June 9, 2021

Bariatric Surgery – 5 Alternatives to consider before Weight-loss Surgery

When diet and exercise fail to provide the expected results or serious health issues due to obesity, doctors often advise you to undergo bariatric surgery. Bariatric Surgery is a collective term used to refer to Gastric Bypass and other weight-loss surgeries that involve making changes to your digestive system to help you lose weight. While some procedures limit how much you can eat, other procedures work by reducing the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Also, there are certain procedures that can do both.

Some of the most common bariatric surgeries include:

  • Gastric bypass (Roux-en-Y)

It is the most common and non-reversible procedure of bariatric surgery. The process involves cutting across the top of your stomach, sealing it off from the rest of your stomach. The resulting pouch is about the size of a walnut that can hold only about an ounce of food.

  • Sleeve gastrectomy

It is another procedure that involves removal of the 80% of the stomach and leaving a long tube-like structure behind.

The procedure helps in lesser secretion of the appetite-regulating hormone ghrelin, which reduces your will to eat.

  • Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD/DS)

It is a two-part surgery in which the first step involves performing a procedure similar to a sleeve gastrectomy. The second step involves connecting the end portion of the intestine to the duodenum near the stomach, bypassing the majority of the intestine.

Although an extremely effective procedure, it is often linked with greater risk, including malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies. This is because it limits both – how much you can intake and the absorption of nutrients. 

Who is a Good Candidate to Bariatric Surgery?

Experts have established a list of conditions that an obese patient must meet in order to be operated. You are a good candidate for bariatric surgery if:

  1. you’re an adult
  2. you have tried all non-surgical weight loss treatments without getting a stable result
  3. you have a BMI greater than or equal to 40

or

  1. you have a BMI greater than or equal to 35 with a severe health issue linked to obesity:
  2. you are suffering from type 2 diabetes
  3. you are suffering from heart disease
  4. you are suffering from severe sleep apnea syndrome

What Are the Risks Involved in Bariatric Surgery?

While bariatric surgery can offer numerous benefits, all forms of weight-loss surgery are major procedures that may pose serious risks and harmful side effects. 

Listed below are some of the risks associated with the surgical procedure:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Leaks in your gastrointestinal system
  • Lung or breathing problems
  • Death is extremely rare cases

There are also certain long-term risks and complications associated with bariatric surgery. Depending on the type of surgery, you may or may not experience the following complications:

  • Obstruction in bowel movements
  • Dumping syndrome, which leads to flushing, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, and lightheadedness
  • Hernias
  • Gallstones
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Malnutrition
  • Ulcers
  • Nausea
  • Acid reflux
  • The need for revision in performed surgery¬†
  • Death is extremely rare cases

Since bariatric surgery is associated with multiple risks and complications, doctors often recommend alternatives such as diet, sports, medicine, etc. 

What Are Alternatives to Consider for Bariatric Surgery?

Due to the significant risks, both short-term and long-term, associated with bariatric surgery, it is essential to consider other alternatives that give out physical and mental health benefits. These alternatives include:

In case you’re preparing for bariatric surgery to lose 10-15 kgs; however, your medical conditions don’t allow you for that, an intragastric balloon could be a great option.

Intragastric balloon placement is a non-surgical weight-loss process that involves setting a saline-filled silicone balloon in your stomach gut through endoscopic methods. The procedure enables weight loss by limiting the amount of food you intake and making you feel fuller faster. It is a half-day procedure at the hospital and extremely safe. 

  • vBloc Therapy:

vBloc therapy is another relatively novel treatment to get rid of obesity. The procedure includes inserting an electrical device into or near the stomach. This device sends electrical impulses to the stomach that stimulates a feeling of fullness, thereby helping you to control the food portions you consume. This minimally invasive procedure is safer than other intensive surgical procedures.

  • Medicines:

When it comes to weight loss options without surgery, medicines could be a good option. Certain drugs such as orlistat have been showing great results by cutting down the body’s fat absorption capacity. Another medicine, dipeptidyl peptidase-4, works by influencing the hormones to reduce appetite.

While drugs prove to be a great option for non-surgical weight loss procedures, the efficacy of these drugs may differ from person to person.

  • Transoral Sleeve Gastroplasty:

Next alternative on the list is transoral sleeve gastroplasty. It is a minimally invasive procedure that uses an endoscopic device to stitch the stomach, reduce its size, and efficiently reduce the stomach’s food holding capacity. The procedure can be used to reduce stomach capacity by as much as 80%.

  • Gastric Band Surgery

Another effective alternative to gastric bypass surgery is gastric band surgery. Although a surgical procedure, it is comparatively less invasive. The procedure includes the placement of adjustable silicone bands around the upper part of the stomach. This band can be tightened or loosened via a device under the skin. This banding results in reduced stomach size and thereby reducing the capacity of the stomach to hold food. Since the procedure does not interfere with the intestines, nutrition from the food consumed is adequately absorbed.

Although these alternatives are safer than invasive surgical procedures, they remain far less effective and take longer time to show results.

Author Bio

Deepak Varghese works to streamline the operations of healthcare marketplaces. He analyzes the healthcare industry challenges and strategizes plans to resolve them with easy procurement of top-notch technologies and equipment.