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Weight Loss - Surgery - Types of Surgery

There are varying types of weight loss surgery (WLS) available which are offered in terms of their suitability to your unique weight loss goals.

Types of Weight Loss Surgery

What exactly is weight loss surgery?

The term ‘weight loss surgery’ is also known as bariatric surgery to the more scientific amongst us. It describes a ‘treatment’ for the obese. Weight loss surgery works by decreasing the size of your stomach so the amount of food it can hold at once is minimised. 

There are varying types of weight loss surgery (WLS) available which are offered in terms of their suitability to your unique weight loss goals. Overall, this type of surgery helps you lead a happier and healthier life.

With each WLS, there are a series of advantages and disadvantages. A specialised bariatric surgeon would work closely with you to help determine which WLS is best suited to your weight loss goals.

The most common types of WLS include a gastric band and gastric bypass. To get the most out of this procedure you must also follow the dietetic advice of a nutritional therapist. Following your WLS you will be able to improve many obesity related conditions like diabetes. However, this option should be seen as a final resort rather than something to consider in the early days of losing weight.

Another type of surgery which is commonly grouped with weight loss surgery is cosmetic fat loss.

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Weight Loss Surgery Types

Frequently Asked

What Is Weight Loss Surgery?

Weight loss surgery, also called bariatric or metabolic surgery includes a variety of procedures performed on people who are obese.

What Is The Safest Form Of Weight Loss Surgery?

All surgeries have associated risks which you would discuss with your surgeon, the Gastric Band however is the simplest and safest procedure.

How Much Does Weight Loss Surgery Cost?

This can vary depending on the type of surgery you are having, your location, you hospital or private surgery and the surgeons fees.

How Overweight Do You Have To Be For Surgery?

This can differ via many factors. To be eligible for bariatric surgery, you must be between 16 and 70 years of age and morbidly obese, weighing at least 100 pounds over your ideal body weight and having a BMI of 40.

How Painful Is Bariatric Surgery?

As with any surgery, you may feel pain at your incision site or from the position your body was in during surgery. Although it is normal to experience some discomfort after surgery.

Types of Weight Loss Surgery

What is cosmetic weight loss? 

There are many reasons why someone would consider cosmetic fat loss procedures instead of weight loss surgery. Typically this would be someone who has already lost weight and has excess loose skin. Other reasons may include trying to shed a post-pregnancy ‘pouch’, or having stubborn fat that cannot be shifted from diet and exercise alone.

Cosmetic weight loss often refers to either a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) or liposuction depending on the volume of skin or fat that needs removing. A tummy tuck is popular where there is a ‘pouch’ of skin to remove, whereas liposuction is more popular when the body needs refining or contouring.

Weight loss surgery 

Weight loss surgery would be more suited to your needs as opposed to cosmetic fat loss surgery if you are obese and still have a lot of weight to lose. You must also have tried many other methods of weight loss previous before consulting for a gastric band or gastric bypass.

What is a gastric band?

Gastric banding is a surgical procedure carried out by a specialist bariatric surgeon in order for you to lose your desired amout of weight. The procedure itself consists of a ‘band’ being placed around the top of your stomach so you feel fuller quicker. Having a gastric band fitted is a reversible procedure and can be taken out at any time, unlike a gastric bypass.

This procedure must only be considered as an option once dieting and exercise have been tested. You should have tried several diets and at no point been able to maintain long term weight loss. 

The individuals most likely to consider this procedure are those who have a high BMI (body mass index) and subsequently at risk of obesity related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Following the procedure itself, you will have the full dietetic support from a dedicated team of specialists depending on your chosen provider.

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What is a gastric bypass?

A gastric bypass is similar to a gastric band in that it should be seen as a last resort. However, the difference is a gastric bypass is irreversible as it changes your physical anatomy. 

In this procedure, the top portion of your stomach is detached and reconnected with your small intestine. This means you will feel satisfied quicker, therefore you will not be able to eat as much food. Also, fewer calories from the food you do eat will be absorbed. This helps promote the longevity of weight loss following this procedure.

To consider having a gastric bypass, you must have first tried and tested several diets and exercise regimes in order to establish that you are unable to lose weight this way and maintain said weight loss. 

If these traditional methods are not working, a gastric bypass is a great solution that will work and will also keep the weight off. Following the procedure, you will enter into a lifelong commitment changing your lifestyle and eating habits. This means the ideal candidate must be dedicated to losing weight.    

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Cosmetic fat loss

If you have lost some weight or are considering weight loss surgery for cosmetic reasons such as the look of your stomach, a cosmetic weight loss procedure may be more suited to you. Cosmetic fat loss procedures include a tummy tuck and liposuction.

What is a tummy tuck?

An abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a tummy tuck can remove unwanted skin of fat from the abdominal region of the body. The procedure also tightens muscles in this area to provide a smoother profile.

The results of a tummy tuck give you a firmer and flatter stomach that would have been achievable through only diet and exercise. This may seem too good to be true, that’s why it’s important not to consider this procedure as an alternative to weight loss or to being healthy. This surgery is something to have done in conjunction with these things. 

The main benefit of this type of surgery is that some of the results are visible immediately, you will be able to see a flatter profile right away. After the procedure you will be required to eat a healthy diet, and carry out light, regular exercise to maintain or improve the results. 

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What is liposuction?

As another cosmetic fat loss procedure, liposuction eliminates stubborn areas of fat from any area of the body. You should have tried to remove these fat pockets through dietary changes and exercise, however the type of fat suited to this procedure is those last few pounds which diet alone will not remove.

Liposuction should be looked at as a method of fine tuning as opposed to a dramatic change on your body. This fine tuning procedure aims to contour your body by:

  • Removing unwanted fat
  • Defining your figure
  • Aligning all areas of your body

After liposuction, your figure will be permanently slimmed down which is a great result! However, if you put more than a couple of pounds of weight on following the procedure the results will likely be effected. However, more typically the results of liposuction will get better in time, once the swelling has settled down. It is normal to see a little fluctuation immediately after a liposuction treatment. 

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Do I need weight loss surgery or cosmetic fat loss surgery?

After reading through the differences betwee weight loss surgery and fat loss solutions, hopefully you are a little clearer on which type of procedure woud be most suited to your current weight loss goals. 

If you still have several pounds to shed, weight loss surgery (either a gastric band or gastric bypass) will be more suited to you. But, if you need to lose weight from a cosmetic point of view, maybe you have saggy skin or stubborn areas of fat, a cosmetic fat loss procedure (such as a tummy tuck or liposuction) is more likely to suit you more. 

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