Bariatric surgery is designed to help people suffering from severe obesity lose weight. To diagnose obesity, doctors will examine a patient’s physical condition and calculate their body mass index (BMI). The score is calculated using the patient’s height and weight and categorized as either underweight, normal, overweight or obese, depending on where the score falls on BMI charts. Patients that have a BMI >35 are generally eligible for bariatric procedures, but it’s up to a patient’s doctor to recommend the correct level of care.
How Does Bariatric Surgery Work?
By altering the anatomy of the gastrointestinal tract, bariatric surgery creates many changes in the body that help patients control their hunger and portion size better while also improving their metabolism and energy balance. These changes allow a patient to lose more weight than they can with standard medical weight loss. More importantly, these changes also allow the patient to maintain their weight loss long-term.
There are several types of bariatric surgeries, all of which are done through small incisions (laparoscopically) which decreases downtime after the operation.
Gastric bypass –
The surgeon creates a small pouch at the top of the stomach, which limits the amount of food and drink the patient can consume in a meal. The small intestine is divided and a loop of it is brought up to the stomach pouch thus “bypassing” the remaining stomach. By bypassing the stomach, food gets into the intestines further downstream than normal which creates a number of chemical changes in the body which promotes weight loss.
Adjustable gastric band –
The band is a belt that is wrapped around the top part of the stomach to create a small stomach pouch above the band which empties into the normal stomach below the band. One the inside of the band is a balloon which is connected by tubing to a small port that is placed under the skin. Over time the balloon is slowly inflated which slows how fast food can move through the pouch so the patient can eat smaller meals and feel full.
Sleeve gastrectomy –
During this procedure, about 80 percent of the stomach removed leaving the stomach in a banana shape (the name comes from “sleeve” of a jacket). The low volume of the stomach reduces the amount of food that can be ingested in a meal. The procedure also creates hormonal changes that help patients lose a significant amount of weight. This is the newest bariatric surgery and is non-reversible.
Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch –
This is a combination of a sleeve gastrectomy and a long intestinal bypass. This is the most effective bariatric surgery but also carries the most risk. After surgery, it is critical that patients follow up with their surgeon to maximize their weight loss success. Patients need to make significant lifestyle changes after surgery to improve their eating habits, increase their activity, improve their sleep habits, and manage their stress in a more healthy way. This becomes much easier after surgery because of the improved hunger and portion control as well as the “metabolic boost” provided by the surgery. Patients must also have their blood checked regularly to make sure they maintain proper nutrition and avoid vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Bariatric surgery risks are low with a risk of death near 0.3 percent, which is similar to the risk of gallbladder removal. Bariatric surgery patients also see a significant improvement in their weight-related medical problems like diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, joint pain and more. Patients often experience a better quality of life post-surgery as they are now able to enjoy activities that were difficult when carrying the extra weight.
Overcome Obesity with The Better Weigh Center
The U.S. is in the middle of an obesity epidemic, with 40% of American adults diagnosed as clinically obese in 2016. 1 Losing weight can be difficult, but you can find your way to better health with The Better Weigh Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Our practice, led by Dr. Lloyd Stegemann and Dr. Jegan Gopal, offers compassionate and comprehensive care before, during, and after your bariatric surgery. All of our procedures are performed in Corpus Christi at the only Accredited Bariatric Surgery facility in the area. When it comes to bariatric surgery in the Coastal Bend, there is a Better Weigh!
Images courtesy of the Obesity Action Coalition