Questions About Bariatric Surgery

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Published on January 08, 2018

woman who lost weight

Questions About Bariatric Surgery

Woman answering questions about bariatric surgery, like is bariatric surgery right for me and side effects of bariatric surgeryWho should consider bariatric surgery?

If you are more than 50 pounds overweight, have an inability to achieve healthy weight loss, or have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or more, you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

How does it work?

“Bariatric surgery causes weight loss by significantly reducing the size of the stomach. This creates a feeling of fullness with a much smaller portion of food,” explained Justin D. Braverman MD with PIH Health Physicians Medical Group. “There are also powerful hormonal effects which dramatically reduce appetite and improve metabolism.”

What types of bariatric surgeries are there?

There are four basic types of minimally invasive bariatric surgeries, each with its own advantages and disadvantages, according to the ASMBS:

  • Gastric Bypass – gold standard, produces the most significant weight loss, but carries a slightly higher chance of vitamin deficiencies than the other options, 1-2 day hospital stay
  • Sleeve Gastrectomy – removes 80 percent of the stomach, irreversible, associated with hormonal changes that help suppress appetite, 1-2 day hospital stay
  • Adjustable Gastric Band – reduces amount stomach can hold, outpatient surgery, is reversible and adjustable, but weight loss is slower and not as powerful, requires a foreign device to stay in the body
  • Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS) Gastric Bypass – allows patients to eat more normal meals, reduces absorption of fat, but has higher complication rates and longer hospital stay

More Common Questions About Bariatric Surgery 

Are there side effects of bariatric surgery? 

As with any surgery, there are inherent risks involved in a major operation. To minimize risks and to ensure proper care, it is very important to choose a board-certified, fellowship trained surgeon who works at an accredited facility. Possible side effects include necessary changes to diet and lifestyle. Patients who are accustomed to eating large, rich foods may only eat small, nutritious meals after the surgery. Because patients eat less, and possibly absorb less of what they eat, it is important to supplement with vitamins to prevent nutritional deficiencies.

Is bariatric surgery right for me?

While surgery is not a magic cure for obesity, when compared to dieting, it can be a more effective means of dramatic weight loss for the severely obese. Weight loss begins immediately after the procedure and levels off after 18-24 months. For a person who needs to lose 50 or more pounds or has a weight-related disease, bariatric surgery may be the best option if all other weight-loss alternatives have been exhausted.

If you or a loved one are interested in learning more about Bariatric surgery, call 562.789.5449 or visit PIH

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.