Reach your goals with a bariatric procedure performed by our surgeons.
Bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, describes any of several different procedures done to induce weight loss in a patient. The different procedures work by either:
- Drastically reducing the size of the stomach
- Reducing the patient’s ability to absorb food
- A combination of both methods
Bariatric surgery is major surgery, and the patient has to fit certain criteria. The surgeon will typically only operate on patients who are morbidly obese, which means they have a BMI of at least 40 and are at least 100 pounds overweight. Doctors will also operate on people with a BMI of at least 35 if they also have a health problem related to obesity like heart disease or diabetes.
Bariatric surgery can be open or laparoscopic. In open surgery, the doctor makes a single large incision in the abdomen. In laparoscopic surgery, which is now the more common technique, the doctor will make several smaller incisions and insert the tools into them. One of the tools will be a laparoscope, a probe with a tiny camera and light attached to it. The laparoscope will give the surgeon a good view of the operation site.
The gastric bypass is considered the gold standard of bariatric surgery, because patients can lose up to 80 percent of their excess weight (although results do vary). It consists of two main steps. In the first step, the surgeon will cut away most of the stomach leaving only a small gastric pouch that can hold about an ounce of food. In the second step, they will cut away the top part of the small intestine, where most food absorption takes place. They will then attach the gastric pouch to the middle part of the small intestine, so the food bypasses the top part altogether. The main part of the stomach and top part of the small intestine produce digestive juices that the patient needs, so the surgeon doesn’t remove them. Instead, they attach them to a lower portion of the small intestine.
The gastric bypass thus works by restricting both the amount of food the patient can eat at one time and the amount of nutrients their body can absorb. Rerouting the food also causes changes in the gut hormones, so the patient has less appetite and gets full more readily.
Adjustable Gastric Band
The adjustable gastric band is one of the less invasive techniques, and it is also easily reversed. It is also the least likely to cause nutrient deficiencies or surgical complications.
During this procedure, the surgeon places an adjustable band around the top portion of the stomach. The band is attached to a tube connected to a port that will be placed just under the patient’s skin. The doctor can use the port to add or withdraw a saline solution to adjust the size of the stomach pouch. The band restricts the amount of food that the patient can comfortably eat. It does not, however, affect the digestive tract’s ability to absorb the food.
Like the gastric bypass, the sleeve gastrectomy involves drastically reducing the size of the stomach, and it is similarly effective at inducing weight loss. During the procedure, the surgeon removes about 80 percent of the stomach, leaving behind a tube or sleeve that is shaped like a banana. In addition to greatly reducing the amount of food that the patient can eat, the smaller stomach also produces less ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that controls the appetite, and the stomach produces it when it is empty.
Also known as the biliopancreatic diversion and duodenal switch (BPD/DS), this procedure is less common than other options. It has the advantages of enabling the patient to lose up to 70 percent of their excess weight while allowing them to eat meals of nearly normal size (although results do vary).
As with the sleeve gastrectomy, the surgeon removes part of the stomach and leaves behind a tubular remnant. The surgeon then cuts away the middle part of the small intestine and attaches the bottom part of the small intestine to the duodenum or topmost part of the small intestine. The middle portion is then reattached to the lower portion, so it can continue sending digestive juices to the digestive tract. Like the gastric bypass, the duodenal switch reduces the amount of nutrients absorbed by the body.