Gastric Bypass: Do You Really Need It?
April 29, 2009
You still can’t believe the way celebrity Star Jones was able to lose weight and how she has managed to stay slimmer than ever. Read about her supposed secret procedure to find what she had to go through.
For years, celebrity personality Star Jones denied the fact that she did something to her body to lose the weight she had been carrying. It wasn’t until 2007 that Jones admitted in a magazine interview: she had gastric bypass surgery to help her lose more than 160 pounds.
That’s how she truly did it.
And Star Jones is not the only one who did so, by the way. Other well-known TV personalities like Randy Jackson and Al Roker also underwent gastric bypass procedures. American Idol resident judge Jackson, a Type-2 Diabetic, had the procedure in 2003 and shed more than 100 pounds. Roker, our favorite weatherman had his done earlier in 2002 and lost weight in accordance with his late father's wish.
WHAT IS A GASTRIC BYPASS PROCEDURE?
This fast fat loss procedure is actually a type of an irreversible bariatric surgery, designed to reduce the food intake of an individual who needs to lose weight for medical reasons. The surgery, in simple terms, “tweaks” how your body digests the food you eat.
This is how digestion normally takes place. Food travels from your mouth to the esophagus, and then to the stomach. The food then travels from your stomach to the small intestines where the nutrients and calories are being absorbed. The remnants then travel to your large intestines, after which, whatever is left is eventually excreted by your body as waste.
In a gastric bypass, the stomach is made into a smaller, almost walnut-sized pouch by using surgical staples or sometimes a plastic band is used to create a pouch at the top of the stomach. This smaller stomach is then directly connected to the middle portion of the small intestine. Thus, whatever food that enters your digestive tract bypasses the rest of the stomach along with what’s left unstapled at the upper portion of the small intestine. And with the stomach reduced to this walnut-sized pouch, you feel full faster and you don’t end up eating more than what your stomach can hold.
The guidelines for people who might be considered for gastric bypass surgery are strict. It is really not “the last resort to lose weight,” but it is in fact for those who fit into the descriptions below:
Further, if a patient is young or considered to be an adolescent, there is another set of guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Consideration for adolescents who wish to have this weight loss surgery include:
All surgeries performed for medical or even cosmetic reasons have health and mortality risks. One of the more serious complications one can experience after undergoing gastric bypass surgery is called an anastomotic leak, or when the stapled area in the stomach comes loose.
As far as other side effects, deficiency in calcium and vitamin D is likely to occur, and that may lead to osteoporosis. Iron and vitamin B12 deficiency occurs more than 30 percent of the time, and 50 percent of these cases lead to anemia. Ulcer is another risk factor for people who have undergone the procedure.
A patient who has had the surgery may experience what they call the “dumping syndrome” days, even weeks after the procedure. Symptoms include nausea, weakness and feeling faint, along with excessive sweating and possibly diarrhea after meals. These can be aggravated by eating highly refined and high-caloric foods.
Surgeons typically require their patients to have a dietary plan and to exercise regularly after a gastric bypass procedure, as the surgery alone cannot promise that the lost weight will be gone forever. A patient is also asked to undergo behavioral-modification therapy to cope with the after-effects of the surgery, one of which can be depression. Regular vitamin supplement intake is also advised, since a bypass surgery patient is at high risk of nutritional deficiencies.
Usually a day or two after a surgery, patients are not allowed to eat anything; afterwards they are required to consume specific foods at specific intervals to minimize adding stress, to allow the body to heal and to adapt to a new eating pattern.
Liquids are first re-introduced to the diet, composed mostly of water, broth, juices and milk for one or two days. Then progression to pureed foods for three to four weeks, foods with consistency of smooth paste or thick liquid. Progression to soft foods that are easy to chew like fresh fruit, cooked vegetables and ground meat happens almost four weeks after the surgery. These become the staple food for the next eight weeks or so before finally moving on to foods with firmer texture and regular consistency.
THE VERDICT: DO YOU REALLY NEED IT?
Gastric bypass indeed helps improve one’s quality of life with its promise of a slimmer figure, and renewed mobility and energy. It also reduces the number and severity of health problems overweight people suffer from, such as heart problems, hypertension and diabetes. However this procedure is not risk-free, as you can see, so you must consult with your health care provider and discuss whether this procedure is necessary.
If you happen to be overweight even by as much 50lbs, a gastric bypass procedure is still not the answer. Weight loss surgery is not for those who want a quick fix or for those who just don’t want to diet. Remember, a gastric bypass procedure is irreversible, and also entails proper dieting and an effective workout regimen to maintain ideal weight. So if you’re 10, 20, or even 50lbs overweight, all the more reason exercise and eating right remain best solutions for you.
Gastric bypass patient or not, successful weight management will only happen if you follow healthy habits for the rest of your life. Choosing to stay fit and healthy is a commitment, and no surgery will ever guarantee permanent weight loss. So, choose to be healthy today and stick to sound fitness advice – you’ll never regret it. Believe you can do it, and you will!