Weight Loss Surgery

If you are very overweight and have struggled to lose weight through diet and exercise, weight loss surgery may be right for you. Weight loss surgery changes the way your body handles food, which can help you lose weight and keep the weight off longer and more reliably than other weight loss methods.

There are two types of surgical procedures that can promote weight loss.

  • Restrictive: These procedures limit the amount of food you can eat at one time, either by removing or closing off a portion of the stomach
  • Malabsorptive: These procedures remove or bypass parts of the small intestine, where the majority of calories are absorbed by the body.

Weight loss surgery may incorporate one or both types of procedures to help you lose weight. The risks and long-term effects of weight loss surgery will depend, in part, on which strategies are used. Restrictive procedures, such as lap band surgery, will make it difficult to overeat, but doesn’t drastically limit the types of foods you can eat. Gastric bypass, which is a combination of restrictive and malabsorptive procedures, limits how much you can eat and requires patients to avoid foods that are high in fat or sugar.

Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery helps people to change their diet and eating habits, which often results in a dramatic weight loss. Most patients continue to lose weight for up to two years after their surgery and are able to maintain a healthy weight longer than people who lose weight through diet and exercise*.

As a result of losing weight, patients who suffer from obesity-related medical problems will often experience relief from their symptoms after weight loss surgery*. Even patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, have seen an improvement in their well being and a reduced need for medication after having surgery.

Risks of Weight Loss Surgery

The risks associated with weight loss surgery will vary depending on your current health and the type of procedure you choose. Risks and complications may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Diarrhea
  • Complications that require additional surgeries
  • Gallstones

Is Weight Loss Surgery Right for You?

If you are a man who is 100 or more pounds overweight, or a woman who is 80 or more pounds overweight, you may be a candidate for weight loss surgery. You may also be a candidate if you are less overweight but suffer from at least one obesity-related medical condition, such as diabetes or sleep apnea. As of 2011, the FDA approved the use of lap-band surgery, a restrictive weight loss surgery, for people with a body-mass index of 30 or higher who also have one co-morbdity.

Weight is not the only factor to consider before choosing weight loss surgery. A candidate should also have tried to lose weight in the past without surgery and be able to demonstrate that they are willing and able to make long-term changes to their diet and exercise habits.

Dr. Choi will do a physical examination and review your medical history to determine if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery. You may also undergo a psychological exam and further physical testing. Your medical team will also work with you to ensure you’re aware of the potential benefits, risks and long-term lifestyle changes associated with weight loss surgery.

References

*Sleeve Gastrectomy as bariatric Procedure
*Lee WJ, Chong K, Ser KH, et al. Gastric bypass vs sleeve gastrectomy for type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Surg 2011;146:143– 8.