Obesity rates in Canada are on the rise. It’s estimated that 24-25% of residents can be considered obese. Weight loss procedures such as lap band surgery may be a good option if you are an adult with a weight-related medical condition and willing to commit to lifestyle changes.

Types of Weight Loss Surgery

Gastric bypass
After surgery only a small part of the stomach (called the “pouch”) remains. It can’t hold much food, so it forces you to eat less. This surgery is done through a series of small incisions guided by a camera (laparoscope). Doctors can also perfrom a mini-gastric bypass, which is a less radical change to the stomach.

Adjustable gastric band
Also called lap band surgery, this involves putting a small band around the top portion of the stomach. The band has a balloon inside which controls how tight or loose the band is. Having this band in place limits how much you can eat.

Gastric sleeve
This removes most of the stomach, leaving only the narrow section of the upper stomach, called a gastric sleeve. This not only limits food intake, but may curb the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates appetite.

Duodenal switch
This is a more complex procedure that removes most of the stomach and uses a gastric sleeve to bypass much of the small intestine. This limits how much you can eat, but also reduces your body’s chances of absorbing nutrients.

Electric implant
This uses an electrical pulse which stimulates the nervous system between the stomach and brain, known as the vagus nerve. This nerve tells the brain when the stomach is full. The device is operated with a remote control.

Gastric balloon
Perhaps the least invasive surgery is bariatric technology – inserting a saline-filled silicon balloon into the stomach. It creates a feeling of fullness causing the patient to eat less. After six months and satisfactory progress, it is deflated and removed.

After Surgery
Most people begin losing weight almost immediately, and continue to do so for up to 24 months. After that, many will start to regain lost body fat, but few ever reach the weight that prompted the surgery. Medical conditions related to obesity typically improve. Some, such as diabetes, can improve quickly.

Side effects often include nausea, bloating, diarrhea, gas, dizziness, or excessive sweating as the body adjusts.

Serious consequences can include internal bleeding, infection, blood clots, and higher risk of suicide. However these effects are rare. Gallstones can form as a result of rapid weight loss. Rapid weight loss and nutritional issues can harm a developing baby, so most women are advised not to get pregnant after weight loss surgery until their systems stabilize.

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