Choosing a weight loss surgery can be hard on you. There are many options out there, and all of them come with their pros and cons. It changes the shape and performance of your gastrointestinal system. This surgery may assist you to reduce and manage medical conditions associated with obesity. These conditions include diabetes, sleep apnea, and risk factors for heart conditions and stroke.
But we have a disclaimer for you: If you are thinking of weight loss surgery, please consult with a doctor first. Rushing into these types of surgeries isn’t recommended and can have long-term effects, physically, mentally, and economically. Weight loss surgery might be an option for an adult with a BMI of 40 and higher, or 35 and higher if s/he has an obesity-related medical condition.
So, today we are going to talk about types of weight surgery, and discuss their pros & cons in detail, and we will also try to find the best choice for you. Let’s get started!
Two main types of weight loss surgery
1.Restrictive surgeries a.k.a bariatric surgery
It works by shrinking the size of the stomach and slowing down digestion. A normal stomach can hold about 1.4 liters of food. After surgery, the stomach may initially hold as little as 0.02 liters. Although later, that could stretch to 0.08 liters. The smaller the stomach, the less you eat. The less you eat, the more you lose.
2. Implanting a device
This is one of the most recent techniques, and it prompts weight loss by interrupting nerve signals between the stomach and the brain.
Restrictive surgeries or Bariatric Surgery
1.Adjustable gastric banding
The surgeon uses an inflatable band to squeeze the stomach into two sections – a small upper pouch and a large lower pouch. A small channel is created that connects the pouches, which slows down the emptying of the upper pouch. People can only eat a 1/2 to 1 cup of food before feeling full or sick. The food needs to be soft or well-chewed.
Pros: The operation is easier to do and safer than gastric bypass and other operations. You get a small scar and recovery is typically faster. Surgery can help you to remove the band. To limit your stomach size, the doctor injects a saline solution into the band, and a needle can be used to remove the liquid.
Cons: People who get gastric banding have less weight loss than people who opt for other surgeries. There are chances of gaining weight over the years.
Risks: Common side effects of gastric banding are vomiting after eating too much. Complications like slip out of place, become too loose or leak are nominal. Some complications can be life-threatening.
Cost (as of 6/2021): INR 2,00,000 to INR 4,50,000.
2. Sleeve gastrectomy
In this operation, the surgeon removes 75% of the stomach. The remaining portion (a narrow sleeve) connects to the intestines.
Pros: People who are very obese and sick should opt for this method, as the other ones are too risky for them. It is a simple operation and a lower-risk way to lose weight. If needed, after a year or two, they can have a second surgery like gastric bypass. As the intestines aren’t affected, your body wouldn’t fall short on nutrients. Your stomach can absorb nutrients as it did before.
Cons: Sleeve Gastrectomy is unalterable.
Risks: Infection, blood clots, and leaking of the sleeve.
Cost (as of 6/2021): INR 2,00,000 to INR 4,75,000.
3. Gastric Bypass Surgery (Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass)
In this operation, the surgeon divides the stomach into two different parts. This process seals the upper portion from the lower. Then the surgeon connects the upper part of the stomach with the lower part of the intestines. It creates a shortcut, and the body absorbs fewer nutrients.
Pros: Weight loss tends to be dramatic, and changes are noticed within the first 6 months. It can continue up to 2 years after the operation. As this method supports rapid weight loss, conditions affected by obesity get better quickly. Also, most people manage to keep their weight in control for 10 years or more.
Cons: If you can put your body at risk for not getting enough nutrients. Maintaining a proper diet and taking necessary supplements is mandatory for the rest of your life. Another risk is known as the dumping syndrome. The food is dumped too quickly from the stomach into the intestines before it’s been properly digested. Symptoms comprise nausea, bloating, pain, sweating, weakness, and diarrhea.
Gastric Bypass Surgery is unalterable.
Risks: Gastric Bypass Surgery is a more complicated process. Infection, blood clots, hernias, and gallstones are a threat.
Cost (as of 6/2021): INR 3,00,000 to INR 5,00,000.
4. Biliopancreatic diversion with Duodenal switch
This process is quite similar to Sleeve Gastrectomy. The surgeon removes 2/3 portions of the stomach, maintaining continuity of the gastric lesser curve. The stomach remains attached to the primary segment of the small intestine, and the valve that controls food drainage from the stomach, to be left intact.
Pros: It results in faster weight loss than Gastric Bypass. You could eat larger meals with this process, as the pouch created is larger than the previous ones.
Cons: The cons are similar to Gastric Bypass Surgery. Not getting enough nutrients is much more serious, but Duodenal Switch lowers that risk.
Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal switch is unalterable.
Risk: This is one of the most complicated weight-loss surgeries. It poses a high risk of hernias, but this risk is lower when the doctor uses laparoscopy.
Cost (as of 6/2021): around INR 4,00,000.
5. Gastric balloon/Intragastric balloon surgery
The process involves the placement of an inflatable balloon made from silicon inside the stomach. The balloon is packed with 400-700 ml of clear liquid depending upon the stomach capacity. This produces a sense of fullness and stops food intake thereby resulting in weight loss.
Pros: Those who are not cleared for bariatric surgery can opt for this option. It doesn’t involve cutting or stapling, and the balloon stays there temporarily. After a year, the balloon has to be removed.
Cons: Stomach ache, nausea, and vomiting a few days after placement of the balloon.
Risks: Includes leakage of fluid from the balloon, distal migration, intestinal obstruction, but these are very rare.
Cost (as of 6/2021): INR 1,50,000 to INR 2,00,000.
These were some of the bariatric surgeries that are available in India. We didn’t include vBloc (implementing a device) on our list because it hasn’t been properly implemented in India yet. They are 4 times more expensive, which makes them a luxury.
As we have seen above, each procedure has certain risks and also certain benefits. Weight loss surgery cost is around INR 5,00,000, but it might increase if you have further complications. Surgery must be considered as the last option.
Before that, try several exercises, diets, consult a dietician. If these don’t work and you have a BMI of over 40, then consulting with a doctor will help you make the right decision. Also, make sure that your surgeon has had plenty of experience doing the procedure you need.
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