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What Is Bariatric Surgery?

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.

Gastric Bypass

Gastric Bypass Surgery

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

Sleeve Gastrectomy (Gastric Sleeve Surgery)


During a sleeve gastrectomy, 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

Laparoscopic Adjusted Gastric Band (LAP-BAND/REALIZE)

During this minimally invasive 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.

Advantages of Laparoscopic Surgery

laparoscopic bariatric surgery

Laparoscopic surgery is a less invasive approach using a small camera to view internal organs through small (1/4-1 inch) incisions. The benefits of laparoscopy include:

  • Less pain after surgery
  • More rapid recovery
  • Smaller scars
  • Fewer wound problems and less risk of infection
  • Reduced risk of hernia

Traditional open surgery for a gastric bypass involves making a 10- to 12-inch incision to access the stomach and intestines. However, not every patient is a candidate for the laparoscopic approach. The final decision will determined by your surgeon.

Learn more about laparascopic surgery with Adjustable Gastric Banding and Sleeve Gastrectomy Overview.

Advantages of Robotic Surgery

If you are a candidate for bariatric surgery, you may want to consider gastric bypass surgery or sleeve gastrectomy with robotic surgery. Crozer-Chester Medical Center is one of the first hospitals offering bariatric surgery through the use of the daVinci® robotic surgical system. The advantages of robotic surgery in general are well-documented: less invasive surgery means less pain, more rapid recovery, smaller scars and reduced risk of complications. Although there are no documented studies that convey the advantages of bariatric surgery through the use of the daVinci system, robotic surgery does offer these features:

  • Surgeons are able to see internal organs in three-dimensional high definition, impossible with regular laparoscopic surgery.
  • Surgeons are able to control four instruments at the same time, increasing surgical precision.

Regardless of which type of surgery you choose, our team of specialists can help guide you to make the best choice for your particular health needs.

For more information about the program and to register for a free surgical weight loss information session, visit or call 610-619-8450.

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.