Bariatric surgery, also known as gastric bypass surgery is one of the most popular and effective weight loss procedures. Learn more about how bariatric surgery is performed and the results it can deliver in this comprehensive guide.
- Bariatric surgery is a weight loss procedure that reduces stomach size
- There are several different types of bariatric surgery, including gastric bypass
- The risks of bariatric surgery include bowel obstruction, hernias, and ulcers
- Bariatric treatments can help reduce body weight and improve overall health
Sometimes losing weight requires more than diet and exercise. If you are not seeing the results you want, you may need bariatric surgery, which can assist with weight management.
What Is Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery is a weight loss procedure that reduces the size of the stomach. This surgical procedure induces weight loss by limiting the amount of food the stomach can hold. There are various types of bariatric procedures available in Los Angeles, which are each performed using a different technique.
Why You May Need Bariatric Surgery
Patients seek bariatric surgery when they are unable to successfully lose weight with diet and exercise. These patients often carry a significant amount of excess weight, which is more difficult to lose through diet and exercise alone. Left untreated, carrying a large amount of excess weight can lead to serious health concerns.
Symptoms of Excessive Weight
The following medical issues are signs and indicators that you are struggling with an excessive amount of weight:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Type 2 diabetes
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Osteoarthritis and other forms of joint pain
These medical concerns can significantly harm your overall health and reduce your quality of life.
Bariatric Surgery Qualification
Not everyone who is overweight will qualify for a bariatric procedure. Patients must be considered either obese or extremely obese and meet the following criteria:
- Extreme Obesity: Body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher
- Obesity: BMI of 35 to 39.9. You may also have serious weight-related health problems, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or severe sleep apnea
To confirm that you are a candidate for bariatric surgery, you will be evaluated by a weight loss surgeon.
What Conditions Commonly Need Bariatric Surgery?
Patients who have been diagnosed with certain medical conditions associated with obesity could be candidates for bariatric surgery. These conditions include the following:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease
Being diagnosed with any one of these conditions on its own does not suggest the need for bariatric surgery. A candidate must have a BMI of over 35 along with a diagnosed medical condition.
Bariatric Surgery Procedures
Each type of bariatric surgery is performed using a different technique. These procedures are designed to limit stomach capacity through innovative approaches.
Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy
Also known as a gastric sleeve, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy removes about 80% of the stomach. During the procedure, small instruments are inserted through several tiny incisions on the abdomen. This can remove a part of the stomach known as the “fundus.”
What remains is a smaller stomach, about the size and shape of a banana. This significantly limits food intake and can also promote positive hormonal changes.
During a gastric bypass, the stomach is divided into a small pouch and a larger remnant pouch. The small intestine is then rearranged to connect to both pouches separately. Gastric bypass is considered to be the gold standard of weight loss surgery and is performed more often than other procedures.
A successful gastric bypass results in limited calorie absorption, appetite suppression, and changes in gut hormones. It is an ideal option for those who are looking for weight loss with long-term results.
There are several important aftercare requirements during gastric bypass recovery. Patients must avoid aspirin and other NSAIDs after their procedure. They will be required to take specific vitamins indefinitely after their gastric bypass.
Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty
An endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) is a minimally invasive bariatric procedure. It uses endoscopic suturing to reduce the size of the stomach and limit food consumption. The suturing device enters the stomach through the throat. Since it is much less invasive than other procedures, it presents fewer potential complications.
The gastric balloon is a weight loss procedure that involves no incisions or sutures. During the procedure, a saline-filled silicone balloon is transported through the throat and esophagus into the stomach. This balloon occupies a large portion of the stomach and limits food consumption by making the patient feel fuller faster.
Lap-band surgery uses a silicone band placed around the stomach to slow food consumption. It is a reversible weight loss surgery that is now performed far less often than its newer alternative, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.
Weight Loss Revision
Weight loss revision refers to bariatric procedures that reverse or repair a previous bariatric surgery. These can be performed for the following reasons and more:
- Addressing complications from a previous surgery
- Improving the results of an ineffective surgery
- Making repairs or corrections to a previous procedure
West Medical performs all of these bariatric surgical procedures to help patients reach a healthier body weight. Our bariatric surgeon will assess your current weight. Then they can discuss your desired goals to determine which procedure will best meet your needs. West Medical has weight loss centers throughout the Los Angeles area including Tarzana, Encino, Irvine, Long Beach and Rancho Cucamonga.
What Are the Risks of Bariatric Surgery?
As with all surgical procedures, there are certain risks that are unique to the nature of the treatment. It is essential that every patient understands the potential risks and complications associated with their surgery. Your surgeon will discuss the specific risks of your bariatric surgery with you before scheduling your procedure. The following are some of the adverse effects that might occur after a weight loss surgery:
- Bowel obstruction
- Dumping syndrome, which leads to diarrhea, flushing, lightheadedness, nausea, or vomiting
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
Your bariatric surgeon will discuss these potential risks with you and steps you can take to prevent them. In the event you develop any of these concerns, your surgical team will provide guidance on how they should be handled.
What Are the Positive Outcomes from Having Bariatric Surgery?
Many patients report significant weight loss that is also long-lasting as the result of weight loss surgery. After weight loss surgery, there are dietary changes that must be made due to the changes made to the digestive system. These healthy changes in a patient’s diet support further weight loss. The weight loss enables better mobility, improved overall health and increased energy in that patient. Many patients report that they are able to engage in physical activities that they enjoy with their families and friends.
Common Questions Associated with Bariatric Surgery
The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about bariatric weight loss surgeries.
How Much Do You Need to Weigh to Qualify for Bariatric Surgery?
Qualifying for bariatric surgery is determined by your body mass index (BMI) rather than your weight.
A simple number on a scale does not give a true picture of how much excess fat you carry. Factors like height and age need to be factored in as well. Your BMI indicates whether you are carrying too much weight for your height and age, making it a more accurate determinant.
What Will Happen During My Bariatric Surgery Consultation?
Every patient must have a consultation appointment before scheduling their bariatric surgery. During this consultation, your bariatric surgeon will assess several factors to determine whether you are a candidate for surgery. These include your BMI, muscle mass, body fat, presenting symptoms, and any existing health concerns. If you meet the criteria for weight loss surgery, you will be able to move forward with the process.
How Long Does Bariatric Surgery Take?
The duration of a bariatric surgery can vary depending on the type of procedure being performed. Most of these weight loss surgeries take somewhere between 60 and 90 minutes.
What Is the Recovery Process Like After Bariatric Surgery?
Most patients go home the same day or the next morning after weight loss surgery and return to non-strenuous work after a couple of days. After any bariatric procedure, you will need to avoid strenuous activity and exercises for about four to six weeks. You may also be required to eat a soft or liquid diet for several weeks. However, this depends on the type of procedure you had. Most patients are able to resume their normal activities six to eight weeks after surgery.
Will My Bariatric Surgery Results Be Permanent?
The goal of bariatric surgery is to help patients reach a healthy body weight and maintain that weight long-term. After your surgery, you should lose weight and experience better overall health. However, your results will not be permanent or long-lasting if you practice poor eating habits. You should also consider regular exercise. The follow-up support you will receive from the staff at West Medical is extensive and is designed to give you the greatest chance of long-term success. West Medical provides ongoing consultations with nutritionists and dieticians to help you choose the right foods, therapists to help you with the emotional issues related to weight management, and support groups to put you in touch with other patients on the same weight loss journey.
Schedule an Appointment with West Medical for Bariatric Surgery in Los Angeles
Do you struggle with excess weight or health conditions related to obesity? Bariatric surgery may be able to help you get in better shape and lead a healthier lifestyle. West Medical provides weight loss surgery in Los Angeles and Southern California including Tarzana, Encino, Long Beach, Irvine and Rancho Cucamonga. Contact us online or by phone to schedule your consultation appointment.