Bariatric Surgery: An Effective Start to Getting Your Life Back

Bariatric (weight-loss) surgery is the only option today that effectively treats morbid obesity in people for whom more conservative measures such as diet, exercise and medication have failed. Bariatric Surgery also contributes significantly to resolving co-morbidities and regaining your quality – and quantity – of life.

Potential candidates include:

  • people with a BMI greater than 40
  • men who are 100 pounds over their ideal body weight or women who are 80 pounds over their ideal body weight
  • persons with a BMI between 35 and 40 who have another condition such as obesity-related Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea or heart disease

Bariatric Surgery does help many people reduce or eliminate some health-related obesity problems. It may help to:

  • lower blood sugar
  • lower blood pressure
  • reduce or eliminate sleep apnea
  • decrease the workload of the heart
  • lower cholesterol levels

Surgery for weight loss is not a universal remedy, but it can be highly effective if you’re motivated after surgery to follow guidelines for nutrition and exercise and to take nutritional supplements.

Types of Bariatric Surgery

There are several approaches to Bariatric Surgery, but all procedures are either malabsorptive, restrictive or a combination of the two. Malabsorptive procedures typically result in more weight loss than restrictive procedures.

Malabsorptive procedures change the way your digestive system works. Food is re-routed past a large portion of the stomach and part of the small intestine that absorbs some calories and nutrients. With some procedures, a portion of the stomach is removed. These procedures are commonly referred to as “gastric bypass” procedures.

Restrictive procedures severely reduce the size of the stomach to hold less food, but the digestive functions remain intact. This type of procedure may be referred to as a “gastric stapling” procedure.

Types of Bariatric Surgery

Stanford’s Center for Weight Loss Surgery is the only Center of Excellence in Northern California to achieve Level 1A certification by the American College of Surgeons.

Risks of Bariatric Surgery

Because Bariatric Surgery can have serious side effects, the long-term health benefits must be considered and found greater than the risk. Despite the fact that some surgical techniques can be done laparoscopically with reduced risk, all bariatric surgery is considered to be major surgery.

As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur. Some possible complications include, but are not limited to:

  • infection
  • blood clots
  • pneumonia
  • bleeding ulcer

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