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Laparoscopic Weight Loss Surgery – It’s An Option


According to many doctors and medical studies, obesity has become an epidemic. With two thirds of adult Americans overweight and about one-third considered obese, laparoscopic weight loss surgery has become a popular and successful option for those who have first tried the traditional diet and exercise programs.

This particular type of restrictive surgical procedure, laparoscopic weight loss surgery, is more commonly called lap band surgery. The idea behind the operation is to create a small pouch in the upper part of the stomach, thus limiting food intake. With this procedure a band device is put in place through tiny incisions in the abdomen and is placed around the upper part of the stomach.

Researchers have shown that, by World Health Organization standards, America is home to the most obese people in the world. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta report that weight problems in America have increased to include at least 60 percent of the population in the last 20 years. From this large number, how do medical researchers and doctors determine who is obese and who might be a candidate for laparoscopic weight loss surgery?

First, the level of obesity has to be determined. Obesity is simply “increased body weight due to excessive accumulation of fat.” Humans and other mammals must have a natural energy reserve stored in the fatty tissue. We need a certain amount of fat as stored energy and for insulating the body. However, this condition can increase to the point where it becomes a health concern. Too much fat can lead to serious health problems. It is at this point that the amount of body fat may point toward laparoscopic weight loss surgery.

The basic guideline is a measure the amount of fat in the body. The most commonly used method is body mass index (BMI). It is the method most widely used by researchers to set obesity levels, and is determined by dividing a person’s weight by height. For example, a person 66 inches tall (5’6”) who weighs 210 pounds has a BMI of 34. The National Institutes of Health) identify overweight as a BMI of 25 to 29.9 and obesity as a BMI of 30 or greater.

Candidates for laparoscopic weight loss surgery include those who have a BMI of 40 or more, or a BMI of 35 to 40 and a health risk such as type 2 diabetes or severe sleep apnea. Surgical choices include: restrictive surgery that limits food intake; malabsorptive procedures that isolate the small intestine from the digestive tract; and a combination of the two types. Medical professionals are now advising against malabsorptive operations due to the risk of severe nutrition deficiencies. The Institute for Advanced Bariatric Surgery, which specializes in laparoscopic weight loss surgery and similar procedures, urges concerned individuals to look at laparoscopic weight loss surgery as a stepping stone to better health and freedom from morbid obesity.

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