Severe obesity is a chronic medical condition that adversely affects the health and quality of life of many people in the United States. Most of these individuals have made serious attempts to lose weight through diet programs and exercise routines, but the efforts have not been successful in helping them achieve substantial and permanent weight loss.
Obesity is a very difficult disease to treat. If a person is 100 pounds or more overweight, they may not be able to lose the excess weight with diet modifications and exercise alone. For these individuals, surgical treatment for obesity is often considered the most effective weight loss option.
Bariatric surgery, commonly referred to as weight loss surgery, is the surgical treatment of obesity that involves making changes to the digestive system. The changes made to the body will help a person lose weight by either restricting the amount or type of food that can be eaten (a restrictive procedure) or by limiting the amount of food that is absorbed by the body (a malabsorptive procedure).
The most common bariatric surgery procedures performed today are Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, adjustable gastric band, sleeve gastrectomy (also known as gastric sleeve surgery), and the biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch procedure.
Bariatric surgery is not a shortcut to weight loss, nor should it be considered for women who are under 80 pounds overweight or men who are under 100 pounds overweight. Bariatric surgery is major gastro-intestinal surgery reserved for individuals with severe or morbid obesity.
An individual with a BMI of 40 or higher, or a BMI of at least 35 with an obesity related health problem, such as diabetes or heart disease, falls within the patient criteria for bariatric surgery. If non-surgical methods of weight loss have not been effective, surgery may be the next step.
While bariatric surgery has a very good success rate, there are also risks, complications, and lifestyle changes that must be considered. If you fit the guidelines for bariatric surgery, you will then need to consider all aspects of the procedure and decide if weight loss surgery is appropriate for you.