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The gastric band and bypass: techniques that reduce the size of a patient's stomach

The gastric band and bypass: techniques that reduce the size of a patient's stomach
/ SUR
  • Surgery for obesity is the last resort, when diet and nutrition have not been enough to reduce the patient's weight sufficiently

Bariatric or obesity surgery is the final solution for people whose weight is so excessive that it is causing different health problems. Once other slimming methods have failed, and after being seen by an endocrinology specialist, surgery is sometimes considered the best option to achieve a sufficient weight loss.

César Ramírez Plaza, who is the head of General and Digestive surgery at the Quirónsalud Málaga hospital, explains that two procedures are used for obesity surgery.

The first technique is known as gastric band (a vertical gastrectomy, which is a restrictive method used to reduce the size of the patient's stomach).

The second technique is the gastric bypass, which is a restrictive and derivative procedure. Dr Ramírez says the bypass can enable diabetes to be cured in obese patients.

He also stresses that this type of surgery must only be carried out with very safe technology, and only by well-trained surgeons who have recognised experience in this field.

"You have to resort to surgery for obesity when diet and nutrition have not been enough to reduce the patient's weight sufficiently," says Javier Moreno, an expert in bariatric surgery who is the head of the Gastroesophageal and Obesity Surgical Unit at the Regional Hospital in Malaga.

He also stresses how important it is for patients to change their lifestyle habits once they have had the operation, and that they follow the recommendations from doctors because otherwise they are very likely to put weight on again.

Serious health problems

Morbid or extreme obesity is a serious health problem. Patients with a pronounced excess weight are at greater risk of suffering cardiovascular illnesses and cancer. They also frequently suffer joint pain, diabetes, respiratory pathologies and high blood pressure. All this means they don't feel well in general and they see surgery as the only way they will be able to lose weight successfully.