New Weight Loss Options Provide Alternatives to Surgery

People who struggle with their weight may not always find that bariatric surgery is the right option for them. Whether they don’t meet the body mass index requirements for procedures like the gastric bypass or it’s a case of wanting to avoid surgery all together, help is still available. Three relatively new procedures are providing viable alternatives to surgery for those who are obese but don’t fit the criteria for more intense medical interventions. The endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, gastric balloon and Aspire procedures are all providing hope and help for those who find surgery isn’t a good fit.

Here is a rundown of the three procedures and the ways in which they help people shed pounds effectively and without surgery:

• Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty – This technique is meant to mimic the sleeve gastrectomy without the need for surgery. It uses an endoscopic suturing device to effectively shrink the size of the stomach. This procedure is available to those who don’t meet the BMI requirements for outright surgery. It works by enabling people to feel fuller faster, much like the surgical gastrectomy.
• Gastric balloon – Also available for people with lower BMIs, this is a temporary measure meant to help kick start weight loss. It involves the placement of a balloon into the stomach to effectively shrink its food holding capacity. The balloon is inserted during a non-surgical procedure and remains in place for about six months.
• Aspire/Assist – This recently approved procedure enables people to lower the amount of calories their bodies absorb. It works by enabling patients to remove about 30 percent of the food from their stomach before it moves into the intestines. Like the balloon procedure, it is not permanent.

People who are concerned about their weight, but are not quite ready for surgery will find that options do exist for them. These three non-surgical alternatives may provide the help needed. To find out more, speak with a qualified bariatric surgeon.


Revision Weight Loss Surgery: Not Common, But Sometimes Needed

Each year thousands of Americans make the decision to address obesity-related concerns by undergoing bariatric surgery. For most patients who choose this path, a single operation will be all that’s necessary to attain the results needed to promote weight loss and improvements to overall health. That is not always the case though. Some people will find secondary procedures are required.

Revision weight loss surgery most commonly arises as a possibility when primary procedures don’t produce the desired impacts. People who undergo lap-band surgery, for example, may find they need to have the band removed because they cannot tolerate it. In these cases, revision surgery may include simultaneous band removal and performance of such procedures as a gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy.

There are a few other circumstances in which a revisionary procedure might be required. Complications arising from the original procedure, for example, could necessitate a second operation. Surgeon error, such as creating a gastric pouch that is too large, may also demand revisions. In addition, a decision to have a more complex procedure may prompt a second operation.

Most people who undergo bariatric surgery will find the results hold up over time rather well. There are circumstances in which going back in might be necessary or desirable. People who undergo bariatric procedures are urged to talk to their doctors if the results attained are not satisfactory. It is also important to bring up any post-surgical issues, as well.

Obesity is estimated to affect an estimated third of the American population. If left unchecked, this condition can take its toll on health while increasing risks for such serious conditions as diabetes, heart disease and even some forms of cancer. People who are overweight should talk to their doctors about all viable weight loss options. Diet and exercise alone may help some people, but others will find bariatric surgery offers them the greatest hope for shedding pounds and keeping them off.

Why Nutrition Matters After Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgeries, such as the gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy, can help people shed many pounds rather quickly. While these surgical procedures have proven themselves time and again to be especially helpful for those who cannot lose weight through other measures, not all patients live up to their end of the bargain. The work for successful results don’t end when the surgical incisions are closed. On the contrary, it is just beginning.

Problems may arise after surgery because patients fail to eat with nutrition in mind. During the first few post-operative days, it’s easy to stick to a healthy, balanced diet because the hospital will likely make sure this happens. Even during the first few weeks at home, recovery time may make eating healthier easier. It’s when people start to see results and resume their normal routines that a failure to follow the rules might arise.

Making sure a well-balanced diet is part of the long-term, post-operative routine is not only important for maintaining weight loss, doctors say. It’s also critical for ensuring patients maintain their overall good health. The reality is surgeries like the gastric bypass dramatically shrink the stomach’s holding capacity. That, in turn, means every bite consumed does really matter.

Patients who want to give themselves an edge on weight loss and good nutrition will want to consider these things once they are well on the road to recovery:

• Make sure meals are nutritionally dense – The stomach cannot hold as much, so every bite really should pack a nutritional punch.
• Make meals smaller and more frequent – It’s going to be difficult to wolf down large portions, so plan smaller, more frequent meals that are well-balanced.
• Consider supplements – Even when meals are well-balanced it can be hard to pack all the required nutrition in. Be sure to use supplements as directed.

Weight loss surgery can produce excellent results. Make sure they’re healthy and lasting by eating right in the days, weeks, months and years following surgery.

Why Informational Seminars Matter Before Weight Loss Surgery

When the decision is made that weight loss surgery offers the best chance to shed pounds and beat obesity once and for all, many people are taken aback when their surgeons put on the brakes for a time. It’s not that they want patients to change their minds. They simply want to make 100 percent certain that people who choose this path know their options and exactly what to expect down the road.

To that end, many weight loss surgeons will recommend their patients attend workshops, classes or seminars related to surgery. In addition, they might be asked to attend a few counseling sessions before a date for an actual procedure is even put on the books.

Why all the pre-surgery fuss? Here are just a few of the things patients stand to learn about if they attend informational seminars before making their final decision to undergo bariatric surgery:

• Basics about all the options – Weight loss surgery isn’t a one-size-fits-all option. There are a number of surgical procedures available that can help patients shed pounds. Some choices are more invasive than others and some have proven themselves better at maintaining long-term results. Seminars generally go over the main options, how they are performed and what patients can anticipate as far as weight loss is concerned.
• The potential side effects – Weight loss surgery is a highly popular option for shedding pounds, but it is still surgery. Each procedure has its share of potential side effects that surgeons want their patients to be fully aware of.
• What to expect – Life after weight loss surgery can change rather dramatically. This is especially so for those who undergo more intense procedures, such as a gastric bypass. Counseling and information sessions are also staged to be certain patients know how their lives are likely to change.
• To provide support – The weight loss journey can be a long, tedious one that people should not walk alone. Oftentimes, seminars and counseling sessions are also designed to ensure people choosing this route have the support they need.

If you’re contemplating weight loss surgery, be sure to ask your healthcare provider for information about seminars or counseling. The better prepared you are, the more successful your journey is likely to be.

When is it Time for Bariatric Surgery?

Making the decision to undergo weight loss surgery is a very big step to take. While these procedures have proven themselves time and again to be highly effective, most involve the permanent alteration of the body. With that in mind, those who are obese may find themselves asking how to tell when the time is right to consider this option.

Here are a few signs, courtesy of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, that can help people gauge if this type of procedure might be right for them:

• An excessively high BMI – In most cases, surgeons recommend bariatric surgery for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher.
• A lower BMI with obesity-related health conditions – People with weight-related health concerns, such as diabetes, may find themselves candidates for procedures, such as a gastric bypass, if they have a BMI of 35 or higher.

Gastric bypass procedures and sleeve gastrostomies are generally only recommended in the above circumstances. People with BMIs of 35 or less and health-related concerns, however, may find themselves eligible for a different type of procedure. Gastric banding may be indicated in cases where obesity levels are not in the severe range.

While the above are general rules of thumb for those seeking gastric surgical procedures to promote weight loss, other factors should also generally go into play. Some surgeons prefer their patients also:

• Undergo counseling – Pre-surgical counseling is often highly recommended to ensure patients understand the full scope of the procedures, what to expect and the potential side effects that may crop up.
• Exhaust other methods – Many surgeons prefer their patients try exercise and health eating plans prior to moving forward with surgical procedures. Gastric bypasses, for example, are often seen as a last resort effort.

Obesity is connected with a number of serious illnesses and may even prove to be life-limiting. Those who are considering surgical options to lower weight are urged to discuss all their options directly with their healthcare providers.

Weight-Loss Surgery May Lower Alcohol Tolerance

People considering weight-loss surgery might want to keep a possible side effect in mind if their particular bariatric procedure happens to involve a gastric bypass. Researchers are finding this highly successful form of weight loss surgery may also lower a person’s tolerance for alcohol courtesy of faster entrance into the bloodstream.

Gastric bypass surgery is one of the more popular long-term, surgical weight loss solutions. This procedure involves lowering the stomach’s holding capacity while also rerouting digestion directly to the small intestine. It’s the latter half of the procedure that might cause some patients to feel the effects of alcohol faster and more profoundly, researchers have found.

A small-scale study on the topic was recently conducted by the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis, Miss. Here researchers pulled in 17 obese women for the study. Eight of the women had undergone gastric bypass procedures within five years prior to the study’s start. The other nine had not yet undergone the procedure.

During the course of the study, all women involved were asked to consume two standard alcoholic drinks or two non-alcoholic drinks within two 10-minute sessions conducted roughly a week apart. Researchers ultimately found that BAC levels among the bypass group exceeded legal limits for a half-hour following consumption. Those in the non-bypass group never saw their blood alcohol levels rise above the legal limit for driving.

While the study only involved a small group, it does point to the potential for alcohol to be more rapidly introduced into the blood stream following gastric bypass procedures. Patients considering this long-term weight loss solution may want to be very mindful of this potential side effect.

Gastric bypass procedures and other similar operations can be especially helpful in assisting people who are seriously obese in bringing weight down to more healthy levels. Before diving into any surgical option, however, patients are urged to discuss all the alternatives carefully with their healthcare providers.

Tips for Avoiding Gains After Weight Loss Surgery

Bariatric surgery is an excellent way to promote long-term weight loss. Having a procedure done, however, isn’t enough to ensure permanent losses. While it’s likely a smart routine will be followed during the recovery period, some patients fall back into poor routines in the years following surgery. This can result in the weight that was lost coming back while undoing the health benefits weight loss surgery can provide.

Here are a few tips that can help those in the post-surgical stage keep the weight off that they’ve lost:
• Get support – Weight loss surgery can be a grueling ordeal, especially as the body adjusts to its new self. To promote healthy choices in the weeks, months and years after surgery, enlist support. Whether it’s from support groups or family and friends, having a little help along the way can make a big difference.
• Put together a team – Work not only with a bariatric surgeon to promote weight loss, but also other medical professionals that can assist. Nutritionists, for example, can help with proper diet while family doctors might offer assistance with launching a healthy exercise routine.
• Rethink food –Work to develop healthier ideas about food and focus on breaking any dependencies that may be present.
• Create smart habits – Try working to break bad eating habits by substituting healthier choices into the mix. Before long, munching on fresh fruit instead of candy will become a habit when the sweet tooth strikes.
• Exercise – Getting physical once medical clearance is given is an excellent way to keep pounds away. Work with your physician for advice in establishing and sticking to a routine.

Bariatric surgery is only the first step on a journey to lose weight and keep it off. In order to ensure the pounds shed don’t return, it’s important to develop a post-surgical plan and stick with it.