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Friday, 18 December 2015

Is weight loss surgery all it's made out to be?
I can't help it
Let's face it, accepted wisdom is that losing weight is good for your health. I'm sure one of the unspoken reasons we want to lose weight is to change  our looks and possibly appeal to our vanity. 

Do you dislike certain features in your appearance that you have no control over?
Do you see your nose as being too  big, or too little,  too pointed or too flat? Do your ears stick out too much? Is there a chin or more than you'd like? More wrinkles than you'd expect for your age?  I'm sure the list could go on.

But, what ever our self image, losing weight is one thing we can do (assuming we’re overweight), that is totally under our control and doesn’t require visits to clinics or vast sums of money to change. If only it was so easy.

It’s a huge struggle to keep to a diet, to visit the gym, or keep to a regular exercise regime.  There must be a faster way to get rid of unwanted weight and unwanted fat.   And, there is. It goes by the name of Biaratric Surgery or surgery to lose weight. But, is relying on surgery to lose weight a good idea?
How do we see ourselves?
How do we see ourselves? Whether you choose what might seem as the more arduous method to lose weight, exercise and diet, or a more immediate approach using a surgeon's scalpel or laser, the rise in overweight people in the western world is a challenge as the graph below illustrates:

Obesity forecast to get worse

So what are your choices for losing weight via the scalpel?

What if you could shrink your stomach forcing you to eat less. The forced diet approach? The type of surgery you need to ask your doctor about is called Malabsorptive/Restrictive surgery. The operation removes or bypasses part of your digestive tract, making it more difficult for you to absorb calories. Isn't that what you want?

A popular surgical operation is Gastric Banding. Sounds painful. But the cliche applies no pain no gain. You'll feel abdominal pain and the usual discomfort following any kind of surgical procedure.  So what's involved? The surgeon uses an inflatable band that squeezes your stomach into two sections, a small upper section and a larger lower section. 

A narrow channel connects the two sections. Visualise an hour glass or, better still have a look at this animation on how the operation is carried out. The amount of food you eat can be measured into a single cup, which should be sufficient to satisfy your hunger  before you begin to feel ill. One other point, crunchy food is out so needs to be softened or chewed well. 

Have a read of Vicky's story. Vicky's weight peaked at 17.5 stones, but she's 5ft 1in and her BMI was 47. (A reading of over 25 is considered obese). After eight months, her weight was 15 stones (BMI 39) and  target weight 9-9.5 stones (BMI 24). This case illustrates that Gastric Banding isn't necessarily the magic wand for getting rid of excess weight immediately after going under the scalpel.

Another option is sleeve Gastrectomy.  This operation might make you  decide dieting and exercise is more agreeable. With a Gastrectomy, your surgeon removes around 75% of your stomach. Ouch. What’s left of your stomach  is a narrow tube or sleeve. This is connected to your intestine. Today, sleeve gastrectomy is the fastest-growing weight loss surgery option in North America and Asia.

Heavily advertised in some newspapers is Liposuction. It sounds the least invasive of weight loss surgeries and removes unwanted fat, more a form of cosmetic surgery to make you ‘look good’ by getting rid of excess fat rather than forcing you to    eat less.

The great thing about liposuction is you choose the part of the body you want to change. Arms too fat? Answer liposuction. Legs too fat?  Answer liposuction. One chin too many – liposuction and finally, too many tyres around your middle then choose lipsuction. Watch this 9 minute video to see what you might have to go through to sculpture your body to get the shape you want.

Did you watch the video? Did it put you off from going under the scalpel? Don’t worry you can still sculpture your body with Laser liposuction. The procedure is Laser Lipolysis, laser assisted liposuction. The laser melts the fat making fat removal easier and more consistent.  This next video takes you from the opening consultation to the results months after the procedure was performed, a bit longer the video is 21mins long. 

You could read pages and pages of research arguing for or against whether weight loss surgery is right for you. Whatever the level of risk whether it’s quoted as low or moderately low. There is risk. Risk with the anesthetic and the usual risks associated with any invasive operation on your body.

Liposuction  sounds the least risky. You can at least target one part of your body and if successful target another area. But, if you want to eliminate all risk, you’re going to have to continue with your struggle to stay fit and getting healthy with diet and exercise. And, discipline yourself to say NO to…