Getting weight loss surgery is a decision that can have a massive positive impact on your quality of life, but it is normal to have questions about the safety and risks associated with different weight loss procedures.
So what is the safest form of weight loss surgery? Let’s explore.
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The first thing to consider is that the benefits of weight loss surgery will almost always outweigh the risks of obesity, which include potential life-threatening illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, coronary heart disease, and stroke. While all weight loss surgeries are effective, the key is to look at the pros and cons of different weight loss procedures and determine which is the best for your needs. Which weight loss procedure is safest for any one person is contingent upon the current status of their health and weight, as well as that individual’s risk tolerance and goals. When you consider the risks of obesity, it is clear that the only wrong choice is the status quo.
While all surgeries come with some risks, weight loss surgeries are some of the safest surgical procedures to undergo, and doing nothing is far riskier. When determining which weight loss procedure is best for you, the first two weight loss surgeries that most people consider are Gastric Sleeve and Gastric Bypass surgery. Both of these popular weight loss surgeries are minimally invasive, generally safe, and will help you shed excess weight over the long term.
Another reason to consider these two first is their positive momentum. Over the years, these surgeries have gotten more and more safe thanks to continued advancements in surgical technology and research. We have greater visualization now, seeing through our cameras in hyper-detailed 4K. We also now have the help of robots, so smaller incisions are required and more precise and agile movements are possible.
Gastric Sleeve vs. Gastric Bypass: Which weight loss surgery is best?
Gastric Sleeve Surgery is minimally invasive and is safer than more common surgeries like an appendectomy or gallbladder removal. This weight loss procedure removes a large part of the stomach, which helps restrict calories and reduce hunger pangs. The complication rate is less than 1% and, from a patient perspective, the gastric sleeve is the easiest weight loss surgery. This is largely due to the fact that the surgery is more localized and less complicated, as it only involves working on the stomach. For this reason, there are often fewer side effects, with the most common postoperative symptoms being acid reflux and dumping syndrome. The recovery time is also minimal – in most cases, you will be back home on the day of the surgery and back to work within a week. You might need pain medications for a couple of days but, as soon as you are feeling better, normal activity can resume.
The next safest form of weight loss surgery is gastric bypass. While this surgery is relatively as safe as gastric sleeve surgery, gastric bypass surgery involves more of the digestive system, making it slightly more complex. During this surgical procedure, your physician makes changes to your stomach and small intestine in order to change the way you absorb and digest food. Much like gastric sleeve, this helps restrict calories and reduce hunger pangs. The difference here is that it’s a more aggressive approach, as the surgical procedure affects both the stomach and intestine. While more side effects are possible with this form of weight loss surgery, it can also be an even more effective form of weight loss. The complication rate of gastric bypass is 1-2%, and complications can include ulcers or scar tissue forming in the digestive system and dumping syndrome. One thing to keep in mind is that gastric bypass requires a little more downtime – you will need to spend a night or two in the hospital after the procedure, and can expect to be back to work in a week or two.
Deciding which of these procedures is right for you depends on your needs, goals, and personal situation. Our doctors at BMI of Texas work closely with each patient to help determine which weight loss surgery is best for you.
Other Weight Loss Surgeries To Consider
The ”switch,” or duodenal switch procedure, is a weight loss operation that combines the qualities of both the sleeve gastrectomy and the gastric bypass. Of the surgical procedures to consider, this is the most drastic. As a result, it creates the most weight loss and offers the greatest chance of drastically improving, if not eliminating, serious illnesses like type 2 diabetes. Generally, high-BMI (>50) diabetic patients are best suited for this procedure.
To learn more about Duodenal Switch, you can read here.
Laparoscopic adjustable banding, or the lap band procedure, utilizes a band, or a “belt” with a balloon on the inside. It is placed around the upper part of the stomach, creating a small pouch. There is no removing or re-positioning of the intestines, though having laparoscopic adjustable banding surgery means that the band must be adjusted on a regular basis to be successful. Although gastric sleeve surgery is considered safer and, therefore, preferred to lap band surgery, one advantage of lap band is that it is one type of bariatric surgery procedure that is both adjustable and reversible.
To learn more about Lap Band, you can read here.
What is the safest form of weight loss surgery for me?
Each case is unique to its patient. Compared to the risks of inaction and living with the multitude of health issues associated with obesity, all weight loss surgeries are safe. The key is to consult with an experienced and proven surgeon to determine which is best for you.
The team at BMI of Texas supports every potential patient in their journey to a healthier life and will assist in discussing factors like how aggressive you need to be, how much excess weight you need to lose, the side effects, and recovery time.
Contact us today to set up an appointment to speak with one of our care providers and take the first step to a healthier life.
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