Surgeries that involved the removal of sections of the stomach and intestine of patients provided the first inkling towards the potential of surgical weight loss. Post-surgery, it was noticed that in many cases patients could not regain their pre-surgery weight. This led to further studies into the matter, and surgeons came out with a conclusion that, with similar modifications to the process mentioned above, surgery could be used to deal with morbid obesity. Procedures, over the last decade, have been vastly improved for better results and lower risks.
Morbid obesity (being 100 lbs. above the ideal weight or having a Body Mass Index of 40 or more) can significantly heighten the risk of obesity-related conditions or serious diseases (also known as co-morbidities). Morbid obesity is linked to the following illnesses: Type2 Diabetes, menstrual irregularities, urinary stress incontinence, high blood pressure, depression, infertility, respiratory problems, osteoarthritis and gastro esophageal reflux. In most cases of morbid obesity, surgery can often be the best solution.
The American Society for Bariatric surgery outlines two approaches to weight loss surgery. The first involves restrictive procedures, which reduce the amount of food a person can eat at one time by creating a new, smaller stomach pouch. This gives an early feeling of fullness and thus, leads to lesser intake. The second approach is a Malabsorptive procedure. This process involves the bypass of a portion of the small intestine thereby affecting the absorption of food. Gastric bypass and Duodenal Switch are two types of malabsorption procedures. Gastric Bypass surgery makes the stomach smaller, which forces the patient to reduce the amount of calories consumed and in duodenal switch the small intestine is re-routed to effect malabsorption (here also the stomach is cut vertically).
Weight loss surgery, though beneficial, has some inherent risks and a patient for the same should be aware by gaining information from his bariatic surgeon and also his physician.