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Many women find themselves unable to follow strict diets and unable to lose weight due to different factors that lead them to turn to weight loss surgeries. It is important to thoroughly study weight loss surgeries before performing them to find out the best procedure for you and pre-surgical preparations.
Before going into details about weight loss surgeries, it is important to understand what morbid obesity is because such surgeries are not made for anyone who simply wants to lose weight.
We spoke to Dr. Ahmed Bahaa El Din, a Bariatric Surgeon, who gave us a better and detailed understanding of weight loss surgeries, their benefits, risks, and preparations required before surgery.
What is Morbid Obesity?
Morbid Obesity is a condition where excess fat accumulates in the body to the extent that the health and well-being of the person are adversely affected. This is determined by calculating the Body Mass Index (BMI) of a person.
Your BMI is your weight relative to your height. This is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. If your BMI is less than 18.5, then you are considered underweight. From 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal weight and from 25 to 29.9 means you are overweight.
Obesity has two classifications. Class 1 is someone with a BMI of 30-34.9. Class 2 obesity is someone with a BMI of 35-39.9. Morbid Obesity is diagnosed when your BMI is more than 40.
What are the main weight loss surgeries performed in Egypt?
There are two categories for weight loss surgeries.
1- Restrictive surgery
The size of the stomach is reduced, therefore limiting your food intake. The two main restrictive weight loss surgeries performed in Egypt are:
- Gastric band
- Sleeve gastrectomy
2- Malabsorptive Surgeries
The surgeon decreases the size of the stomach in addition to affecting the absorption of nutrients. The types of malabsorptive type of weight loss surgeries performed are:
- Roux-en-y gastric bypass
- Gastric by-pass surgery
There are several types of gastric-bypass surgeries, but the most common ones are the classical bypass and the omega-loop gastric bypass, also known as the mini-gastric by-pass.
Who qualifies for weight-loss surgeries?
According to Bahaa El Din, patients who are morbidly obese -BMI over 40- are very good candidates for weight loss surgeries. Individuals, who are at risk of developing severe health issues because of their obesity, must lose weight and sometimes they must resort to surgeries to avoid developing further life threatening conditions.
In addition, patients with a BMI higher than 35 who have underlying conditions and diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol may also qualify for weight loss surgeries.
What are the benefits of weight-loss surgeries?
According to Dr. Ahmed, patients can lose up to 50 percent of their excess weight in the first six months post-surgery and almost 80 percent of their excess body weight one year post–surgery.
In addition, any other underlying health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol may be resolved as a result of the excessive weight loss.
What are the side effects of weight loss surgeries?
There are short-term and long-term side effects. Short term side effects include bleeding, leakage, increased blood clotting, and respiratory complications. Long term complications include malnutrition, excess skin as a result of losing body weight, and osteoporosis. The risk of developing these complications is only 2-3%.
What are the preparations required pre-surgery?
Anyone opting for a weight loss surgery should be surgically fit to perform the required tests. In addition, an abdominal ultrasound in addition to an ECG (a check-up for potential cardiac diseases) and an echo (cardiac ultrasound) and of course we have to be sure that the patient is fit for surgery.
What to expect post-surgery?
Bahaa El Din explained that during the first year post-surgery, the patient should expect a very strong effect from the surgery to the extent of losing weight without any exercise or following a strict diet. However, after a year, the patient must depend on changing their lifestyle. This is very important to be able to continue losing weight.
Changing lifestyle includes regular exercise, eating small healthy meals, and drinking at least three liters of waters per day. Following these regulations will help the patient maintain the weight they lost.
Why do some people say weight loss surgeries didn’t work for them?
Choosing the correct surgery is extremely important. The type of surgery performed differs from case to case. For example, if a person wants to perform a sleeve surgery, this candidate should be a heavy-eater, and not a sweet-eater. Diabetic and morbidly obese patients and people with an extra sweet tooth are great candidates for gastric bypass surgeries.
Patients have to be aware and educate themselves about the post-surgery lifestyle changes. Following up with a good health-nutritionist is vital. Also performing required blood tests every six months post surgery is essential.
Further reading: Weight loss After 30: Coach Zeina Kassas Tells Us All About It