Bariatric surgery

Gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries — known collectively as bariatric surgery — involve making changes to your digestive system to help you lose weight. Bariatric surgery is done when diet and exercise haven't worked or when you have serious health problems because of your weight. Some procedures limit how much you can eat. Other procedures work by reducing the body's ability to absorb nutrients. Some procedures do both.

Know more about Bariatric surgery

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Why it's done

Bariatric surgery is done to help you lose excess weight and reduce your risk of potentially life-threatening weight-related health problems, including:

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Type 2 diabetes

Bariatric surgery is typically done only after you've tried to lose weight by improving your diet and exercise habits.

Who it's for

In general, bariatric surgery could be an option for you if:

  • Your body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher (extreme obesity).
  • Your BMI is 35 to 39.9 (obesity), and you have a serious weight-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or severe sleep apnea. In some cases, you may qualify for certain types of weight-loss surgery if your BMI is 30 to 34 and you have serious weight-related health problems.

Types of bariatric surgery

Each type of bariatric surgery has pros and cons. Be sure to talk to your doctor about them. Here's a look at common types of bariatric surgery:

  • Roux-en-Y (roo-en-wy) gastric bypass. This procedure is the most common method of gastric bypass. This surgery is typically not reversible. It works by decreasing the amount of food you can eat at one sitting and reducing absorption of nutrients.

    The surgeon cuts across the top of your stomach, sealing it off from the rest of your stomach. The resulting pouch is about the size of a walnut and can hold only about an ounce of food. Normally, your stomach can hold about 3 pints of food.

    Then, the surgeon cuts the small intestine and sews part of it directly onto the pouch. Food then goes into this small pouch of stomach and then directly into the small intestine sewn to it. Food bypasses most of your stomach and the first section of your small intestine, and instead enters directly into the middle part of your small intestine.

  • Sleeve gastrectomy. With sleeve gastrectomy, about 80% of the stomach is removed, leaving a long, tube-like pouch. This smaller stomach can't hold as much food. It also produces less of the appetite-regulating hormone ghrelin, which may lessen your desire to eat.

    Advantages to this procedure include significant weight loss and no rerouting of the intestines. Sleeve gastrectomy also requires a shorter hospital stay than most other procedures.

  • Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. This is a two-part surgery in which the first step involves performing a procedure similar to a sleeve gastrectomy. The second surgery involves connecting the end portion of the intestine to the duodenum near the stomach (duodenal switch and biliopancreatic diversion), bypassing the majority of the intestine.

    This surgery both limits how much you can eat and reduces the absorption of nutrients. While it is extremely effective, it has greater risk, including malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies.

Results

 It may be possible to lose half, or even more, of your excess weight within two years. In addition to weight loss, gastric bypass surgery may improve or resolve conditions often related to being overweight, including:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)

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