5 alternatives to gastric bypass surgery

Gastric bypass surgery

When all measures fail; diets, exercise, and prayers, gastric bypass surgery is the ultimate measure that is used to control weight. There are two main ways that the stomach is surgically operated upon to reduce the amount of food you can eat and absorb-

  • Surgically limiting the total size of the stomach such that the capacity of the stomach to hold food is reduced
  • Attaching a part of the small intestine directly to the stomach to shorten its length, such that the intestine absorbs fewer calories from food.

These are high-risk surgeries and should be the last resort for even those who are morbidly obese. The biggest drawback of any gastric bypass surgery is that there are high chances of nutritional deficiencies like vitamin B12, D, iron deficiency. Here are some highly efficient alternatives to gastric bypass surgery that will set you on the path to weight loss with minimal side effects. You can discuss these options with your doctor before opting for surgery. Your doctor will help you explore options for a safer weight loss plan.

5 alternatives to gastric bypass surgery

1. Transoral sleeve gastroplasty:

Transoral sleeve gastroplasty is a less invasive alternative to gastric bypass surgery. It involves reducing the stomach capacity by as much as 80%.

  • It is more effective than medications in controlling weight but not as invasive as a gastric bypass surgery. Thus, this is an effective and efficient mid-way option.
  • Transoral sleeve gastroplasty uses an endoscopic device to suture or stitch the stomach, reduce its size and efficiently reduce the food holding capacity of the stomach.
  • Many endoscopists compare the procedure to orthodontics because it requires regular interventions to check the condition of the sutures and control the decreased capacity of the stomach.

2. Gastric balloon placement:

The gastric balloon placement procedure is a non-surgical procedure that involves no incision.

  • It includes endoscopically inserting a balloon into the stomach of the patient via the mouth. After insertion, once it is within the stomach, the balloon is inflated by filling it with a salt and water solution. The balloon fills up the stomach, leaving much lesser space for food.
  • The patients feel full faster as the capacity of the stomach to hold food is reduced. Because most of the space in the stomach is filled with the saline balloon, the patients automatically eat less.
  • The balloon is removed after a period of 6 months by which time the patients have lost about 26% to 48% of their body weight.
  • Patients are required to maintain their weight after that by continuing the healthier food and lifestyle choices adapted during the 6-month period.

3. Gastric band surgery:

Gastric band surgery is another effective alternative to gastric bypass surgery.

  • Gastric band surgery consists of placing adjustable silicon bands around the upper part of the stomach.
  • The band can be tightened or loosened via a device under the skin, by injecting sterile saline water into the band to tighten it.
  • After banding, the stomach size is reduced, and it can hold less food, making the patient feel full and satiated faster.
  • Nutrition from the food consumed is properly absorbed, as the procedure does not interfere with the intestines.

4. vBloc therapy:

vBloc therapy is a relatively novel treatment to get rid of excess weight. This line of treatment inserts an electrical device into or near the stomach. This device sends electrical impulses to the stomach that stimulates a feeling of fullness and help control food portions you consume.

  • vBloc therapy consists of inserting an implant close to the skin that blocks the vagal nerve signals. This works in two ways. It helps patients by reducing hunger pangs and satiety threshold. It also blocks the production of digestive juices, thus slowing down the digestive processes and helping the patient to feel full for longer periods.
  • vBloc therapy also requires the patient to change their dietary patterns and adopt healthy food habits for maximum benefits.
  • vBloc is a minimally invasive procedure and is safer than intensive surgical procedures such as a gastric bypass surgery.

 5. Medicines:

Certain drugs originally developed to treat type 2 diabetes have shown promising results in weight loss.

  • Medicines such as dipeptidyl peptidase-4 influence the hormones to reduce appetite, while others such as orlistat work by reducing the fat absorption capacity of the body.
  • However, the efficacy of these drugs differs from person to person, and what may show visible results in one might have negligible effects on another person.

Nonetheless, it is important to note that no surgery or medicines can replace healthy lifestyle choices. Eating right even if you are morbidly obese goes a long way in maintaining an active body. A diet loaded with calories like sodas, chocolates, and processed foods adversely affect your body and mind.

Surgeries help reduce weight, but if these are not accompanied by exercise and healthy eating habits, then it is likely that you may slip back to your previous weight in no time.

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