The number of obese people in western industrialized countries has been steadily increasing over the years. A recent study by the Robert Koch Institute on the health of the adult population of Germany showed that more than two thirds of men and more than half of women definitely have excessive body weight.
The main problem in people with obesity is the excess of the total body fat percentage, especially inside the body. So people have to reckon with the concomitant complications.
The German Society for the Treatment of Obesity distinguishes between three grades of obesity, where the body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more corresponds to the highest grade associated with very high risks of the disease. Along with the damage to the musculoskeletal and muscular component of the musculoskeletal system, hypertension and acquired type 2 diabetes are considered to be the most frequent diseases associated with obesity. Diseases of the cardiovascular system, which among other things can lead to heart attack or stroke, are often included in the list as well.
Obesity is a chronic disease that, in most cases, is acquired over the years due to an unhealthy lifestyle. “The best way to lose weight is doing sport and changing eating habits,” explains Dr. Ralph Weise, Head of the Department of General and Visceral Surgery and Head of the Nord-West Obesity Centre in Friesoythe.
Bariatric surgery is aimed, first of all, at a positive change in metabolism. Currently, along with the so-called biliopancreatic bypass procedure, gastric bypass is also a very effective method. Gastric bypass provides the digestion of only part of the food eaten.
Along with a noticeable weight loss, the advantage of the surgery is that obese patients can cope with diabetes which was treated almost unsuccessfully earlier. “In many patients with type 2 diabetes, after gastric bypass surgery, the intake of diabetes medications is significantly reduced or even completely eliminated," says Dr. Weise.
During gastric bypass, the stomach is divided a few centimetres below the entrance to the stomach. In this way, a large part of the stomach and a small part of the small intestine are separated, thus a markedly reduced stomach remains, connected directly to the rest of the small intestine.
“On the one hand, a positive effect for patients with obesity is that the small size of the stomach ensures rapid satiation,” says Dr. Ralph Weise. “On the other hand, the food eaten passes through the rest of the stomach and part of the small intestine through the bypass where only part of the nutrients are absorbed and transported with blood. Thus, most of the undigested elements are sent further to the large intestine and ultimately leave the body undigested.”