It’s bad news for America. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 66% of all American adults, and 33% of all American children are now overweight or obese. In fact, it has been named “the single greatest threat to public health in this century”. The fight is well and truly on, however, and some 220,000 people will have bariatric surgery this year alone. This is done in one of three ways:
- Malabsorptive procedures, which means food doesn’t get digested or absorbed as well.
- Restrictive procedures, which means people can’t eat as much volume of food.
- A combination of the above.
There are many different types of weight loss surgery that are still performed today. They have their own particular pros and cons, possible complications, and average rates of weight loss. It is important that the right treatment is offered to the right person. However, that is when we get into medical jargon, and things become harder to understand for the average layman. Let’s take a look at some of that terminology and the facts surrounding it.
Gastric Bypass Surgery
- The most common type of procedure since the beginning of the 1990s.
- The laparoscopic gastric bypass is the ‘gold standard’ in weight loss surgery.
- Most people refer to all bariatric surgery procedures as the gastric bypass, but that is incorrect.
- The procedures is malabsorptive and restrictive.
- Other names include Roux-en-Y, WLS, and RYGB.
Adjustable Gastric Banding
- Also known as ‘lap band’.
- Restrictive surgery using a prosthetic belt around the top part of the stomach.
- No stapling or cutting of the stomach involved.
- An access port beneath the skin of the abdomen allows for adjustments to reach the desired goal.
- Also known as gastric bands.
- Patients are known as ‘Bandits’ or ‘Bandsters’.
- Restrictive procedure only, so no bypass of the intestines.
- A newly emerging alternative to the lap band and stapling procedures.
- Patients have given this method preference over other methods.
- Also referred to as ‘the sleeve’ or ‘gastric sleeve’.
- Patients are known as ‘Sleevesters’.
- Open or Laparoscopic?
Those are the three main types of procedures that are out there, although others do also exist. The biggest issue at present is to not just make the procedure more effective, with better results, but to also further reduce complications and infections. This is why more and more surgeons are now looking at offering the procedures laparoscopically only. At present, a number of incisions are made in the abdomen in order to insert a camera and the surgical tools required for the procedure. However, advances are being made to even further reduce this, using just a single small incision site.
That said, some procedures are still completed through open surgery. This is sometimes necessary, although no longer recommended. Open surgery carries far greater risks with it, with more people suffering from complications. Additionally, recovery time, both in hospital and at home, is much longer when someone has open surgery. Considering open procedures are no more effective than laparoscopic ones, it is clear why it is no longer a recommended method.
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