Understanding Bariatric Surgery
The Weight Management Center at Palmetto Health has compiled information to help you better understand bariatric surgery, including the types of procedures we offer and the ideal candidate for surgery. For additional information about bariatric surgery, call our Weight Management Center at 855-391-1120.
What is bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery is surgery performed the help an individual lose weight. There are three categories of bariatric, or weight loss surgery:
Restrictive – reduces the amount of food the stomach can hold but doesn't interfere with normal digestion of food and nutrients.
Malabsorptive – shortens the digestive tract to limit the number of calories and nutrients that can be absorbed.
Combination – restricts the amount of food the stomach can hold and reduces the number of calories absorbed by the digestive tract.
Who is a candidate for bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery can help severely obese individuals lose weight and keep it off. However, weight-loss surgery is not without risk. Individuals considering this surgery must be well informed, meet the surgerical criteria, and be committed to making permanent lifestyle changes. Bariatric surgery is not a cosmetic procedure. However, for carefully selected individuals, bariatric surgery offers hope for improved health and quality of life.
The National Institutes for Health considers the following to be candidates for weight loss surgery:
- Individuals who have repeatedly tried and failed with dieting.
- Individuals with a BMI of 40 or more.
Individuals with a Body Mass Index of 35 or more and health-related conditions (co-morbidities) including high blood pressure, diabetes and sleep apnea.
Surgical options offered at the Weight Management Center
Our surgeons at the Weight Management Center perform three types of bariatric surgery:
- Gastric banding (LAP-BAND or Realize bands)
- Gastric bypass
- Sleeve gastrectomy
Dr. Prickett performs some of his bariatric procedures using the da Vinci® Surgical System. da Vinci®, robotic-assisted surgery, is the most advanced form of minimally invasive surgery and allows for improved visualization of the anatomy and enhanced dexterity of the surgical instruments by the surgeon.
LAP-BAND and Realize Bands
Adjustable gastric banding restricts the amount of food the stomach can hold by placing an inflatable silicone band around the upper part of the stomach. The new, smaller pouch limits the amount of food that can be consumed at one time, and a narrowed stomach outlet increases the time it takes for the stomach to empty. Both factors result in weight loss.
Gastric bypass is a combination procedure using both restrictive and malabsorptive elements. With this surgery, first the stomach is stapled to make a smaller pouch. Additionally, part of the small intestine is bypassed causing you to absorb less of the food you eat. The result is that you cannot eat as much and you absorb fewer calories and nutrients.
Sleeve gastrectomy is rapidly gaining popularity as an effective weight loss surgery. The surgery involves removing a substantial portion of the stomach, so that patients feel full after smaller meals. The weight loss resulting from sleeve gastrectomy can rival that seen with gastric bypass surgery.
Which Procedure is Right For Me?
No procedure is right for every person, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both procedures. You and your surgeon will discuss your individual medical considerations and the risks and benefits of each procedure. Together you will decide if weight-loss surgery is appropriate for you and which procedure might be better suited for you.