Weight Loss Surgery or Bariatric Surgery

July 14, 2009 · Filed Under Weight Loss Surgery 

Exercise and eating right are the best ways to lose weight. But many people have tried those methods for years and still can’t lose excess weight — weight that can cause serious health problems. For people in this frustrating situation, weight loss surgery (bariatric surgery) may be an option. The articles in this website will help you better understand the procedures, determine if you’re a good candidate, gain insight on costs, and learn from patients who’ve had weight loss surgery.


For individuals who have been unable to achieve significant weight loss through diet modifications and exercise programs alone, bariatric surgery may help to attain a more healthy body weight. There are a number of surgical options available to treat obesity, each with their advantages and pitfalls. In general, bariatric surgery is successful in producing (often substantial) weight loss, though one must consider operative risk (including mortality) and side effects before making the decision to pursue this treatment option. Usually, these procedures can be carried out safely.

Gastric bypass surgery

Weight-loss (bariatric) surgery changes the anatomy of your digestive system to limit the amount of food you can eat and digest. The surgery aids in weight loss and lowers your risk of medical problems associated with obesity.

Gastric bypass is the favored bariatric surgery in the United States. Surgeons prefer this surgery because it’s safer and has fewer complications than other available weight-loss surgeries. It can provide long-term, consistent weight loss if accompanied with ongoing behavior changes.

Gastric bypass isn’t for everyone with obesity, however. It’s a major procedure that poses significant risks and side effects and requires permanent changes in your lifestyle. Before deciding to go forward with the surgery, it’s important to understand what’s involved and what lifestyle changes you must make. In large part, the success of the surgery is up to you.


Individuals considering bariatric surgery must discuss risks and possible benefits with their doctor. Bariatric surgery has associated risks and long-term consequences and should be considered only one part of an approach to treating obesity. Most bariatric surgeons think that the operations work best when they help promote lifelong behavioral and dietary changes. Long-term follow-up with doctors experienced in the care of patients having these procedures, as well as lifelong vitamin supplementation, is essential to avoid life-threatening complications.

How Does Bariatric Surgery Affect The Digestive Process?

Before Surgery

Food is chewed in the mouth, then swallowed, passing through the esophagus to the stomach, (roughly the size of a melon) where stomach acids dissolve it into smaller particles. The liquid (chyme) then passes into the small intestine where enzymes and bile continue the digestive process. The first section is the duodenum, the shortest section.

After Surgery

During both main types of obesity surgery, the size of the stomach is reduced by up to 90 percent, to the size of an egg or even the size of a thumb. Typically, its capacity is 3-4 tablespoons of food. This stomach reduction drastically reduces the quantity of food which can be consumed in one sitting and speeds up satiety. During bypass surgery, the digestive tract below the stomach is also altered.

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