Types of Bariatric Surgery


Staying put at home due to COVID-19? It’s the perfect time to take the first step toward achieving your weight loss goals. Preparing for bariatric surgery takes some time, and now, patients can complete the entire process from home.

Start by taking the informational seminar (required) online. You can click the blue button—Take Your Online Seminar. After that, we will schedule your first appointment with the doctor “virtually.” And all classes that are part of the preparation process can be completed online. It’s really that easy!

To meet the needs of as many patients as possible in the Baltimore, MD, and Washington, D.C. region, MedStar Health offers several types of weight loss surgery. Our board-certified surgeons—who have extensive experience in minimally invasive and robotic bariatric surgical  procedures—lead our multidisciplinary bariatric team. A nurse program coordinator, dietician, and an exercise physiologist coordinate your care and guide you through the entire process of bariatric surgery. Extensive follow-up care provides the support you need well after whichever procedure you have.

The laparoscopic surgery technique is considered minimally invasive is used most often as aoption. This option usually results in a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, smaller scars, and less pain than open surgical procedures.

So, what is the best type of bariatric surgery? As with any abdominal surgery, potential risks exist; however, these risks are further complicated because of the patient's extra weight. You should discuss the benefits and risks of each type of surgery in detail with your surgeon and our bariatric surgery team, to determine the best surgical option for you.

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Lap-Band System™

Laparoscopic gastric banding, commonly known as Lap-Band®, is the least extreme surgical option. During Lap-Band System™ surgery, an adjustable gastric band is placed around the upper part of the stomach. The band creates a smaller stomach pouch, decreasing the amount that can be ingested at any one time, as well as the time it takes for the smaller stomach pouch to empty. These bands are adjusted in a minor office procedure, until optimal weight loss is achieved.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

During a sleeve gastrectomy, a thin vertical sleeve of stomach is created using a stapling device, and the rest of the stomach is removed, reducing the stomach to approximately 15% of its original size. By reducing the size of the stomach, the amount of food that can be ingested is decreased.  Additionally, the hormone responsible for signaling hunger is contained in the portion of the stomach removed.

Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass may be right for individuals whose excess weight and weight-related medical conditions threaten to shorten their lives. During gastric bypass surgery, the stomach is divided to make a smaller pouch. This smaller pouch is then attached to a portion of the intestine, bypassing the larger stomach and the first part of the small intestine. The surgery changes the absorption rate of food, as well as decreasing the amount that can be ingested.

Robotic Surgery

MedStar Health’s bariatric surgeons are trained in the latest technologies, including robotic surgery. The da Vinci® Surgical System is used for laparoscopic gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy procedures. During a robotic procedure, the surgeon inserts tiny robotic instruments and a camera into small incisions in the abdomen. The surgeon then controls the surgery from a nearby console.

VBLOC Therapy

If you’ve been searching for a weight loss device solution that gives you meaningful weight loss without restricting your food choices and lifestyle, the new vBloc Therapy could be the right choice for you. Enjoy the same foods as your friends and family without worrying about how your body will react. This is a minimally invasive procedure in which the device is implanted just under the skin. For many patients, this can occur in an outpatient procedure, meaning less downtime for recovery.

How the VBLOC Therapy device works for weight loss

VBLOC therapy has been developed to target the effects of the vagus nerve by blocking communication signals transmitted between the stomach and the brain. The device, implanted laparoscopically just beneath the skin during an outpatient procedure, sends minute electrical pulses that block the hunger messages.

During waking hours, the device delivers electrical impulses that block vagal nerve signals intermittently. The result of this blockage often means fewer hunger pangs, which in turn assists the patient in regulating their eating. The device can be recharged and adjusted with a simple doctor’s visit – no additional invasive procedure is necessary.

VBLOC Therapy does not alter a person’s digestive anatomy. The body continues to process food exactly as it did before, meaning no restrictive diets, no physical reactions to food, and no life-long nutritional supplement regimens. It is also reversible. It can easily be deactivated or removed at any time.

VBLOC Therapy is indicated for use in weight reduction in patients ages 18 and older who have tried at least one supervised weight management program within the past five years and have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 to 45 or a BMI of 35 to 39.9 with one or more obesity related co-morbid conditions (such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes).

Medical (non-surgical) weight loss program

The goal of our multidisciplinary weight loss team is to help our patients achieve and maintain improvements in health through lifestyle changes, nutrition, and medicine. Even a small amount of weight loss (5-10% of current weight) can make a significant impact on your health.

Surgery is not always the right choice for some patients, which is why we have developed an alternative option to surgery, with similar powerful outcomes. This program is tailored to help those candidates who do not qualify for surgery. Through good nutrition, exercise science, education and medication, we help our patients lose weight and keep it off for good.

Our non-surgical program includes:

  • An individualized assessment, complete weight loss plan, and regular follow up with one of our weight loss specialists
  • An individualized assessment, complete nutrition plan, and regular follow up with one of our registered dietitians
  • Small weekly fitness classes led by our exercise physiologist
  • Behavior counseling groups led by a mental health professional who specializes in obesity and weight loss counseling
  • Monthly support group sessions