Published on October 21, 2016

Surgery May Help You Lose Weight for Life

Obesity raises your chances for health problems

These problems include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, stroke, and colon and breast cancers.

Woman on scalePrograms that rely on a medically supervised diet, exercise, and other behavior changes may help you lose weight. For many patients, however, the results are modest and short term. Surgery is an effective alternative for many people who meet certain criteria.

Common Options

The three most common procedures in the U.S. are:

Laparoscopic gastric banding. A surgeon places a removable, adjustable band around the upper portion of your stomach to create a smaller pouch. This limits how much your stomach can hold.

Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGB). This procedure divides the stomach in two. The upper portion is then used to create a small pouch. Gastric bypass is also malabsorptive, which means it aids weight loss by limiting the absorption of foods in the small intestine.

Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. A surgeon removes roughly 80 percent of the stomach. The remaining portion is made into a tube-shaped pouch. This surgery has become more popular--likely because it combines gastric banding’s lower surgical risk with the higher weight loss linked to LRYGB.

After any of these options, you will feel full as the amount of food you take in starts to reach the new, smaller amount your stomach can hold.

Are You a Candidate?

According to current guidelines, surgery may be an appropriate option if you have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40, or 35 with one or more severe coexisting conditions.

Prior to surgery, you should talk with your surgeon about your weight-loss history, as well as any medical or mental health issues. You should make sure you understand the procedure you choose, its risks, and how much weight you can expect to lose. You should also know what changes you will need to make after surgery.

Know the Risks

While about 93 percent of patients do not have complications, there is a risk of kidney and breathing problems, bleeding, infections, blood clots, leakage, and small bowel blockage.

After surgery, it is common for patients to have nausea and vomiting, often from eating too much or too rapidly. But sometimes this can result from the surgery itself. Many complications can be managed with follow-up care and by following a strict diet.

Are You Ready?

Successfully managing your weight after surgery requires a long-term commitment from both you and your health care team. Mercy Bariatrics provides patients with ongoing, multidisciplinary support. Your team will monitor your physical and mental health and help you:

  • Overcome barriers to managing your weight
  • Follow through with exercise
  • Adjust to new eating patterns

With this support, surgery can help you get more out of life.