If you are an overweight patient whose weight poses significant health risks and you have been unsuccessful at losing weight through diet and exercise programs, you may be a weight loss surgery candidate. Weight loss surgery is intended to help obese patients lose weight through decreasing appetite, limiting food intake, and enabling easier movement and exercise that leads to establishing a healthy body weight.
What is Weight Loss Surgery?
Also called bariatric surgery, weight loss surgery is performed on obese patients (patients with a BMI of 30 or higher) to help them lose significant amounts of weight over a relatively short span of time. Weight loss surgery may include reducing the size of the stomach (gastric banding), removing part of the stomach (sleeve gastrectomy), or rerouting the gastrointestinal tract (gastric bypass).
Benefits of Bariatric Surgery
The benefits of weight loss are vast and lead to a healthier, more fulfilling life for many patients. Weight loss surgery often leads to significant, permanent weight loss. Patients may be able to reduce their mortality rate by up to 40% by losing weight. They can also reduce or eliminate co-morbid diseases—diseases caused by or related to obesity that could result in disablement or death—such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
Weight loss also increases energy and metabolism, makes movement easier, and reduces joint pain. Many obese patients who are unable to lose weight through diet and exercise alone need the intervention of a weight loss surgical procedure to get them on the road to recovery.
Who is a Weight Loss Surgery Candidate?
According to the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), an obese person is someone with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater. Obesity occurs when a person has accumulated fat to the point that it poses a significant threat to health, quality of life, and/or decreases life expectancy.
Bariatric surgery is recommended for anyone with a BMI of 40 or higher, or for persons with a BMI of 35 or higher and at least one existing co-morbidity. Co-morbid conditions associated with obesity include diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, asthma, and heart disease.
An increasing number of doctors are considering bariatric surgery for persons with a BMI of 30 or higher when co-morbidities are present. Obese patients are usually only considered for weight loss surgery when typical diet and exercise programs have failed to produce significant weight loss results on their own, enough to bring the patient out of the realm of obesity and the risk of associated conditions.
More about the Different Types of Weight Loss Surgery
Bariatric surgery includes three main sub-types: gastric banding, sleeve gastrectomy, and gastric bypass.
Gastric banding achieves weight loss by reducing the size of the stomach using an adjustable silicone band. In some cases the stomach is reduced to as little as 10% of the original stomach size. This significantly smaller stomach feels full much faster, sending signals to the patient to stop eating so that they take in and absorb fewer calories.
The procedure is impermanent and adjustable which means the band can be moved to a new location on the stomach or removed altogether if needed. There are many different methods of performing all types of bariatric surgery. Types of adjustable gastric banding offered at Beverly Hills Physicians include the LAP-BAND and REALIZE.
- Sleeve gastrectomy permanently removes up to 85% of the stomach, significantly reducing its size. The portion that remains looks like an elongated pouch or sleeve. Like gastric banding, the reduced stomach size means fewer calories are taken in and absorbed, leading to rapid and significant weight loss. The procedure ensures that patients keep weight off with a permanently smaller stomach.
Gastric bypass surgery divides the stomach into two separate pouches and then reroutes the intestinal tract so that it connects to both sections for proper drainage. The smaller upper pouch digests a majority of the food before it bypasses the lower, much larger portion of the stomach for decreased intake and absorption.
There are several methods of achieving gastric bypass. At Beverly Hills Physicians we offer roux-en-Y gastric bypass—the most commonly performed type of bariatric surgery in the United States.
Gastric bypass surgery is recommended by the NIH for morbidly obese patients (patients with a BMI of 40 or greater), or for patients with a BMI over 30 and significant risk from one or more co-morbid conditions.
Set up a free weight loss consultation with us today to see if you’re a candidate for bariatric surgery.