What Could the Future Hold?
Bariatric surgery has come a long way since just a few decades ago, when surgeons were still wiring the jaw shut to help people lose weight. With rates of obesity on the rise across the developed world, millions of people are looking for alternatives to the dismal results of diet programs, exercise plans, and supplements. While there are researchers searching for a pharmacological cure (i.e., a “weight loss pill” that would be available by prescription), others are trusting bariatric surgery to solve the huge public health problems caused by obesity. While it’s undergone huge development in a short period of time, the urgent need to serve so many people is spurring development of the field of bariatric surgery. Surgeons are working to find alternatives to old procedures and improvements to the current ones. What does their road map to the future look like?
As more and more people turn to bariatric surgery for weight loss, they’re commonly choosing safer procedures, such as adjustable gastric banding, over other, more invasive surgeries. These procedures are less effective in terms of weight loss, but that seems to be a trade-off that most people are willing to make. As bariatric surgery develops, with new procedures being created and current procedures being modified, it’s likely that safety will be the number one priority — over effectiveness.
Hormones are Key
At first, it was believed that bariatric surgery was effective simply because it restricted food intake and/or reduced the absorption of calories from food. However, although these factors do play a role, it’s increasingly being recognized that bariatric surgery has an effect on a wide variety of hormonal factors in the gut.
Hunger, satiety, and weight gain are influenced by a slew of hormones, many of which have only recently been discovered. These hormones, many with names like GLP, GIP, and PYY, are changed by the rerouting of the food stream in bariatric surgery. Some surgeons are even calling for the use of bariatric surgery in patients who have diabetes but aren’t obese, because the hormonal changes are large enough to reverse diabetes in some patients — independent of weight loss. So in the future, it’s possible that some people will undergo surgery to cure diabetes.
As these hormones are studied by scientists, and much more is learned about which factors are produced and where, surgeries could be developed to change the hormonal system more specifically. For instance, a small piece of tissue that produces a certain hormone could be removed, leaving the rest of the gut intact but producing excellent results. Greater understanding of hormones opens the possibility of safer surgeries with better results.
The Future is Bright!
With bariatric surgery improving every day, there’s every reason to be excited about the future. And the present is pretty exciting too. You have some great options to help you lose weight fast and take charge of your health. So there’s no need to wait. If you’re very overweight and you want to change your life, you can get started today!