Surgery altering the organs of digestion to achieve weight loss is called bariatric.
The most popular types:
Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass: The stomach is cut to the size of a walnut and then attached in the middle of the small intestine. According to the Mayo Clinic, the stomach goes from a three pint capacity to one ounce. (48 to 1)
Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band: The upper portion of stomach is banded, creating a pouch.
Sleeve Gastrectomy: The stomach is stapled, creating a small pouch.
An estimated 179,000 were done in 2013 in the United States alone. Numbers are rising worldwide as obesity surges and healthcare adopts the procedure.
The procedures can have severe complications but they can also be lifesavers because morbid obesity increases deaths from many causes including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. In the latter, blood sugars often return to normal within days after the procedure—a remarkable finding.
And as can be expected, given their locale, microbial populations are disrupted.
More diversity results according to new research. .
One study in mice compared fake surgery with the real thing and found that fecal microbiota had indeed changed, within the first week after surgery. And then the microbes from the surgically altered mice were planted into the placebo mice: these mice too started losing weight and fat tissue.
The disrupted colonies may also benefit from addition of probiotics for those undergoing bariatric surgery. The reason is that bacterial overgrowth and vitamin and mineral malabsorption may be reduced when healthy bacteria are supported.
A paper by Registered Dietitian Erin Grayson titled Trust Your Gut: Probiotics for Post-Operative Gastric Bypass Patients includes some practical tips for their usage:
Encourage “foods such as yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese, and tofu, which not only contain probiotics but are also good sources of protein.”
Grayson also advises:
“Chewable probiotic tablets containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium would be a good place to start with post-operative gastric bypass patients with the option of switching to a capsule when appropriate.”