3 types of bariatric surgery for weight loss.

by Shoshana Feldman, CRNP
May 27, 2020

As COVID-19 changes our daily routines, many of us may be struggling to remain active or make healthy food choices while we’re at home.

But, now is as good a time as ever to start taking care of ourselves and make changes that will stick long after the pandemic. If you’ve struggled to lose weight on your own, weight loss surgery could be the push you need to embrace a healthier lifestyle. While weight loss surgery isn’t for everyone, for some, it can be life-saving.

Struggling to lose and keep weight off? Now may be a good time to think about your #WeightLoss options. Here’s how 3 types of bariatric surgery may help jump-start a healthy lifestyle via #LiveWellHealthy blog: https://bit.ly/2TJfsTL

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What is bariatric surgery?

Weight loss surgeries are collectively referred to as bariatric surgery, although there are many different types of bariatric surgery. During bariatric surgery, a surgeon makes adjustments to the stomach and the digestive system which results in significant weight loss and a minimized risk of serious weight-related health complications, such as:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea

It’s not a magic solution for getting skinny, although that would be nice! But, bariatric surgery can be the beginning of a life-changing journey. A journey that allows you to enjoy the activities and people you love for years to come when coupled with a lifelong commitment to exercise and healthy eating. That’s why we offer nutritional counseling, support groups, behavior modification, and anything else you need to stay dedicated to your health after your surgery.

What are the 3 types of bariatric surgery?

There are different types of bariatric surgery and each one offers pros and cons. If you’re considering weight loss surgery, ask your doctor what type could offer you the most benefits based on your weight, medical history, goals, and habits. You can also learn more about the types of bariatric surgery by attending our informational seminar online.

1. Gastric bypass surgery.

During gastric bypass surgery, a surgeon divides the stomach to make a smaller stomach pouch, restricting how much you can eat. The new pouch is then attached to a lower part of the intestines, bypassing the rest of the stomach and first part of the intestines. This method allows decreased absorption and restriction. As a result, many people experience effective weight loss.

Minimally invasive techniques can be used to perform gastric bypass surgery. One technique uses a small instrument attached to a camera, called a laparoscope. Because the laparoscope requires just a few small incisions, laparoscopic surgery offers a faster recovery, less pain, and fewer scars than open surgery. Many times this can be preformed using robotic technology as well, which offers a high level of precision under the guidance of an experienced bariatric surgeon.

Advantages of gastric bypass surgery.

Gastric bypass surgery has been around the longest and offers many advantages. Many patients experience excellent short-term and long-term weight loss. Often, patients also see a reduction in weight-related health concerns, including getting off of medication.

Disadvantages of gastric bypass surgery.

While there is a slightly higher risk of complications with the procedure when compared to others, the complication is rare. The benefits of gastric bypass surgery far outweigh any disadvantages.

2. Sleeve gastrectomy.

The most common type of bariatric surgery done today is the sleeve gastrectomy, which drastically shrinks the size of your stomach. During the procedure, a surgeon cuts a portion of the stomach, reducing its size by approximately 80%. The removed portion is the primary area where the hunger hormone ghrelin is made. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells your body it’s hungry.

Like gastric bypass surgery, sleeve gastrectomy can be performed laparoscopically or using robotic technology, so you can get home faster and experience less pain and scarring than open surgery. You can expect to lose weight quickly after a sleeve gastrectomy because:

  • Your stomach can hold less food
  • Your appetite decreases
  • You get full faster

Advantages of sleeve gastrectomy.

Sleeve gastrectomy offers similar benefits to gastric bypass surgery, as you can expect dramatic weight loss within a short time. There is also a good chance you will see a positive impact on any weight-related health conditions, such as diabetes.

Disadvantages of sleeve gastrectomy.

Complications are uncommon, but in rare cases, the stapled portion of the stomach is at risk for leaking. This occurs in less than one percent of bariatric surgeries at MedStar Health, which is less than the national average of three percent.

3. Laparoscopic gastric banding (Lap-Band System®).

Commonly called Lap-Band® surgery, laparoscopic gastric banding is the least invasive type of bariatric surgery since no organs are being cut or moved. During the surgery, an adjustable band is placed around the top portion of the stomach. This creates a smaller stomach pouch so you eat less and feel full sooner. A doctor can adjust the band until you’ve reached your goal weight.

Advantages of Lap-Band® surgery.

Depending on your weight, eating habits, and medical history, Lap-Band® surgery may offer you many benefits, including a quicker recovery with fewer follow-up appointments. While weight loss is slower than other types of bariatric surgery, you can expect to lose weight at a controlled pace as you change your eating habits over time.

Disadvantages of Lap-Band® surgery.

The risks of Lap-Band® surgery are low. Weight loss is slightly slower than the more invasive procedures, but many people have success.

Am I a candidate for bariatric surgery?

Not everyone is eligible for weight loss surgery. And, because it’s an expensive procedure, your health insurance coverage may affect your decision. If you’re ready to start your weight loss journey, your doctor can help you understand your eligibility and recommend next steps, whether it’s surgery or a medical weight loss program.

Your doctor may recommend bariatric surgery if:

  • You have had difficulty losing weight with diet and exercise.
  • Your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 40 and you have no existing obesity-related health conditions.
    OR
  • Your BMI is 35 or higher and you have one obesity-related condition that requires you to take medication.

The best thing you can do is educate yourself about each type of bariatric surgery. That’s why we encourage patients interested in weight loss surgery to attend our online informational seminar. It’s free, and you’ll benefit from hearing success stories from other patients who made the brave decision to change their lives for the better. You can also talk with a doctor via computer, tablet, or smartphone through MedStar Health Video Visits.

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Category: Eating Healthy, Health Innovation, Living Well     Tags: bariatric surgerybariatricsMedStar HealthsurgeryWeight Lossweight loss surgery