Bariatric Surgery in Singapore: How Does It Work?

It is easy for people to say that diet and exercise is the key to losing weight. However, due to differences in people’s bodies, some cannot shed some pounds by following what others are doing. Some people’s efforts with diet and exercise may not always be fruitful. If such is the case, a weight loss surgery may be a good solution.

Who Qualifies for Bariatric Surgery in Singapore?

Bariatric surgery, also known as gastric banding, obesity surgery or bypass surgery, is a procedure that is not available for everyone. A patient should be one of the following:

  1. The person has 40 or higher Body Mass Index, which means he or she is extremely obese; or
  2. The person has weight-associated illnesses such as severe sleep apnea, high blood pressure or type-2 diabetes AND has a BMI of 35 to 39.9.

How Does Obesity Surgery Affect Weight Loss?

There are different types of bariatric surgeries, each one differ in helping a person lose weight. One method is by restriction, wherein the stomach’s capacity for food is reduced. The person will easily feel full with less amount of food. Another method is by malabsorption, wherein the surgery causes the digestive system’s nutrient and calorie absorption ability to be limited. Bariatric surgery also causes a reduction of the production of the hunger hormone called ghrelin.

What Are the Popular Types of Bariatric Surgery?

With several medical breakthroughs nowadays, there are several operations being offered for weight loss surgery. However, three procedures are more popular than the rest, and these are:

  1. Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, or RYGB This is the most highly sought out method. The upper part of the stomach is divided from the rest, creating a pouch that is only an ounce in volume. Then a part of the small intestine is likewise cut-off. These two disconnected parts: the small stomach pouch and the small intestine (bottom portion) are then connected to each other. In the end, this makes a small stomach, allowing only a small amount of food intake. With the first portion of the small intestine also cut-off, there is a significant reduction in calorie absorption. This rerouting can also contribute to hormone changes, which includes a reduction in hunger pangs. This surgery makes use of both restriction and malabsorption.
  2. Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy This is another weight loss procedure wherein a part of the stomach is cut-off. Unlike the previous method where the stomach is cut horizontally, this procedure cuts a part of the stomach vertically, leaving a tubular pouch that looks like a banana. Like RYGB, Sleeve Gastrectomy leaves a smaller stomach for reduced food intake, and it affects hunger and satiety. The disadvantage of this procedure is that it is non-reversible, unlike the RYGB.
  3. Adjustable Gastric Band As the name implies, it involves the use of an adjustable band that is tied around the stomach. This creates a smaller stomach pouch at the top. The opening between the smaller pouch and the rest stomach can be adjusted by filling up the band with saline solution. A port is placed under the skin to facilitate the introduction of saline to the gastric band. It is less drastic than the first two, which also means that the rate of weight loss is not as fast. However, there is lower risk of vitamin deficiency issues as it does not involve malabsorption.

The choice of which procedure to utilize depends on the patient and the doctor. If the excess weight in a patient is already causing type 2 diabetes, then the first two surgeries are usually recommended to treat the said illness.

Patients must also keep in mind that after getting bariatric surgery in Singapore, there is a need to adhere to a strict diet and exercise regimen. Although the procedures can greatly reduce food intake, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is necessary for a successful weight loss treatment.

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