Bariatric Surgery Overview
Bariatric surgery, sometimes referred to as obesity surgery or weight loss surgery, is designed to allow patients to achieve long-term, significant weight loss. The Center for Weight Loss Surgery offers gastric banding or gastric bypass surgery. Gastric banding restricts the amount of food a patient can ingest during meals. Gastric bypass surgery restricts the amount of food while also decreasing the amount of food absorption in the gastrointestinal system.
In 1991, a conference of the National Institutes of Health identified gastric weight-loss surgery as a safe and effective surgical treatment for obesity. This specialized surgery is intended for patients with a clearly documented history of failed diet attempts. These patients must be at least 80-100 pounds overweight or have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of greater than 40.
Patients with a BMI greater than 35, with significant additional health problems such as heart disease, diabetes or sleep apnea, joint disease and/or infertility, may also be candidates for surgery. Patients are typically between 18 and 60 years old.
Although the results of weight loss surgery can be drastic, there are potential risks and complications. Patients should have a solid understanding of the procedure and should be educated on what they need to do to live well after the operation. Our surgeons will discuss the signs or symptoms of complications which may occur after weight loss surgery.
The actual weight a patient will lose after the procedure is dependent on several factors. These include:
- Patient's age
- Weight before surgery
- Overall condition of patient's health
- Surgical procedure
- Ability to exercise
- Commitment to maintaining dietary guidelines and other follow-up care
- Motivation of patient and cooperation of their family, friends and associates
In general, weight loss surgery success is defined as achieving loss of 50% or more of excess body weight and maintaining that level for at least five years. Results vary by patient and bariatric surgeon. Ask your doctor to show you clinical data of the outcomes/results of patients who have had the surgery done.
The surgery has been found to be effective in improving and controlling many obesity-related health conditions. A 2000 study of 500 patients showed that 96% of certain associated health conditions studied (back pain, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, diabetes and depression) were improved or resolved.