Here at Streamline Surgical we have tried to gather together as much useful and relevant information as possible to help you understand obesity and weight loss surgeries that are available. In addition to this, our ‘In the News’ section gathers together the latest articles on the key topics in obesity.
What is obesity?
On the most technical level obesity is defined as a Body Mass Index of over 30kg/m2. It is a global epidemic that is affecting both developed and underdeveloped countries, and is considered to be one of the leading preventable causes of death throughout the world.
The severe complications associated with obesity such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and arthritis are often disabling and lead to premature mortality.
There are many risk factors associated with the development of obesity including; overeating, sedentary lifestyles, depression and physical disability. Often people who struggle with their body mass go through a process of Yo-Yo dieting with prolonged periods of weight loss and gain. The vast majority of diets fail (up to 95%) as people gain weight again shortly after losing it (Mann T et al 2007), therefore, one of the most challenging aspects of obesity management is the ability to sustain weight loss. Surgery has been proven as a highly successful solution and Streamline Surgical has the resources to offer this option with excellent aftercare packages.
“We’ve made sure that we have a team who completely understand and empathise with our patients’ obesity issues. Obesity is a worldwide problem and to tackle it in the long-term is key to people’s health and happiness” Guy Slater, Consultant Bariatric Surgeon
- Government Foresight Report 2007 (www.foresight.gov.uk)
- Mann T, Tomiyama A, Westling E et al. Medicare’s search for effective obesity treatments: diets are not the answer. Am Psychol 2007;62(3)220-233
What causes obesity?
There are several schools of thought relating to the cause of obesity. Obesity is primarily caused by an energy imbalance where calorie intake exceeds expenditure. We all need calories to fuel us through the day, however, any excess food becomes stored as fat. If physical activity levels increase, fat stores are metabolised and therefore results in weight loss. Achieving a balance that allows suitable weight control is difficult.
Implications of obesity
There is a strong correlation between a high BMI and an increased level premature mortality. Obese individuals are 80 times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than people of lower weight, and conditions such as this are referred to as ‘co-morbidities’ which are just as dangerous to a person’s life. Some of the most common of these conditions linked to increased weight gain are diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and arthritis.
Medical Complications of Obesity
Benefits of weight loss
Every day we see the benefits that weight loss brings to our patients, whichever surgery option they choose. The benefits for each patient are different and can cover physical, emotional and mental aspects of their lives. The benefits also reach to patients’ family and friends. Patients have reported the following:
- Being able to play with children/grandchildren
- Not being controlled by food anymore
- Improved self confidence and esteem
- Liking what they see in the mirror
- Going on a plane/train/bus and fitting in the seats
- Not feeling stared at and judged by others anymore
- Having more freedom to do what you want to do
- Feeling respected and listened to by others
- Everyday life being so much easier and more comfortable
Even a 5-10% reduction in weight can lead to a decrease in the risk of developing diabetes and a reduction in obesity related cancers. It also results in a decrease in mortality. Some of the more noticeable physical benefits are decreased breathlessness and improved sleep apnoea, back and joint pain. For many, the benefits seen are intangible, including dramatic boosts to self-esteem and reductions in depression and anxiety.
Who is eligible for weight loss surgery?
To qualify for surgery, patients need to have a BMI of over 40 if they have no illnesses related to their obesity or over 35 if they have got obesity related illnesses. We follow the latest National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines for bariatric surgery.
What are the risks of weight loss surgery?
Another question we often get asked relates to the risks associated with weight loss surgery. Our main job as surgeons is to preserve health and to improve the quality of life of our patients, but we always strive to reduce the risks involved with surgery. There is a level of risk involved with every operation of any type, but we see the key as being the balance between the risks of performing the surgery versus the other health risks associated with obesity. Surgery is often much less of a risk than not losing weight.
Will I lose weight straight away?
Yes, as long as you follow the advice of our specialist team. Keeping up regular dietetic appointments you can expect to see a steady weight loss during the first year.
Is weight loss surgery painful?
Why do I have to see a dietitian as well as you?
It is very important to not only see the dietitian before your surgery but also to maintain regular contact after surgery.
Prior to surgery it will be for you and us to discuss your eating habits and to help us guide you to the most appropriate surgery.
Post surgery it will help you adjust to your new dietary requirements and eating patterns to help ensure you maximise the chances of reaching your potential weight loss.
Why do I have to do pre-surgery diet?
How long before I can go back to work after my weight loss operation?
The length of time that a patient needs off work is determined a little bit by themselves and by the type of surgery. Normally after a band you would expect to be able to return to work in a week or two, but after a laparoscopic bypass or sleeve you are likely to be off for two or three weeks.
I have heard that your hair can fall out after weight loss surgery, is this true?
Yes, this is a possibility but it will grow back. Bariatric surgery leads to a state of malnutrition in the body and therefore any energy supplies are directed towards maintaining organ function. Hair growth is therefore temporarily affected but the body gradually adapts to a lower energy intake.
If I have a problem post-surgery, who should I contact?
You will have access to the entire team throughout the period of your follow up. You will be given a contact number for emergency problems.
Will I need to take vitamin supplements after weight loss surgery and if so, for how long?
Following a gastric bypass, you will be on life long vitamin supplementation. Your dietitian will provide more specific advice at follow up appointments.
What happens if my weight loss surgery doesn’t work?
Bariatric surgery has a very high success rate but requires commitment to diet regimes post-operatively from the patient. If for any reason the operation is unsuccessful e.g. due to insufficient weight loss or complications, revision procedures are possible. However, these operations carry a higher risk and further discussion with the surgeon is required. For more information on bariatric rescue click here.