What Is Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery is an umbrella term for surgical weight-loss procedures that address obesity either by limiting the amount of food the stomach can hold or reducing nutrient absorption, or both. While in the past it was done primarily to lose significant weight in a relatively short period, the operation is now recommended as a treatment in lowering one’s risk of developing serious weight-related conditions such as:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Breathing problems such as asthma and sleep apnea
- Osteoarthritis of the knees
Bariatric surgery in Singapore is mostly performed via keyhole surgery (laparoscopy) to facilitate quicker healing with lower complications and without compromising on efficacy.
Types of Bariatric Surgery
There are several types of bariatric surgery in Singapore, the most common ones being:
A saline- or air-filled balloon is placed into the stomach through gastroscopy, in which a tube containing the balloon is inserted into the stomach through the throat. The balloon is inflated to limit the amount of food that the stomach can hold. Unlike other types of bariatric surgery, a gastric balloon is a temporary treatment, good for a maximum of only six months.
Similar to a gastric bypass, a gastric band involves creating a smaller stomach pouch to limit the food that the patient consumes. The difference is that the latter is adjustable and reversible.
Here, an inflatable band is placed around the top of the stomach. Inflating the band tightens it and creates a smaller stomach pouch that is connected to the rest of the stomach via a very tight channel. The tightness of the band is adjusted using a port that is placed under the skin of the abdomen.
Vertical sleeve gastrectomy in Singapore is a relatively new procedure in which a large portion of the stomach is cut off (or stapled), resulting in a smaller, tube-shaped stomach that effectively restricts the amount of calories that the body absorbs. Sleeve gastrectomy may permanently remove parts of the stomach, and is therefore irreversible.
The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, known as a gastric bypass, is a non-reversible form of bariatric surgery consisting of two major parts.
First, the surgeon cuts and separates the top portion of the stomach, creating a small pouch that can hold a very limited amount of food. The surgeon then cuts the small intestine and sews it onto the new stomach pouch, thereby bypassing the rest of the stomach (which is now surgically connected to the small intestine).
Types of Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery isn’t just for anybody who wants to lose weight. As a relatively major medical procedure, there are certain requirements that need to be met before bariatric surgery can be recommended:
- The patient is classified as extremely obese (BMI of 37.5 or higher) or overweight by more than 100 pounds
- The patient is classified as obese (BMI of 32.5) and diagnosed with an above mentioned weight-related medical condition
- The patient has difficulty losing weight despite diet and lifestyle modifications
A quick visit to the doctor is the best way to determine whether a patient can or should undergo weight loss surgery or not, or if other treatment methods are more suitable.