If you’re considering bariatric surgery, you probably have a long list of questions. What happens during surgery and how long will it take to recover? How will I need to change my eating habits? How much weight can I expect to lose, and how fast will I lose it? What happens is something goes wrong or my body doesn’t respond like it should?
These are all very important questions, and ultimately almost any question regarding weight loss surgery touches on one of two core concerns: ”Is it safe to have bariatric surgery?” and, “How effective will it really be for helping me lose weight?”
The term “bariatric” refers to the prevention, treatment, and causes of obesity. Bariatric surgical procedures alter the digestive system by either restricting the amount of food the stomach can hold, and/or altering how the body absorbs what is eaten. Let’s take a look at the two most common types of bariatric surgery, as well as how safe and effective they are.
Types Of Bariatric Surgeries
There are two basic types of bariatric surgery—restrictive surgeries and malabsorptive-restrictive surgeries. Restrictive surgeries reduce the size of the stomach to limit the amount of food you can eat, while malabsorptive-restrictive surgeries restrict the size of the stomach and also reroute parts of the digestive tract to disrupt the absorption of calories.
The most common type of weight loss surgery in the U.S. is a procedure called a gastric bypass (sometimes referred to as roux-en-Y gastric bypass). A gastric bypass combines both restrictive and malabsorptive approaches.
During a gastric bypass, the surgeon uses a portion of the stomach to create an egg-sized pouch that’s then connected to the intestine in a location that bypasses about 4-feet of the normal intestine. As a result, the amount of food that can be eaten is limited by both the size of the pouch and the size of the opening between the pouch and the intestine.
Another type of bariatric surgery is a sleeve gastrectomy, which also restricts the size of the stomach. However, the reduction in this restrictive type of procedure is achieved by stapling and dividing the stomach vertically and removing a major portion of it. The stomach that remains is essentially a narrow tube, or “sleeve”, that connects to the intestines.
This limits the amount of food the stomach can hold, but a sleeve gastrectomy also removes the portion of the stomach that generates ghrelin, the hormone that causes hunger. A sleeve gastrectomy permanently reduces the size of the stomach and is not reversible.
The Safest & Most Effective Option For You
The type of bariatric surgery procedure that would be best for you depends on your medical history as well as your current health status. An Evansville Surgical Associates bariatric surgeon carefully considers the advantages and disadvantages of each procedure to help determine which approach is most appropriate for each individual.
The good news is that Evansville Surgical Associates surgeons can offer a minimally-invasive laparoscopic surgery for a gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy to patients who have been carefully screened and qualify for these less-invasive surgeries. Laparoscopic surgeries are performed through very small incisions, typically resulting in less pain, shorter hospital stays, and a faster recovery time.
As far as safety both during and after the surgery is concerned, bariatric surgery has been found to be one of the safest surgeries to undergo, and is considered as safe or more safe when compared to other elective surgeries.
Plus, the risks of bariatric surgery are minimal when compared to the risks of living with obesity, which include complications related to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, sleep apnea, and the increased likelihood of premature death.
As far as effectiveness is concerned, while bariatric surgical procedures use different techniques to achieve a smaller stomach, each type has been shown to be highly effective in terms of weight loss and overall improvement in medical conditions that are typically related to obesity.
That said, a bariatric surgical operation alone does not lead to successful weight-loss. Rather, weight-loss surgery is a valuable tool that, when accompanied by changes in diet and exercise, leads to significant weight loss for many patients. Your surgeon and care team will make sure you are fully-informed about the entire process—including pre-surgery, preparation, the actual procedure, post-operative care, and the weight loss process post surgery.
When patients are approved for bariatric surgery with Evansville Surgical Associates, they are evaluated and cared for in one of two Bariatric Centers at either Deaconess Midtown or St. Vincent-Evansville. The bariatric team includes specially-trained nurses, psychologists, and bariatric medicine physicians.
The surgeons at Evansville Surgical Associates are certified by the American Board of Surgery and have the most up-to-date advanced training in laparoscopic, robotic, and open surgical techniques. Many of them also have subspecialty training and certification in vascular surgery and trauma or critical care surgery.
At Evansville Surgical Associates, we are dedicated to serving our patients with the most state-of-the-art advanced surgical procedures in the Tri-State region. Established in 1969, Evansville Surgical Associates celebrates 50 years of providing leading-edge comprehensive and compassionate surgical care. Learn more about our physicians and our practices by visiting our website, or by calling us at 812.424.8231 or 800.264.8231.