Because I’m healing after my panniculectomy (my excess tummy skin removal surgery) I’m feeling a bit lazy. I have this blog post saved so I figured I might as well post it now. Theres a lot of great info in here about the different kinds of WLS and how they work/what they do.
Gastric bypass in a nutshell, is surgically changing the size of your stomach to, well, a nutshell.
There are different kinds of surgery including:
- Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.
- Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding
- Sleeve gastrectomy.
- Duodenal switch with biliopancreatic diversion.
I had the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. I decided to go with the RNY because it has the highest success rate and also it eliminates acid reflux. Let me tell you, I had it BAD. The surgery creates a small pouch at the top of the stomach. The small intestine is then cut, re-routed, and reconnected. Food then flows directly from the pouch into the small intestine. Because of this re-route you receive fewer nutrients but fewer calories are absorbed. Get accustomed to the fact that you will be taking vitamins for the rest of your life. Your hair will fall out and get thin.
Laparoscopic banding: I am not a fan of this and according to my surgeon, it isn’t the best route to go. The band is basically just an inflatable balloon that is placed around the upper part of the stomach and fixed in place. It creates a small stomach pouch on top but your regular stomach is below it. There is a port that is placed under the skin of the tummy and a tube connects to the band. Your doctor can inject fluid through the port and fill your balloon or take fluid away to adjust the tightness. It restricts the amount of food in your top pouch but as soon as it slides through, it goes to your big stomach. I had a friend that had this done. He LOVED ice cream. Do you know why he loved ice-cream? Um, its delicious (duh) AND it slides right through. Eat as much damn ice cream as you want!
Gastric sleeve: My friend who is a week out from me had the sleeve done. She has lost over 100 pounds too (WHOOHOO!) and is happy with her decision. Basically, the stomach is cut into a banana-like-tube and the rest is discarded. The smaller stomach cannot hold as much food as the standard stomach therefore resulting in weight loss. The sleeve does not affect the aborption of calories or nutrients into the intestines so you do not need to be on vitamins FOR-EV-ERRRRR.
Last but not least is the biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. Say that five times fast. I know very little about this procedure so I need to rely on The Mayo Clinic for information. Apparently, it is similar to the sleeve in that they remove a large amount of stomach but then, the intestine is severed, moved, and re-attached to the duodenum. Imagine if the RNY and the sleeve had a baby. I’m sorry, I don’t have a good picture of this. Please thank me later.
To be a good candidate for weight loss surgery, you must have proof that diet and exercise have been unsuccessful. Your BMI should be 40 or higher which is considered morbidly obese. If your BMI is only 35-40 (as in my case) you must have a serious weight-related health problem such as sleep apnea (BINGO!), high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes. Gastric bypass pretty much cures all of those health problems. I no longer have sleep apnea and I don’t even snore anymore. My blood pressure is in the “normal” range and even though I didn’t have “Diabeetus”, it would also be gone.
This is not the easy way out my friends. You must also pass a psychological exam to show that you are mentally prepared for surgery. Not only does this change your body but it changes your mind too. Most people struggle with the fact that eating isn’t fun anymore. Something that brought you complete joy and pleasure will now seem like a chore. Friends and family may not understand how to be around you or eat around you. They may not understand the hormonal changes you go through, or the actual physical changes. Some people may even be jealous because of the extreme weight loss with what seems like little or no effort. You might not be ready for the extreme weight loss or the stalls. You’re losing 10 pounds a week and then all of a sudden you stop for 2 weeks. That will cause a freak out all on its own! Bleeding, blood clots, bowel dysfunction, bowel obstruction, hernias, malnutrition, ulcers, vomiting, gallstones, infection, and DEATH! These are all possible and possibly serious side effects to bypass.
After all of that, why would someone decide to go through with surgery? At least for me, I needed some sort of outside intervention. I needed something to stop me from eating like an asshole and this was my light at the end of the tunnel. I still have to be conscious every single day on what I eat. My tummy (even though I just had surgery) is not flat and beautiful. My belly button currently looks like it went through a meat processing plant. But, I am 100% happy that I went through this process because it was the right process for ME.