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What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery, or weight loss surgery, includes a variety of procedures performed on people who are obese. Weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach with an implanted medical device, or through removal of a portion of the stomach or by resecting and re-routing the small intestines to a small stomach pouch.

Literally rooting out the problem is what it does. Bariatric Surgery for weight loss, which is now gaining momentum in urban areas has come in as a boon for those willing to go from fat to fit. As part of this surgery, the size of the stomach is reduced so that it cuts down on the intake of the person and the body uses the patient’s fat for energy.

This surgery is of great help for those clinically diagnosed as obese, because with time it not only brings them back in shape, but also tackles a host of other co-morbid conditions like diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnea, which manifests itself due to excessive obesity. Doctors caution that Bariatric surgeries are meant only for severely obese people, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 35. As per WHO guidelines, patients with a BMI of 35 and above with co morbid conditions qualify as candidates for Bariatric Surgery and those with BM1 of 40 and above without co morbid conditions also qualify as candidates for this surgery. This is just the guidelines for patients who qualify as candidates, and it is mandatory that doctors first explain to the patients in detail about the other options of medically supervised weight loss, and that Bariatric Surgery should be opted as the last resort.These surgeries are generally considered risky because these patients are physically heavy and their immune system is poor making them vulnerable to infections, so a very close post-operative follow-up is essential.

This surgery is recommended only for those patients who are really in need for it and moreover doctors cannot impose this on patients. Only if the patients are convinced, then they opt for this surgery. This changes your lifestyle to a great extent. It totally cuts down on your food intake so one has to be mentally prepared for it, otherwise post operation they might suffer a psychological impact.In some cases there are side effects of this surgery also like hair loss, skin getting slightly rougher and the like. Patients are made aware of all possible side effects of the surgery, so that they can make an informed choice.

Though this surgery is being seen as a boon in the wake of the increasing problem of obesity, doctors reiterate on the fact that Bariatric surgery requires high level of expertise and very close post-operative follow-up. In an era where obesity has assumed epidemic proportions especially in urban areas due to sedentary lifestyle and change in diet patterns, it is essential that one knows the pros and cons of this surgical option for weight loss. Since the Bariatric surgery is like a permanent solution as it tends to the root of the problem by reducing the stomach size and hence the appetite, so it is likely that people get attracted to a permanent solution for weight loss. But it always has to be borne in mind that Bariatric Surgery is recommended only for those who are clinically diagnosed as obese and have a certain BMI as specified by health guidelines, so that this surgery can save them from other co-morbid conditions like sleep apnea, high blood pressure or diabetes that manifest itself due to obesity.

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