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Weight Loss Surgeries

Bariatric surgeons first began to recognize the potential for weight loss surgeries while performing operations that required the removal of large segments of a patient's stomach and intestine. After the surgery, doctors noticed that in many cases patients were unable to maintain their pre-surgical weight. With further study, bariatric surgeons were able to recommend weight loss surgeries that could be safely used to produce weight loss in morbidly obese patients. Over the last decade these weight loss surgeries have been continually refined in order to improve results and minimize risks. Today's bariatric surgeons have access to a substantial body of clinical data to help them determine which weight loss surgeries should be used and why.

Basically, weight loss surgeries fall into three categories:

1. Restrictive procedures make the stomach smaller to limit the amount of food intake.
2. Malabsorptive techniques reduce the amount of intestine that comes in contact with food so that the body absorbs fewer calories.
3. Combination operations take advantage of both restriction and malabsorption.

To better understand how weight loss surgeries works, it's important to understand how your gastrointestinal tract functions. As the food you consume moves through the gastrointestinal tract, various digestive juices and enzymes are introduced at specific stages that allow absorption of nutrients. Food material that's not absorbed is then prepared for elimination. A simplified description of the gastrointestinal tract appears below. Your doctor can provide a more detailed description to help you better understand how weight loss surgeries works.

Weight loss surgeries are typically reserved for those individuals 100 pounds or more overweight (Body Mass Index [BMI] of 40 or higher) who haven't responded to other less invasive weight loss therapies such as diet, exercise, medications, etc. In certain circumstances, less morbidly obese patients (with BMIs between 35 and 40) possibly considered for weight loss surgeries (patients with high-risk co-morbid conditions and obesity-induced physical problems that are interfering with quality of life).

By: Alex Anfi

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