How Does Bariatric Surgery Work?

There are two categories of surgery performed for weight loss: a restrictive and malabsorptive procedure such as the gastric bypass and restrictive procedure such as the gastric sleeve, LAP-BAND and REALIZE. In addition, the Bariatric Surgery Program offers revision and conversion surgery options. 

We utilize the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques including the da Vinci® Robotic Surgical System for increased precision. Both types of procedures can be performed using minimally-invasive laparoscopic surgery, but some gastric bypass patients may require traditional open surgery.

How Does Gastric Bypass Work?

How Does Bariatric Surgery Work

In gastric bypass, the surgeon creates a small pouch using the upper part of the stomach. The pouch (approximately the size of an egg) limits the amount and rate in which a person may eat or drink. In addition, the intestines are reorganized to separate the digestive enzymes from the food that is eaten, thereby limiting the amount of calories that are absorbed by the body. This can be performed as a minimally invasive procedure with a laparoscope through short incisions in the abdomen, or as a traditional open surgery.

Traditional open surgery involves making a 10- to 12-inch incision to access the stomach and intestines. Compared to traditional open gastric bypass, the laparoscopic technique usually shortens the recovery time and reduces the risk of wound infections. However, not every patient is a candidate of the laparoscopic approach. The final decision is determined by the surgeon.

Learn more about gastric bypass surgery

How Does Sleeve Gastrectomy Work?

How does gastric bypass work

During a sleeve gastrectomy (gastric sleeve surgery), a sleeve-shaped tube is created from a small portion of the stomach and the majority of the stomach is removed. Food passes through the new stomach tube directly into the intestines. Nutrients and calories are absorbed from food normally, but patients feel full sooner and longer.

Sleeve gastrectomy is performed laparoscopically and can be a permanent surgical solution to manage weight.

Learn more about sleeve gastrectomy

How Does LAP-BAND Work?

How does lap band work

During a laparoscopic adjusted gastric band (LAP-BAND/REALIZE) procedure, an adjustable band is placed around the upper stomach to create a smaller stomach pouch. Like a wristwatch, the band is fastened around the upper stomach to help limit and control the amount of food a patient can eat.

The gastric band slows digestion and allows the patient to feel full sooner and longer. Weight loss with the gastric band procedure is more gradual than other approaches and usually continues over the next few years.

Learn more about gastric band surgery

Gastric Band Conversion Surgeries

Gastric conversion involves removing a band and converting the patient to either a gastric bypass or a sleeve. Some of the reasons include poor weight loss, weight regain and possible complications relating to the band including band prolapse or injury to the stomach or esophagus. It involves modifying an existing bypass or a sleeve and usually is due to either poor weight loss or typically weight regain. Occasionally the original surgery causes complications and your surgeon may recommend revising your original gastric bypass to a sleeve OR your original sleeve to a gastric bypass.

Choosing the Right Procedure for You

When it comes to bariatric surgery, one size definitely does not fit all. Some of the considerations for each type of procedure include:

  • Your age
  • Health risk, such as heart or lung problems
  • The amount of weight you need to lose
  • Whether or not you have diabetes
  • Your lifestyle and the ability to commit to the required lifestyle changes

The type of bariatric surgery you’ll undergo will be a mutual decision between you and your surgeon.  Remember – it’s great to take advice from family and friends, but do what’s right for YOU.

Ready to get started on the road to healthy weight loss?

If you’re interested in Crozer’s Comprehensive Bariatric Surgery Program, take the next step and attend a free educational seminar – in person at a location near you.

For physician referrals or other medical inquiries, call 610-619-8450.

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