operation, and the type of surgery that was performed. Talk to your doctor about what you can expect to happen.
Most surgery is performed laparoscopically meaning that your surgeon only makes small cuts. This means you will recover much quicker and should not spend more than a few days in hospital. Normal activities can resume within 3-5 weeks.
Immediately after surgery, most patients will be on a special diet. This starts out with liquids and will gradually progress through soft foods before moving on to solids. Your dietician will provide you with a comprehensive nutritional plan along with what foods and drinks are best avoided after surgery.
Suffering from obesity can be emotionally draining and undergoing obesity surgery can also make you feel anxious and worried. It is also normal to experience some emotional mood swings after your weight loss surgery. You may feel concerned about how you look, or whether you are losing the right amount of weight across a set period of time. The team at St Vincent’s Private Hospital alongside your surgeon are there to support you throughout your journey. We will help you feel more positively about your weight loss journey, keep you on track and encourage you to achieve the results you deserve.
Most of the weight loss will happen in the first 12-18 months after surgery, but the amount of weight loss and the rate at which it occurs is unique to each individual and may vary with procedure. To get the most out of your surgery, it is important to stay committed to all the lifestyle recommendations as prescribed by your surgical team in order to achieve the best possible long-term outcome.
What happens next?
Post-surgical care is an important part of your treatment program as it can help to detect any nutritional shortfalls or surgical complications before they become serious. There are some side effects to be aware of following surgery that may include vitamin deficiency, vomiting and dumping syndrome (when the contents of your stomach are evacuated too quickly). Your treating doctor can advise on any foods that trigger these conditions and which ones to avoid. In some cases, losing large amounts of weight can leave patients with excess skin. This can cause skin irritation and make you feel uncomfortable. Once your weight loss is stable, you can discuss with your doctor the best way to address this.
Weight loss surgery at St Vincent’s Private Hospital
At St Vincent’s Private Hospital, we have a multi-disciplinary team of professionals that are on hand to help and support you through every step of this journey.
Contact us today or request a free quote and start your journey to a healthier lifestyle.
This article contains information of a general nature, which may not be relevant to you. You should not rely on this article as medical advice. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risk. We encourage you to speak with your doctor about your condition.