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Center for Weight Loss

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Bariatric Surgery Overview

  • What is bariatric surgery?

    Bariatric surgery, also referred to as weight loss surgery, refers to procedures that lead to weight loss by restriction (of how much food you can eat at a given time), malabsorption (limiting the calories absorbed into your blood stream after a meal) or a combination of both. These procedures are designed to create or mimic (in the case of the gastric band) a smaller stomach so the patient feels satisfied with less food. Some of these procedures also have effects that are independent of weight loss that may impact the hormones that regulate hunger.

  • How do you determine which type of surgery to perform? What would you recommend for me?

    This is a very personal decision. Certainly there are instances where a patient’s medical problems will not allow them to have one or the other procedure, or may even preclude them from having surgery altogether. However, most patients can choose the surgical option based on preferences. We believe it’s our job to present the options available—then leave it up to you to decide.

  • What is the difference between laparoscopic surgery and an open procedure?

    Open surgery involves the surgeon creating a long incision to open the abdomen and operating with “traditional” medical instruments. Laparoscopic, or minimally invasive surgery, is an approach that allows the surgeon to perform the same procedure using several small incisions, a fiber-optic camera, video monitor and long-handled instruments. At the Center for Weight Loss, we are able to perform almost all procedures using minimally invasive surgical techniques, which offers the benefits of lowering infection and hernia rates, accelerating recovery time and improving the cosmetic effect.

  • How successful is bariatric surgery?

    Studies show that all types of bariatric surgery and weight loss can effectively improve and resolve many co-morbid conditions. Many articles have shown substantial improvements in type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obstructive sleep apnea, asthma and other associated medical problems. Generally these procedures will also help with the pain associated with joint disease in the back, hips or knees that is so common in those suffering from obesity. However, if there is significant damage to the joints, taking weight off will generally not completely remove the pain. If you need joint replacement surgery, orthopedic surgeons are more apt to consider performing a procedure after significant weight loss because the new joints will be much more durable.

  • Can I lose too much weight?

    It is rare for patients to lose too much weight after any of these procedures.

  • Will I regain weight over time?

    Some bariatric surgical patients will regain weight after initially losing a significant amount after the procedure. In general, it is a relatively small amount of weight compared to what was lost. We have a number of methods to deal with weight regain issues and are always here to help.

  • Will I need surgery on my skin after bariatric surgery?

    Many patients decide to proceed with surgery to remove excess skin after bariatric surgery. Generally, we do not recommend having this procedure performed until at least one year after the bariatric surgery and when your weight loss has slowed. Patients vary greatly in how much of a problem they have with skin after substantial weight loss. Exercise can lessen the effects of weight loss on your skin, but will generally not prevent it if you lose a substantial amount of weight. Typically performed by a plastic surgeon, these types of procedures can address excess skin in your abdomen, face, arms, legs, back, breasts, etc. Insurance companies will sometimes cover abdominal skin removal, but generally will not cover skin-contouring surgery elsewhere on the body.