By Gastro MD
Bariatric surgery, also known as metabolic surgery, is a medical procedure that uses surgical methods to treat obesity. You can rest easy knowing the procedure uses minimally invasive techniques and is often reversible. You’ll enjoy benefits from reduction in body weight within days of your surgery, but not all individuals will maintain these results or be considered good candidates for the surgery.
So, let’s explore whether bariatric surgery might be a good fit for you.
Understanding the Different Types of Bariatric Surgery
There are three main forms of bariatric surgery including:
- gastric bypass
- gastric banding
- sleeve gastrectomy (often called stomach stapling)
Gastric bypass involves reducing the size of the stomach using staples; the procedure leaves approximately 20 percent of the stomach to allow some gastric functions (such as secreting enzymes needed for digestion) while redirecting food around these organs, so they do not function at all during digestion. It is called ‘Roux-en-Y’ gastric bypass because the food is channeled into a pylorus- or Y-shaped opening with two branches to separate parts of the stomach and duodenum. Your surgeon will generally make several small incisions, so this is a minimally invasive procedure.
On the other hand, endoluminal gastroplasty is gastric banding, or the ‘lap band’ as it is commonly known, is a minor procedure that restricts the amount of food that can be eaten by creating a small pouch at the top of the stomach and a narrow opening into the rest of the stomach. This creates a negative pressure system to help reduce the size of your stomach for up to 24 months after surgery before requiring removal, which makes it reversible. It is considered a minimally invasive procedure.
Sleeve gastrectomy involves removing two-thirds of the stomach, leaving a banana-shaped organ two to three inches long and less than an inch wide. The small upper pouch can only hold about one to two ounces of food. The procedure is often done laparoscopically and is minimally invasive.
Am I a Candidate for Bariatric Surgery?
If you have underlying health problems related to obesity or are at risk of developing one in the future, you may qualify for bariatric surgery on these grounds alone.
Still, not everyone is a good candidate for bariatric surgery. Comorbidities such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnea would need to be dealt with before any surgery can take place.
If you have a complex medical situation or want to lose more than 200 pounds, you should request an evaluation by a bariatric surgeon, which may involve a second opinion from another specialist. The evaluation will include a review of your medical history and an assessment of any pre-existing health conditions you have.
The doctor will be interested in your goals for weight loss—how much weight you would like to lose and how quickly you would like to do it. They will want to help you set realistic goals to improve your chances of a positive result from the operation.
The best physician for you will discuss all of your options and questions in detail to help you understand the procedure, its risks and your potential outcomes—good and bad—and how you can maximize your potential for success after surgery.
If you have any questions about bariatric surgery, contact Gastro MD. We are cutting-edge clinical gastroenterology practice and set the standard in digestive health care.