Weighing Up Your Weight Loss Surgery Options

I'll be brutally honest, weight loss surgery is - in my opinion - one of the most pointless and ridiculous experiences that an intelligent, free-thinking human being can put themselves through. Sounds harsh, but it's true. All surgery is dangerous and major surgery even more so. Given this, unless there is a really pressing medical reason, why would anyone voluntarily put themselves through such an ordeal?

Weight loss surgery makes plastic surgeons extremely wealthy, because it's extremely expensive. It also completely fails to address the underlying problem of why you gained weight in the first place, which means it's quite likely that you will put the weight back on eventually (or have to live with various devices permanently attached to your insides). And it kills! Perhaps the highest profile example of this is Mrs Donda West, the mother of Hip Hop artist Kanye West, who died in November 2007 shortly after undergoing a joint breast reduction, tummy tuck and liposuction procedure.

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But despite all these obvious dangers, the obesity crisis is making more and more desperate people turn to this solution as the way to resolve their obesity issues. So if you really insist on going down this route, what are your options? Here are a few:

Weight Loss Surgery Options

1. Gastric bypass surgery: This is a type of surgery that is becoming increasingly popular and has been chosen by a number of famous people such as the golfer John Daly, veteran Hollywood actor Brian Dennehy and Sharon Osbourne. There are various types of this kind of surgery (including adjustable gastric banding and vertical banded gastroplasty), all of which involve using various techniques or devices to bypass part of the stomach or intestinal tract to reduce the amount of food that can be digested or processed at any one time.

The complications with this surgery are many and varied - gastric bands will slip in 30% of cases and vomiting is common with this procedure. A Biliopancreatic Diversion (in which part of the stomach is removed) leads to diarrhea and 10% will experience oedema, hair loss, ulcers, or protein malnutrition. Patients who successfully undergo this procedure will require lifetime nutritional supplementation to avoid malnutrition. But they are the lucky ones - about 2% of patients die during the procedure!

2. Intragastric balloon: A balloon placed in the stomach. The surgeon inflates it so that the patient constantly feels full. The balloon can only remain for 6 months during which time it could leak or burst.

3. Jaw wiring: Jaws are wired together to make eating difficult - but people find ways to get their calories in sugary, liquid form. Jaw wiring as a method of weight control has now largely gone out of fashion.

4. Liposuction: As the name suggests, this is a surgical procedure in which suction is applied to remove subcutaneous fat. The procedure is very useful for reshaping the contours of the face, hips, breasts, or tummy, but it has little or no effect on insulin sensitivity, cholesterol, blood pressure, or even weight, since the amount of fat removed is relatively small. Complications include damage to the skin or nerves and damage to vital organs.

This is just a quick snapshot of some of the obesity weight loss surgery options available. But behind the glossy marketing and inspiring "before and after" images, weight loss surgery is extremely dangerous and is often fatal. And the irony is that the fatter you are, the much higher your chances of complications during and after surgery, so you have the double whammy of higher risk people opting for higher risk procedures. CRAZY!

Want some good advice? Forget about weight loss surgery! Find out the real reason why you have gained or are putting on weight, deal with those issues, then start to lose weight properly and permanently by taking more exercise and eating sensibly. Whatever your reasons for your weight gain or obesity problems, weight loss surgery may be one answer, but it really isn't the RIGHT answer.

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