The term bariatric surgery comes from the Greek words meaning “weight” and “treatment”. Bariatric surgery treats people who are experiencing health problems as a direct result of excess weight when other more conventional weight-loss programs have failed. Bariatric surgical procedures involve operations on the stomach and small bowel, which limits the amount and type of food one can eat and/or the amount that can be absorbed, thus promoting weight-loss. The most common procedures done today are the adjustable gastric band (lap band), the sleeve gastrectomy, and the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.
The adjustable gastric band and the sleeve gastrectomy are “restrictive” operations for morbid obesity that only limit the amount of food one can eat. The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is both “restrictive” and “malabsorptive” meaning not only does it restrict the amount of food that can be eaten, but it also causes less efficient digestion and absorption of food. Each procedure has its own unique benefits and risks, and the Bariatric Team will help you decide which procedure best fits your needs and goals.
If you are considering bariatric surgery, it is important to understand that the operations are not a magic solution for weight-loss. They compel people to change their eating habits radically. The procedures create restriction and/or malabsorption, which places individuals at a lifelong risk of nutritional deficiencies. For this reason, candidates for weight-loss surgery must meet the criteria of morbid obesity where the risks of continued obesity outweighs the risk of the surgery itself.
Bariatric surgery is usually performed only after many other methods of weight-loss have been tried and failed. However, the surgery is not foolproof. It is important to work closely with your surgeon and registered dietitian to start a program of new eating habits to ensure that weight loss is safe and successful.
Long Term Expectations
The majority of weight-loss occurs during the first year after surgery. Although this time is usually very rewarding, it can also be a time of frustration. Follow-up and consultation with your surgeon and bariatric team will be essential to address any concerns or problems you may incur.
Treatment is a combination of surgery, diet therapy, exercise, and fundamental changes in behavior. Weight-loss is not the only goal, but also to improve major health threats associated with obesity.
Success depends on determination to change behaviors and making a commitment to lifelong follow-up. Persons who enjoy long-term success after weight-loss surgery have incorporated exercise and a low-fat/low-sugar nutrition plan into their daily lives.
It is important to learn as much as you can about bariatric surgery before you make a decision. The bariatric team at Surgical Institute of South Dakota is committed to helping you select the appropriate solution to meet your individual weight loss goals.
Once you are ready to pursue surgical weight loss, please attend one of our free monthly seminars to learn more about our comprehensive weight loss program.