Bariatric/Weight Loss Surgery

Contemporary Bariatric/Weight loss surgery offers those suffering from Morbid Obesity the chance to radically transform their life and become the person they long to become. People undergoing this surgery are expected to loose on average 80% of their excess weight and significantly improve or even cure Obesity related diseases such as Type II Diabetes, hypertension, joint problems, mood problems etc.

Am I a candidate for weight loss surgery?

Weight loss surgery cannot be performed on certain people such as those with extreme cases of obesity and those with very serious health problems. As a general guideline, your Body Mass index (BMI) should be between 35-60, your weight should be less than or equal to 180kg, and you should be able to walk up a flight of stairs without assistance.

It is prudent to discuss weight loss surgery with your General Practitioner and also your family before arranging a Specialist appointment with us.

Which operation is the best option for me?

The three most commonly performed weight loss operations in New Zealand:

Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band (once the most common procedure for weight loss in Australasia; less common now. While many people have benefited from the procedure, the long-term outcomes are less desirable)

Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass (also known as the Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric bypass, this is a well established operation, with the longest follow-up information of all the operations available)

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy – see full information on this procedure

These are all major procedures and each one carries its own specific risks. Increasingly, patients and surgeons alike are selecting the Sleeve Gastrectomy above the other two due to its favourable risk profile, superior quality of life, comparable weight loss and improvement of obesity-related diseases.

We at Gisborne Surgical Associates believe the Sleeve Gastrectomy is the best choice for most people. You will have the opportunity to discuss the options in detail at your Specialist appointment.

Obesity information and surgical procedures

What is obesity?

Obesity is the term for when a person is significantly overweight. Body mass index (BMI) is a simple measure of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify weight and obesity in adults. Medical professionals use the following definitions:

  • A BMI greater than or equal to 25 is overweight
  • A BMI greater than or equal to 30 is obesity
  • A BMI greater than or equal to 40 is morbid obesity
  • Morbid obesity is a term that reflects the serious health implications of being very overweight.

BMI does not differentiate between body fat and muscle mass, therefore body builders and people who have a lot of muscle bulk will have a high BMI but are not overweight or obese.

What causes obesity?

The simplest explanation for why someone becomes obese is that their body receives more energy from food than their body uses. The excess energy is stored as fat. Why this occurs is usually due to a combination of factors including the following:

  • The genes you inherited from your parents
  • How well your body turns food into energy
  • Your eating and exercise habits
  • Your surroundings
  • Psychological factors.

How common is it?

The Ministry of Health 2012/2013 health survey reported continuing growth in New Zealand obesity rates:

  • 31% of New Zealand adults were obese
  • 21% of 15-24 year olds were obese
  • 39% of 65-74 year olds were obese
  • 48% of Maori adults were obese
  • 68% of Pacific adults were obese

Adults living in deprived areas are 1.5 times as likely to be obese as those living in least deprived areas (adjusted for age, sex, and ethnic differences).

What are the common health consequences of being overweight and obese?

Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death following smoking. It is a major risk factor for diseases such as:

  • Cardiovascular diseases (mainly heart disease and stroke), which were the leading cause of death in 2012
  • Diabetes
  • Musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis; a highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints)
  • Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)

The risk for these diseases increases, with the increase in BMI.

Childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of adult obesity, premature death and disability in adulthood. But in addition to increased future risks, obese children experience breathing difficulties, increased risk of fractures, hypertension, early markers of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and psychological effects.

What can I do about it?

Unfortunately most patients with morbid obesity will not achieve significant and sustainable weight loss with diet and exercise alone and currently, available medicines to aid weight loss, only provide modest benefit.

By the time a person considers surgery to help them lose weight they have usually extensively tried and failed alternative forms of weight loss such as diet and exercise. Continuing to view their obesity as a lifestyle issue ignores the true health consequences of their condition.

Surgery comes with some risks but to these people it is a real chance at improving both their health and their quality of life.

Which operation is the best option for me?

The three most commonly performed weight loss operations in New Zealand:

  • Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band (once the most common procedure for weight loss in Australasia; less common now. While many people have benefited from the procedure, the long-term outcomes are less desirable)
  • Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass (also known as the Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric bypass, this is a well established operation, with the longest follow-up information of all the operations available)
  • Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy – see full information on this procedure

These are all major procedures and each one carries its own specific risks. Increasingly, patients and surgeons alike are selecting the Sleeve Gastrectomy above the other two due to its favourable risk profile, superior quality of life, comparable weight loss and improvement of obesity-related diseases.

We at Gisborne Surgical Associates believe the Sleeve Gastrectomy is the best choice for most people. You will have the opportunity to discuss the options in detail at your Specialist appointment.