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Weight Loss Surgery

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Weight loss surgery is an alternative and effective method of losing excess weight for a health life. As a nation, we are going through trying moments as lifestyle diseases related to weight incapacitate our productive segment of the society and lose our loved one. In deed, the future health of many people appears bleak. The recent estimates show that more than two third of Americans are overweight and even the weight status of our children is at risk. Our weight problem has been contributed by many factors but most significant is that we are eating too much fats and high calorie diet while many stay away from the field and exercises. Our overweight status is making us number one contender among nations for type II diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases like stroke. Overweight has already been recognized as a health risk but most of the strategies devised seem not to be working right. Even with increased advocacy on changing our dietary pattern and doing more exercises, the rate of overweight individual is still on the rise. Perhaps it is the time those who have tried weight loss through these means and failed to try weight loss surgery. Weight loss surgery is an alternative and effective method of losing excess weight for a health life.

Weight problem

Before we get into details about the problem, let us first understand it well. When doe we say an individual is overweight? It is not everyone who is “huge” or with a big body who is obese. The weight status of an individual is measured using Body Mass Index (BMI) which is a comparison of individual weight and height. A normal BMI should range from 18 to 24. Overweight individual have a BMI between 24 and 27.5 while those with BMI above 27.5 are classified obese.

Wight problem is not a new issue in our nation and it has been classified as one of the challenges that we are facing as a nation.  In the last two decades, our nation has gained new status as the leading overweight nation in the world.  The recent studies show that almost two thirds of Americans which is about sixty four percent of the population is either overweight or obese. (Grossman, 2004) Nearly fourteen percent of Americans are confirmed obese which is a sixty one percent increase since 1991.

The increased risk comes along with increased cost. It is estimated that obesity scourge cost the society more than $300 billion every year including medical cost and the sick off days.  Obesity already cost American employers more than $12 billion every year in medical cost and sick off days. Health care cost of obese employee is thirty six percent more than that of normal weight workers.  The cost of overweight and obese goes up with increase with the BMI as the intensity of weight problem change from overweight to obese to morbid obese. (Grossman, 2004)

Weight loss methods

The predominant weight loss method that has been emphasized is change of diet and increased participation in exercises. This stems from the fact that our dietary pattern is dominated by high calorie and fatty diet. This leads to accumulation of excess weight in our body predisposing us to various health complications. Regular exercise is recommended in order to burn the excess calories stored in the body.  Despite weight loss program designed along the two strategies, weight problem continue to be on the rise. This has led to the development of alternative method like weight loss surgery which provided immediate and perhaps long term weight management method. Let us look at weight loss surgery in details.

Weight loss through surgery

Weight loss surgery is an alternative fast and efficient weight loss method provided as an alternative to different diet programs and exercise regimens which individual find difficult to comply. Weight loss surgeries represent an array of surgical procedures which are gaining recognition due to their effectiveness. (Snow et al., 2005) There is a category of people in the population who have found it difficult to lose weight through the normal diet program and exercise regimens despite strict adherence to their provisions.  A number of people with lower metabolism are especially advised to under weight loss surgery since it would be futile for them to lose weight through the convention diet programs and exercise regimens.

(i) How does weight loss surgery work?

Weight loss surgery works by reducing the amount of food that an individual takes.  It can also work by reducing the amount of food that the digestive system can digest which means there will be reduced amount of nutrient reaching the cells.  Most surgical procedures have been shown to reduce more than fifty percent of the extra body weight. Through good diet and exercise, it has been shown that individuals can still maintain their new weight for a period of five years. (Snow et al., 2005)

(ii) Weight loss surgery procedure

Weight loss surgery procedures comes under Bariatric weight loss  procedures which  has two prominent methods, gastric by pass surgery or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and lap band procedures. Lap Band is a restrictive procedure while gastric bypass combines both restrictive and malabsorptive procedures.

The most common weight loss surgery is gastric bypass surgery.  This method changes the anatomy of the digestive system in order to limit the amount of food that one can eat and digest successfully. Gastric bypass surgery lowers weight loss and greatly reduces the medical problems which are associated with obesity.

Gastric bypass is the most preferred among the batriatic surgery. Gastric bypass is preferred because it is safe and has few post surgery complications compared to other weight loss surgeries. (Snow et al., 2005) Gastric bypass also comes with long-term consistent low weight maintenance but only when it is accompanied by positive behavior changes.

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass reduces the size of the digestive system in order to limit the amount of food that the stomach can take.  Reduced amount of food in the stomach means that there will be high calorie wastage. This method reduces the capacity of the stomach and also bypass upper portion of the small intestine. This greatly reduced the amount of calories that the body can absorb. (MayoClinic.com, 2007)

The other method of weight loss method is adjustable gastric band. This method restricts the portion size of the stomach limiting the amount it can take. This method can be administered to individuals who have a BMI over 30. However adjustable gastric band is not effective as bypass gastric surgery and can only lead to weight loss of about twenty five percent for a period of eighteen months. (Collins, 2007)

(iii) Associated Risks

There are a lot of dangers which are associated with Batriatic surgery (both gastric banding and gastric bypass).  They are both major operation which lasts for more than two hours and can even last longer if it is performed through laporascopically. The patient has to be under medical watch in hospital for about three to five nights. Immediately after the surgery, the patient is placed under high dependency or a high intensive care environment due to the high risk involved.

After the surgical procedure, the patient will be expected to remain out of work for out two to three weeks. However the health risk from the procedure varies with the condition of the patient, the kind of procedure that one undergoes and the experience of the medical practitioner who performs the procedure. (Adams et al., 2007)  Bariatric surgeries come with all the possible complications and risk which are associated with major operations.  After the surgical procedure, there is increased risk of complications. Recent research shows that   about four out of ten patients usually suffer from complications within a period of six months after the surgical procedure. About twenty percent of patients will require re-hospitalization in order to treat some specific problems which are associated with the surgical procedures.

There are reported incidences of death from the procedures although this far outweighs the risk that is associated with obesity. Death rates have been resulted in every 200 to 300 surgical operations which are less that one percent.  However there are other health risk problems which can arise from the procedure which may call for corrective surgical procedures. (Adams et al., 2007)


The weigh problem is one of the serious issues facing our society. About two third of American population is overweight or obese and this is costing the society a lot. Despite increased awareness of weight loss diet programs and exercise regimens, the problem still persists. Bariatric surgery has been proposed as an alternative to the diet and exercise strategies. Gastric bypass procedure and Adjusting Lap Band are two common weight loss surgery process which work by limiting the size of the stomach and the amount of nutrients absorbed by the body. However there are some complications associated with the procedures and about twenty percent of patients are re-hospitalized to different associated problems.


Adams, T., Gress, R., & Smith, S. (2007). Long-term mortality after gastric bypass surgery. New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 357(8): 753-761. This was a long term study that looked into the rate of mortality that is related to the bypass procedure. This study evaluated the effect of bypass surgery in a groped of patients who had undergone the procedure and found reduced rate of mortality. This source was chosen for this study to provided information regarding the post-operative effects of the procedure. It was one of the most important sources of information regarding the complications that are associated with the procedure.

Collins, A. (2007). Introduction to Batriatric weight loss surgery. Retrieved on 25th November 2008 from, http://www.annecollins.com/bariatric-surgery.htm. In this site, Collins gives a good account of the weigh loss surgery procedure. Unlike other sources, this site provides comprehensive review of the various procedures including the bypass gastric surgery and lap band procedures. It also evaluates the success of the procedures. The site was chosen for the study due to the comprehensiveness in covering the two most important weight loss surgical procedures.

Grossman, R. J. (2004). Countering a weight crisis: America’s growing weight problem raises serious HR issue relating to health care costs, wellness, and recruiting and employee relations. Human Resource Magazine, March 2004. In this issue the author gives an accurate figure of the prevalence of the overweight and obesity among the American. It also gives an account of the economic and social cost related to this problem for both the society and American employers. The issue gives a clear description and reality of the problem that we are facing as Americans and why we need a fast intervention. This issue was selected for the paper due to the accuracy of information given and because it gave a good account of the prevalence and cost of the scourge compared to other sources available.

MayoClinic.com, (2007). Gastric bypass: What can you expect? Retrieved on 25th November 2008 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gastric-bypass/HQ01465. Mayo clinic is one of the known online source of clinical information regarding various medical condition. This site was chosen for this paper due to its detailed coverage of the procedure and the reliability of the information when compared to other medical source. This give an account of the gastric bypass procedures in a detailed way compared to other source that were available for this paper. It contains detailed information on how the procedure is performed, its effects and benefits and also touché on the lap band procedure. It is one of most reliable site that as utilized for this essay.

Snow, V., Barry, P., Fitterman, N., Qaseem, A. & Weiss, K. (2005). Pharmacological and surgical management of obesity in primary care: A clinical practice guideline from the American college of physicians. Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 142(7): 525-531. This is a guideline that was developed in response to the increased number of patients who were seeking pharmacological and surgical management of the problem. This guideline was developed in order to ensure that there would be delivery of services in a standardized way from all the practitioners. It provides guidelines under which pharmacological and surgical procedures should be carried out with a review of studies that have documented the success of those guidelines. This was an important source of information regarding the procedure.

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