Medical Weight Loss Surgery
When all else fails in the battle to drop those extra pounds that push
your weight into the obese range, it may be time to consider medical weight
loss, also known as “bariatric surgery”.
What is bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery reduces the size of your stomach, restricting the amount
of food it can hold and accelerating the speed at which food moves through
your digestive system. This, in turn, reduces the absorption of calories
into your body. Bariatric surgery isn’t recommended as a first or
even second step to lose large amounts of weight, but it can be an excellent
Learn more about our weight loss surgery options.
Who can benefit?
Generally, candidates for bariatric surgery will have a
BMI [body mass index] of 40 or over, or a BMI of 35 or over, plus weight-related
medical problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes or obstructive
sleep apnea. These patients are considered morbidly obese, and may have
spent 10 years or longer yo-yo dieting, where they lose weight, but gain
it back each time, often along with additional pounds. Surgery is meant
to break that cycle.
But because surgery carries inherent risks, it’s primarily recommended
as a last or next-to-last resort. When possible, it’s always beneficial
to lose the weight on your own and maintain the loss. However, for patients
that are morbidly obese, the extra weight leads to other health problems
that could decrease your lifespan. It doesn’t make sense to continue
carrying the extra weight.
Patients considered good candidates for bariatric surgery are generally
past the point where consistent exercise is a realistic method of weight loss.
Make an appointment with a healthcare provider to see if weight loss surgery
is for you.
The most common bariatric surgeries, in order of complexity, are:
- Gastric band--An adjustable ring is placed around the top portion of the
stomach, reducing its effective size to a small pouch.
- Sleeve gastrectomy--The stomach is surgically reduced to about 15 percent
of its original size.
- Gastric bypass--A large portion of the stomach is stapled off, and the
small intestine is attached to the portion that is still open to receiving
food via the esophagus.
Know the risks
Along with the health benefits of weight loss, bariatric surgery does have
the potential for both short- and long-term complications. Short-term
complications can include infection, pneumonia and blood clots. Longer
term, surgery can affect the body’s ability to absorb certain vitamins
and minerals, while less common side effects include dehydration and hernias.
Making a commitment
Bariatric surgery can help lead to significant weight loss--the average
patient loses 70 to 80 percent of his or her extra weight in the first
year, although results vary considerably--but long-term results depend
on the patient’s adherence to a prescribed diet plan. However, the
surgery is not a “free ride”. Patients must understand that
they will need to put in effort post-surgery to decrease their weight
and improve their health.
Meet our team
As with any elective surgery, be sure to investigate your doctor’s
credentials before proceeding. Make sure the surgeon you have selected
have years of experience doing these types of surgeries, and that they
have the right certification and a good record of taking care of their
patients post operation.
Learn more about our physicians who perform weight loss surgery.
4 Reasons to consider bariatric surgery
* Diet, exercise and medication have failed to produce weight loss.
* Your BMI is 40 or higher, which is considered morbid obesity.
* Your BMI is 35 or higher, and you also have weight-related medical issues
such as diabetes or sleep apnea.
* You are prepared to make substantial changes in your lifestyle.