Nourished Living by Dietician Kelly Hamlin MA, RD, CDN

A look at the varieties of weight-loss surgery, Part Two

Unlike adjustable gastric banding, gastric bypass is generally considered irreversible (though it has been reversed in rare cases).

Therefore, getting this surgery means that you’re permanently changing how your body digests food.

Because these weight loss surgeries are more complicated, the risks are higher.

The risk of death from these procedures is low—about one percent—but they are more dangerous than gastric banding.

Infection and blood clots are risks, as they are with most surgeries.

Gastric bypass also increases the risk of hernias, which can develop later and may need further surgery to fix.

Also, a side effect of rapid weight loss can be the formation of gallstones.

Biliopancreatic Diversion is essentially a more drastic version of a gastric bypass.

In this type of surgery a portion of the stomach—as much as 70%—is removed, and even more of the small intestine is bypassed.

A somewhat less extreme version of this weight loss surgery is called biliopancreatic diversion with a duodenal switch or “the duodenal switch.”

While still more involved than a gastric bypass, this procedure removes less of the stomach and bypasses less of the small intestine.

It also reduces the risk of dumping syndrome, malnutrition, and ulcers, which are more common with a standard biliopancreatic diversion.

Biliopancreatic diversion is less common than gastric bypass.

One of the reasons is that the risk of nutritional deficiencies is much more serious.

It also poses many of the same risks as gastric bypass, including dumping syndrome.

However, the duodenal switch may lower some of these risks.

This is one of the most complicated and high risk weight loss surgeries.

According to National Institutes of Health, the risk of death from the duodenal switch ranges between 2.5% and 5%.

As with gastric bypass, this surgery poses a fairly high risk of hernia, which will need further surgery to correct.

However, this risk is lower when the procedure is done laparoscopically.

Following surgery you will need to take supplements including a multivitamin, vitamin D, calcium and vitamin B12.

It is recommended that women of child-bearing years use an effective birth control for two years.

The ability to take in normal quantities of a balanced diet and rapid weight loss will impact a woman’s nutritional status which also includes the nutritional status of the baby.

Having bariatric surgery, regardless of the type, works because it forces you to change your habits (mostly).

But don’t be mistaken, it IS a lifestyle change, no different than “dieting” and increasing activity. It is not a “quick fix.”

I know people who have had the above surgeries and have gained their weight back because they weren’t truly willing to change their habits.

Would you really want to put yourself through the surgery—and the expenses related to it—only to eventually yourself back where you started?

In the broad scheme of things, all these procedures are relatively new. The long term effects are not fully known.

If the surgery is recommended due to health issues, by all means look into it.

See what is recommended and what it entails—then decide whether you are able and willing to invest in the post-surgical, life-long commitment.

And if you’re simply looking for an “easy and quick” solution to weight loss, perhaps you should re-think your decision.

Good Luck!

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