Bariatric Surgery for Body Image Issues

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Obesity is a life threatening issue. People who are obese suffer from social, psychological, and physiological issues that can destroy their ability to life healthy and happy lives. There are levels of obesity and each of them have interventions and treatments that are known to be of benefit.

If you have a BMI (body mass index) of 40 or above and do not have any other medical problems it is recommended that you obtain a Bariatric surgery. If your BMI is 30 or above and you have another medical problem such as diabetes it is recommended that you have bariatric surgery. These surgeries require the services of a specialist that has focused his/her training and expertise on the study of these issues and these interventions. In most cases you will also need the follow up attention of a plastic surgeon and a nutritional specialist.

There are several types of bariatric surgeries that can be provided. The Rounx-en-y gastric bypass (this one restricts the amount of food intake your body can handle at any one time. You must eat less volume but eat more often. The Rounx-en-y surgery is also called a gastric band surgery. Further types of bariatric surgeries involve surgeries that remove as much as 75 % of your stomach, or reduce the volume of your stomach through surgically limiting part of your stomach through the use of staples that close a portion of your stomach or sewing part of your stomach closed and resectioning the lower intestine to the still working part of the stomach. These surgeries do not always work long term because while there is a window of opportunity, the individual must learn to eat differently and not drift back to consuming the amount and type of foods they have eaten prior to the surgery. This sometimes happens because they do not change their eating patterns and it sometimes happens because their bacterial content reverts to the type of limited bacteria that was there prior to their surgery.

There are side effects from these surgeries that you need to be aware of. 70% of the surgical patients experience nausea and vomiting. There are changes in bowel function such as the Dumping Syndrome ( shortly after you eat you must rapidly empty your bowels, usually with severe diarrhea.) Dehydration, dental problems ( from reflux vomiting and ph changes in saliva) are common. Gall stones, hair loss (from nutritional deficiency) intolerance of certain foods such as spicy, fizzy foods or alcoholic beverages are problematic for many. There is a high risk for kidney stones and if you are a smoker you will need to stop.

After you have adjusted to the immediate impact of the surgery on your food intake and your weight and the changes that happen to your general health you will have to consider the impact of the residual and external issues such as excess skin.

Often you will need to have plastic surgery which is not usually covered by insurance policies. You will have dressing concerns and costs to buy clothes that allow you to tuck your skin flaps in from where you used to be so obese. You are subject to skin rashes and breakdown of skin under the skin flaps, you will get infections under the pannus (apron of skin) and it is difficult to exercise daily with all the extra skin. Options that may help you are liposuction and tummy tucks or thigh lifts, butt lifts, and arm surgery, but these are expensive and mentally and socially challenge. However if you are qualified from the level of BMI you already have expensive health concerns that may result in unhappiness discomfort and death.