What Do Bariatric Doctors Do?
In the realm of weight management specialists, Bariatric Doctors are men and women who focus on the surgical aspect and methods connected with weight loss. They tend to shy away from patients suffering only from moderate obesity, as that can be resolved more easily by exercise, eating healthy, and taking mild medication. As such, they more often provide their services to patients with heavy to extreme obesity.
The Services Bariatric Doctors Provide
Given the nature of their field, bariatric doctors offer surgical solutions for curing extreme obesity. The most common bariatric surgery is the Lap Band procedure. During this time, a bariatric surgeon makes an incision along the patient’s abdomen, through which they insert a “lap band” around the upper portion of the stomach. This causes patients to become fuller faster, as the band creates a “smaller” stomach that can hold much less food than an average stomach. This technique is great for long-term weight loss, as it forces the patient to eat less.
Other surgeries that bariatric doctors perform include:
- Biliopancreatic diversion (BPD): Much like the lap-band procedure, this involves surgical means of making a smaller stomach out of a normal stomach. Where it differs is in its use of a tube that connects the intestines with the new, smaller stomach, bypassing the larger “unused” stomach and increasing absorption of nutrients from foods. Gallstones can be a common side effect of this procedure, so the bariatric doctor will likely prescribe pills or actually remove the gallbladder during BPD.
- Endoluminal Sleeve: During this procedure, the surgeon places a 10 cm long impermeable sleeve into a patient’s intestine in order to block absorption of food in the duodenum and upper jejunum. It was originally tested on rats, and led to results showing that they ate 30% less food and lost 20% more weight than rats who weren’t given the treatment. In humans, it has been discovered that patients in the Netherlands showed a decrease of 5.5 BMI points in 3 months.
Why Pick a Bariatric Doctor?
Bariatric Doctors are great tools to be used by any one with severe obesity that might not otherwise be remedied through a change in diet or exercise. They are the doctors who handle patients that are at an extremely high risk for more severe health issues, most notably heart dysfunctions due to their drastic obesity.
If you are not considered to be at such a high risk, you would more than likely benefit the services of a general weight management specialist — be it a nutrition, or general practice doctor.