Sunday, 8 May 2011

Weight Loss Surgery – Duodenal Switch

Weight loss surgery has been around for over 30 years now. In many cases, it serves as a last resort for those whose weight is posing a significant threat to their health. Where continued attempts at dieting have failed, it may be possible to undergo weight loss surgery. One of the newest types of weight loss surgery or bariatric surgery is called a duodenal switch.

Who Can Have This Surgery?

Different criteria will have to be taken into account for each individual wanting such surgery. However, in order to have any kind of bariatric surgery you need to have a body mass index (BMI) that puts you in the ‘obese’ category. This is 30 or above. However, if BMI is too high, say 40+ which puts someone in the category of ‘morbid obesity’, it’s possible that other health problems may make surgery too risky.

What Happens In The Procedure?

Duodenal switch surgery involves shortening the first part of the small intestine, which is where the majority of digestion takes place. Furthermore, a portion of the stomach is removed, though the size of the stomach pouch which remains is significantly larger than alternative methods of bariatric surgery allow.

How Does It Work?

Although the stomach is smaller, this doesn’t have too much effect on the size of meals eaten. Instead, the absence of this portion of stomach seems to cut down on the production of the appetite-stimulating hormone, ghrelin. This causes a reduction in hunger so can help with weight loss. The other main effect is the shortening of the small intestine which results in a reduction of calorie absorption.

What Can You Eat?

Those who have had duodenal switch surgery can only have liquidised meals for the first three weeks after the operation. After this, normal food can be eaten but it must be high protein and low fat to prevent unwanted side effects. Ideal foods include white meat, eggs, low fat dairy products and nuts.

Are There Any Side Effects?

The knock-on effect of absorbing fewer calories from food, means that the patient is missing out on vital nutrients and can therefore start suffering from nutritional deficiencies. As such, those who have had duodenal switch surgery will have to ensure they eat a high protein diet along with taking vitamin and mineral supplement to reduce the risk of malnourishment. Plus, eating too many fatty foods can result in loose and foul-smelling stools. As with all surgery, there is a risk of blood clots.

Around a year after surgery, the stomach should have stretched enough to enable normal sized meals to be eaten. However, because many nutrients are not absorbed, it is very difficult to regain any weight. The operation is done using keyhole surgery and is non-reversible. As with all obesity surgery, while they help you lose weight, it does involve a significant change to dietary habits.

Duodenal Switch Surgery - diagrammatic

Duodenal Switch Surgery in action (Not for the faint hearted!)

© Diets and Calories 2011


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