Bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) includes a variety of procedures that are performed on the stomach or intestines to induce weight loss in individuals with morbid obesity. Morbid obesity changes the body and makes it highly resistant to weight loss through diet and exercise alone. Surgical intervention is the most effective option to treat morbid obesity and to improve the health of individuals with this medical condition.
Surgical treatment involves making changes to the body's digestive system which help a person lose weight through either food restriction (limits food intake) or malabsorption (reduces food absorption).
The most common surgical options are gastric bypass surgery, sleeve gastrectomy, adjustable gastric band, and duodenal switch. Each type of bariatric surgery has its own set of advantages and benefits, side effects and drawbacks. It is important for individuals who are looking into having a bariatric surgery procedure to take the time to learn about the pros and cons of the various options and to consult with a qualified bariatric surgeon before making a decision. A bariatric surgeon can help you determine the most appropriate method of bariatric surgery based on your personal health, medical history, and lifestyle factors.
Bariatric surgery involves making changes to the body's digestive system. The changes either restrict the amount of food that can be eaten or reduce the amount of food that is absorbed by the body.
The weight loss methods used in bariatric surgery are:
The basis for weight loss through restrictive surgery is through decreased food intake. It involves reducing the size of the stomach so that a person eats less, fills full more quickly, and fills full for a longer amount of time with less food. The reduced calorie consumption will lead to weight loss over time. Although restrictive measures will help a person control eating, it requires that the patient make healthy food choices for successful results.
The basis for weight loss with malabsorptive procedures is through reduced food absorption. It involves rerouting the small intestine so that food is poorly digested and not completely absorbed by the body. By reducing food absorption, it reduces the amount of calories as well, resulting in weight loss. The malabsorptive procedures also involve reducing the size of the stomach pouch, but not to the extent of restrictive or combination methods. Malabsorptive bariatric procedures are often very successful in achieving weight loss, but careful monitoring is necessary in order to avoid nutritional deficiencies.
The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is one of the most common bariatric procedures performed in the United States. It involves stapling off a large portion of the stomach as well as bypassing the first section of the small intestine (the duodenum), thus both limiting food intake and food absorption.
The best type of bariatric surgery is the procedure which best fits your situation. Each type of bariatric surgery has it's benefits and drawbacks. The best procedure for one patient may not be the best method for another patient.
Gastric bypass surgery has been the most commonly performed procedure over time and shown successful results, but it is a major procedure and may not be the right choice for every patient. The LAP-BAND or REALIZE Band are safer and less drastic options, benefitting teens and older patients who do not qualify for other methods of surgery. Sleeve gastrectomy (gastric sleeve) is emerging as the most popular choice, with results and a safety profile sitting between gastric bypass and gastric banding. The duodenal switch is the most drastic procedure and is often recommended for patients who are very obese (BMI over 50).
Make sure you discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the various options with your doctor so you can make a fully informed decision. With consideration of your current health status, past medical and surgical history, amount of excess weight, concerns about side effects and results, and lifestyle preferences, your doctor can help guide you to the type of bariatric surgery that is best for you.