What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery is an umbrella term for any procedure, in which weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach with an implanted medical device, through removal of a portion of the stomach or by redirecting the small intestines to a small stomach pouch. Long-term studies have shown that bariatric surgery causes significant and lasting weight loss, recovering from diabetes and improved cardiovascular health. Bariatric surgery can reduce mortality by 23% compared to 40%. As this is a severe weight loss option it can only be done for those with a body mass index of 40 or 35 with complications due to diabetes. For people below this mark, eating healthy and exercising is the best choice, for more information on losing weight visit our article on non-surgery weight loss. Below are overviews of a few of the most common types of bariatric surgery and how they are performed.

This article is purely informational as only your local 1-888-BARIATRIC bariatric surgeon can help you decide which treatment is best for you personally.

Adjustable gastric band or “lap band.” To create a smaller stomach and ultimately limit the amount of food a person can eat as well as slow digestion, bariatric surgeons place a silicone band around the stomach. Which can be adjusted by adding or removing saline. Gastric banding is the least invasive bariatric surgery as the lap band is usually inserted by using laparoscopic surgery and results in shorter hospital stays, reduced pain and smaller scars. Lap bands are made of biocompatible materials and cause no harm to patients.

Sleeve gastrectomy is a weight loss procedure in which the stomach is reduced to 15% of its original size by removing a large portion of the stomach. This procedure permanently reduces the size of the stomach. Most patients can expect to lose 30 to 50% of their extra body fat over a 6 to 12 month time frame with the gastrectomy alone. The procedure is performed laparoscopically and is not reversible. Sleeve gastrectomy is a safer alternative to intestinal bypass surgeries for people with anemia, Crohn’s disease and numerous other conditions. It is sometimes combined with adjustable gastric band surgery it can greatly decrease the risk of surgery for specific groups of patients.

Gastric bypass surgeries are a group of similar operations that involves dividing the stomach into a small upper pouch and larger “remnant” pouch and then rearranging the small intestine to connect to both. The gastric bypass is the most commonly performed operation for weight loss in the United States, and approximately 140,000 gastric bypass procedures were performed in 2005, largely outnumbering lap band surgeries. A common form of this surgery is the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.