Surgical procedures to try and help a person to lose weight are becoming more and more popular. This type of surgery, which is also known as bariatric surgery, is increasingly being recognised by GPs, and also by patients, through word of mouth, the internet and media as being much more effective than any type of diet in terms of weight loss and improvements in the quality of a person’s life.
The problem with dieting is that once a certain amount of weight is lost the body goes into a starvation type mode, and hormones are produced that cause a voracious appetite to occur and for the person to start craving foods high in sugar and fat.
For this reason it is very common for patients to be able to lose a certain amount of weight but to regain it quite fast and even put more on. This common dieting sequence is referred to as yoyo dieting and is a normal consequence of these appetite driven hormonal changes, which are very difficult to resist. Bariatric surgery is highly effective in that the procedures will help a patient to lose weight, but also more importantly will stop the longer term urges to regain weight by modifying the appetite drives and food cravings.
In addition to bariatric surgery increasingly being recognised as the most effective weight loss strategy, it is also being accepted that it is a much safer form of surgery than previous public perceptions. In the hands of a surgeon and a surgical unit which is dedicated to this type of surgery, the complication rate is as low as routine gallbladder or hip surgery, and the stay in hospital is only one or two nights. People who have undergone this surgery are usually back to work after one or two weeks.
Bariatric surgery will help dramatically improve a persons’ health, particularly if they suffer with conditions associated with their obesity. These include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnoea and joint problems. Once a patient has lost weight following bariatric surgery it is a pleasure to see them in the outpatients’ clinic with their lives transformed, having finally being able to escape the trap of obesity that is all too common in our Western world.