What is Stomach Surgery

What is Stomach Surgery

Stomach surgery is fast becoming one of most common forms of surgery in the UK and the exposure that it gets through television and the internet has led to many people asking “what is stomach surgery?” There is no one specific answer to this question as there are many reasons that stomach surgery is needed and many different conditions that lead to it.

Obesity and weight loss

The first and most common answer to “what is stomach surgery?” is the need to help those that are morbidly obese to lose weight and regain health. Being overweight can bring severe health problems and those that are sufficiently overweight may require surgery to decrease stomach size, which will reduce calorie intake and help to lose weight faster.

Although obesity is a growing and a serious problem in the UK, to be eligible for surgery your Body Mass Index (BMI) must of an amount that matches the guidelines set out by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). Those guidelines say that to be eligible for surgery the patient must have a BMI of 40 or more and that all other diets and weight loss programs have failed to work. Surgery is also suitable for people with a BMI of 35 and over that have another health related problem such as Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.

Anyone with a BMI of over 50 will be eligible for surgical treatment as the first option no matter if other weight loss programmes have been tried.

There are several different methods of surgery that aim to reduce stomach size; Bariatric surgery is the term for all surgery related to obesity problems.

Hernia operations

Hernias are a common occurrence and happen to many people, anyone asking “what is stomach surgery?” will find that a hernia operation is one of the most common kinds of operation. A hernia is caused by an internal part of the body pushing through a weakened muscle or the surrounding tissue, an internal organ pushing through is the usual cause. A hernia will occur in any part of the abdomen which will require stomach surgery. There are various kinds of hernia:

  • Inguinal hernia
  • Femoral hernia
  • Hiatus hernia
  • Epigastric hernia
  • Muscle hernia
  • Umbilical hernia
  • Spigelian hernia

Many hernias do not require surgery, but some can cause obstructions in the bowel and effect blood supply to the herniated tissue which will require surgery.

Stomach ulcers

“What is stomach surgery?” can also cover the need to remove a stomach ulcer. Stomach ulcers are caused by infection with a bacterium called H. pylori, conditions such as Crohn’s Disease and virus infections can be a cause of stomach ulcers. In the past surgery was the most common method of removing a stomach ulcer but is now only considered in severe cases of bleeding or perforation. Acid – supressing medication is usually sufficient treatment for most ulcers and many will cause no harm. Stomach cancer although rare is also sometimes mistaken for an ulcer and will require immediate surgery.