Weight loss surgery – Things to consider

By Dr Sandra Cabot

A study reported in the medical journal JAMA Surgery October 2014 compared the effectiveness and safety of gastric banding to gastric bypass. These surgeries are performed by keyhole surgery.

More than 7400 patients underwent weight loss surgery (bariatric surgery) between 2005 and 2009 and were followed up for 1.5 years. This is a short period of follow up and it will be interesting to see how these patients fare 10 years after their surgery.

Parameters Gastric Bypass Gastric Banding
Weight loss BMI reduction of 14.8 BMI reduction of 8
Death rate 0.3% 0.2%
Serious adverse events after 30 days 3% 1.3%
Re-hospitalised 19.9% 12.4%
More abdominal surgery or removal of band 8.2% 11.2%

Nutritional deficiencies can occur after weight loss surgery, which require supplements of calcium, iron and vitamin B 12. Regular bone density tests need to be done, as osteoporosis is higher after weight loss surgery.

A study reported in the journal Neurology October 2014, found that weight loss surgery is a risk factor for severe headaches that are caused by spontaneous intracranial hypotension. This is an imbalance in the pressure inside the skull that affects the brain. It can often be treated successfully with drugs but in some people the headaches remain severe.

Another factor I think is most important to consider before surgery is your attitude to your body and your health. It is important to have a positive attitude towards trying to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle. It is also vital to work on the emotional and mental reasons why you became over weight in the first place.

It is possible to regain 90% of the weight after weight loss surgery and I have seen this occur in the majority of patients who undergo gastric banding. It can also occur after gastric sleeve procedure but to a lesser degree. Many people with a weight problem are addicted to sugar or gluten and these types of foods are easy to consume in excess amounts even after weight loss surgery. A diet high in sugary soft drinks, ice cream and cakes etc, is easy to fit through a band or narrow stomach.

The problem of weight recurrence goes back to the patient not having high self esteem and thinking they are not good enough to reach their goals. They also have poor coping skills when stress comes along and they resort to comfort eating.

Learn to love yourself back to health and get help to increase self esteem and effective coping mechanisms.

Weight loss is only part of the journey to restoring your health and happiness and to stay on the road in the right direction you need to be focused and persistent – seek help from the right people to stay focused and motivated.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email