With mortality rates from morbid obesity on the rise in Australia, it’s important to discuss all avenues of weight loss.

For some people, losing weight is not as easy as just cutting the carbs or putting in an extra session at the gym. For those people, their weight struggles have become a huge battle and it has begun to take a toll on their everyday life. Causing a whole range of physical health issues from the heart disease to infertility, obesity also wreaks havoc on your mental health. Although controlling your weight through a healthy lifestyle is always an optimal choice, it’s understandable, and accepted, that some people need to take that extra step to urgently curb the detrimental effects of obesity. This is where surgical weight loss becomes a very real option. Patients who undergo surgical weight loss procedures can expect to lose an average of 67% or more of their body weight, compared to less than 10% weight loss achieved through healthy diet and exercise.

Losing that first portion of excess weight is usually the most difficult barrier to break, in order to sustain and maintain a healthy weight. Many patients who lose a significant amount of weight through surgical procedures find there is an almost instant shift in mindset, making long term weight loss an easier and more achievable goal.

Weight loss surgery offers very effective treatment for a host of obesity-related health problems. It can put Type 2 Diabetes into remission. It can cure hypertension. It can alleviate sleep apnoea, gastro-oesophageal reflux, high cholesterol and depression. It can overcome polycystic ovarian syndrome, improve fertility and reduce the rates of preeclampsia and gestation diabetes.

A trusted provider of these services on the Gold Coast is the Surgical Weight Loss Centre, located at the Pindara Specialist Suites. This multi-procedural centre offers a number of surgical weight loss options tailored to the needs of the patient.

The three most commonly performed weight loss operations in Australia are the laparoscpic sleeve gastrectomy, laparoscopic Roux-en Y gastric bypass and laparoscopic gastric banding. Sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass achieve equal weight loss and improvements in health. A sleeve gastrectomy removes a large portion of the stomach along the greater curvature, decreasing stomach size by about 75%. This is often the most suitable option for a majority of patients, as it carries a slightly lower risk than gastric bypass and is more effective than gastric banding.

Gastric bypass procedures are a little more complex, dividing the stomach into a small upper pouch and a much larger lower ‘remnant’ pouch, then rearranging the small intestine to connect to both. However, this procedure yields better results in patients who have severe gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. Gastric banding, a procedure in which an inflatable silicone device is placed around the top portion of the stomach to slow consumption of food (and thus the amount of food consumed) is also considered a valid option for patients who do not have severe obesity.

The risks associated with surgical weight loss are quite low – they are comparable to gallbladder surgery and are actually lower than that of a joint replacement; this makes surgical weight loss a safe and effective option with sustained results for those who are struggling with obesity.

This article was published in Pindara Hospital magazine and is reprinted with permission.

Dr Jacobus Jordaan

Dr Jordaan is an Upper Gastrointestinal and Endocrine surgeon at Surgical Weight Loss Centre. He has extensive experience performing complex Gastrointestinal surgery with a particular focus on the laparscopic (keyhole) approach, including surgery on the stomach, duodenum, small bowel, gallbladder, adrenal glands and pancreas.

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