Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Weight-loss Surgery

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For many people, the option of choosing weight-loss surgery is very attractive -- specially if they have a lot of weight to lose. A lot of people who take this route choose it because they have tried on many occasions to lose their excess weight by lots of different means. Some of which include diet, medication, and exercise. However, while weight-loss surgery can appear to be an attractive proposition, it can carry its own problems as well.

Any type of surgery involves risks. That includes the risks from both the procedure itself and the effects of anesthetic used. Ironically a person may be considered so overweight that the surgeon is reluctant to perform any type of surgery ? they pose a high risk of dying on the operating table. This is the case if the person has health related issues such as high blood pressure or heart disease that can escalate quickly into an emergency.

There are also risks after the operation. Unfortunately, the danger is not past once the surgery is complete.

It is important that anyone who is considering weight-loss surgery perform due diligence and look at their options carefully. They should also choose their surgeon very carefully and thoroughly research them. A good surgeon can be found by word of mouth, but the prospective patient should do their homework anyway.

When it comes to choosing the actual type of surgery to be used, there are a couple of different surgical procedures. These include laparoscopic surgery ? where the incisions made are very small (and carry less risk of side effects), or procedures such as a gastric bypass ? which involves a much bigger wound.

After undergoing weight-loss surgery, patients are usually uncomfortable and in some degree of pain for several weeks while their wound heals. Also, for those first few weeks, they are only able to tolerate a liquid diet which is made up of vitamins, supplements, and other nutrients.

Normal food can only be added to the diet in small measures and has to be given carefully to avoid upsetting the patient's digestive system ? which is now very delicate. If not introduced carefully, then the person is liable to start vomiting or passing very loose stools.

One condition which some weight-loss surgery patients may be prone to is called "dumping". This happens when food travels too quickly to the large intestine from the stomach. They then experience nausea, dizziness, loose stools, and some abdominal cramping. Unfortunately, dumping is quite common after weight-loss surgery. Especially if they have undergone a gastric bypass.

Eventually the stomach adapts to its new shape and, except for some minor problems, the person is able to adapt to their new style of eating. It is important, however, that those people who have undergone this type of surgery are aware of other side effects of their weight-loss surgery such as heartburn, indigestion, vomiting, stomach ulcers and dehydration. Weight-loss surgery has many consequences. Some of them are good and some of them are bad. It is important to consider all of them prior to deciding if surgery is the right thing for you.

Barbara Brown contributes articles to several popular online magazines, on health and fitness and home management topics.

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