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Is Weight Loss Surgery for You?

Is Weight-Loss Surgery for You?

A few years ago, I saw a patient whose obesity had led to such poor liver function that her doctor referred her for the national transplant waiting list. She needed to lose weight and lose it now. Following weight loss surgery, her liver function eventually returned to normal, and she was taken off the transplant list. Her diabetes and high blood pressure also resolved, and she feels like a new person today.

For the right candidates, weight loss surgery—also known as bariatric surgery—can yield remarkable health benefits, and even be lifesaving.

What Is Bariatric Surgery?

There are several types of bariatric surgery procedures, but the most common are sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass. Today, nearly all of them are performed using laparoscopic surgery, a minimally invasive technique.

Sleeve Gastrectomy:

In this procedure, the surgeon removes a large portion of the stomach, transforming this digestive organ from a bag-like shape to a smaller tubular shape resembling a “sleeve.” The capacity of the stomach is greatly reduced, as is the amount of ghrelin, the “hunger hormone,” that it produces. This suppresses the appetite and makes one feel full more quickly after eating a small amount of food.

Gastric Bypass:

This operation also decreases stomach volume and hunger hormone production, as well as reducing the amount of calories the intestines absorb. The surgeon partitions the stomach into two parts: a small pouch and the rest of the stomach, or gastric remnant. Food bypasses the gastric remnant and part of the intestine as it travels through the much smaller pouch directly into the middle portion of the small intestine, which is surgically connected to the pouch through a Y-shaped configuration.

Another procedure, laparoscopic gastric banding or LAP-BAND™ surgery, was once widely performed, but in recent years it has become less common because its weight loss surgery results are relatively low and its rate of complications is high.


You can read the other half of this article on The Huffington Post here: