What is Bariatrics?

The study, diagnosis and treatment of obesity and its causes.

What is obesity and what causes it?

Obesity is a disease of fat storage that has been shown to cause many other health conditions (comorbidities). It is generally defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30 and is multi-factorial, being influenced by genetics, environment, hormones, metabolism, and behavior.

What happens during normal digestion?

Normally, as food moves through the digestive tract, digestive juices and enzymes arrive at the appropriate place and time to digest and help absorb calories and nutrition. After food is chewed and swallowed, it travels down the esophagus to the stomach which can hold approximately three pints of food at one time.

How does surgery promote weight loss?

The operations decrease hunger, decrease capacity to eat food and make people feel full faster and stay full longer.

Who is the candidate for weight loss surgery?

Candidates for surgery usually have a Body Mass Index (BMI) above 40, which translates into being 100 pounds or more overweight for men and about 80 pounds or more overweight for women. Surgery may also be an option for people with a BMI between 30 and 40 who suffer from chronic or life threatening complications associated with their obesity, including sleep apnea or obesity–related heart disease or diabetes.

What are the benefits of weight loss surgery?

Surgery greatly improves obesity related medical conditions. For example, one study showed that the glucose levels of most diabetic patients returned to normal after having weight loss surgery. Most patients lose weight rapidly and this pattern usually continues for 18-24 months after surgery. While many patients regain some of their weight loss, very few regain it all.

What are the most common surgical weight loss procedures?

Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding: Is currently the safest FDA approved weight loss surgery option. In this procedure, a silicone adjustable band is placed around the upper part of the stomach to form a small pouch. This decreases a person’s ability to eat large meals, helping with portion control and allowing patients to diet more effectively. Most patients have less hunger, feel full faster and stay full longer.

No malnutrition is associated with Band surgery.

Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass: Involves surgically dividing the stomach into two sections, a small working section called the pouch and a larger non-working section. The small intestine is then rerouted to decrease the ability to absorb food. After surgery, hunger is significantly reduced in most patients, however, lifelong vitamin supplementation is necessary.

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy: Involves removing approximately 80% of the stomach, leaving a tubular shaped stomach. The outlet and nerves to the stomach remain intact so while the size of the stomach is reduced, its function is preserved. Patients have remarkably reduced hunger and feel full after a very small meal. Malnutrition is rare after a Sleeve Gastrectomy.

What is Laparoscopic surgery?

Laparoscopic surgery involves making a few small incisions and then filling the abdomen with carbon dioxide gas. A camera is then placed through one of the incisions and the surgeon works while watching the video monitor.

Benefits when compared to Open surgery include:

Quicker recovery
Less scarring
Faster return to normal activities
Potential for shorter hospital stay
Reduced chance of wound complications
Lower total cost of care

What is the risk of complications following surgery?

Between 10 to 20 percent of patients require a follow up procedure to correct post operative complications. Death may occur in rare circumstances.

Are there alternative weight loss treatments?

Alternative weight loss treatments include but are not limited to:

  • Low calorie diets
  • Increased physical activities
  • Lifestyle changes like stress management and behavioral modification
  • Prescribed drug therapies to facilitate weight loss

Can I get pregnant after weight loss surgery?

Yes, however, it is strongly recommended that women wait at least 12 month after surgery before getting pregnant to help protect the developing baby. We advise women to consult their OB/GYN and work with a Dietitian prior to and throughout their pregnancy.

Will I need to exercise after weight loss surgery?

Many patients are hesitant about exercising after surgery, but exercise is an essential component of success after weight loss surgery. Exercise actually begins on the afternoon of surgery where the patient is out of bed and walking. The goal is to walk further each day thereafter and to begin low stress forms of exercise. Patients are encouraged to progress to more vigorous exercise when they are able to, under the guidance of their physician.

Will I be allowed to drink alcohol after having weight loss surgery?

You may find that even small amounts of alcohol will affect you quickly, depending on the type of surgery that you have. Alcohol addiction is seen slightly more commonly after gastric bypass than after the other operations. It is suggested that you refrain from alcohol for a period of time after surgery, as recommended by your surgeon.

What is the Bariatric Surgery Program at Shady Grove Medical Center?

Shady Grove Medical Center is designated as a Bariatric Surgery Accredited Center by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program.

Shady Grove has demonstrated excellent outcomes with few complications and we offer a personalized approach to helping individuals interested in weight management. We understand how being overweight can be overwhelming and affect all aspects of life. Our Bariatric Surgery Program works to offer new hope to many who struggle with weight loss.