BHealthy Blog

What to Expect with Weight Loss Surgery

Bariatric surgery, or weight loss surgery, is a powerful tool that many use to finally reach a healthy weight. In fact, more than 200,000 Americans undergo these types of surgeries each year, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. While it’s becoming one of the most common elective surgeries, many are still unsure of what to expect and question whether or not they will be successful. So, we spoke with Baptist Health bariatric surgeons to get the ‘skinny’ on weight loss surgery.

Who is a Candidate for Weight Loss Surgery?

Like cancer or heart disease, obesity is a combination of environment, genetic and lifestyle factors. It is linked to more than 40 other diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. A report in 2020 placed Arkansas as third and Oklahoma as eighth in states with the highest rates of obesity. The national adult obesity rate has climbed 26 percent since 2008 and the fallout from the pandemic such as more stress and less access to healthcare and fitness centers is expected to further contribute to society’s waist line. Any one with a body mass index (BMI) of 40, or a BMI of 35 with one or more comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, polycystic ovary syndrome or infertility, or orthopedic issues like arthritis, back pain and joint pain, could be a candidate for weight loss surgery. 

Types of Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery is a life-changing procedure that treats the disease of obesity and gives patients a second chance at living a healthy lifestyle. There are two types of bariatric surgeries performed at Baptist Health:
  • Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy: Also known as gastric sleeve or VSG, this type of surgery removes a portion of your stomach. What’s left of your stomach is shaped like a tube or banana and cannot hold as much food. It also produces less appetite-regulating hormones, which may make you feel less hungry. While the sleeve is permanent, patients can overcome hormonal changes if they are not following guidelines.
  • Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass: Gastric bypass is surgery that helps you lose weight by changing the size of your stomach and re-routing part of your digestive system so that you absorb less of the food you eat. You’ll also feel fuller with less food. Hormonal changes lead to similar reduction in appetite with slightly greater weight loss and significant improvement in comorbidities. Similarly to sleeve, success of this surgery greatly depends on following guidelines recommended.
Your bariatric surgeon will help you decide which surgery is appropriate for you based on your current physical health and future weight loss goals. 

Getting Your Mind Ready for Weight Loss Surgery

Preparing for weight loss surgery requires more than just measuring meals and buying protein shakes. Most patients meet with a licensed counselor or psychologist prior to surgery to address any underlying emotional issues affecting how they eat and take care of themselves.  Patients also meet with registered dietitians to learn what to eat and drink, how much and how often, in the days before and after surgery to make sure they are properly hydrated and nourished.  Baptist Health provides sample menus, recipes and tips on what store-bought items can help you through your weight loss journey. 

Life After Weight Loss Surgery

Doctors say one of the biggest fears their patients have is regaining the weight. Patients who continue to follow the recommended diet and exercise routines will maintain the weight loss. Knowing when to seek help is also important.  “The keys to success are committing to the process for life, participating in weight loss support groups and regularly following up with your surgeon or your primary care provider to make sure you’re staying on track,” said C. Michael Gooden, MD, of Baptist Health Surgical Clinic-Lexington Avenue, in Fort Smith.  The surgery itself is also sometimes a concern for patients. But Baptist Health’s bariatric surgeons have years of experience and extensive training. “The surgery is safer than gallbladder surgery given the specialty training of our surgeons,” said Tripurari Mishra, MD, of Baptist Health Surgical Clinic of Central Arkansas in Little Rock.  Baptist Health offers surgical weight loss options in three convenient locations: Fort Smith, Little Rock and Malvern. If you’re ready to take the first step toward a healthier, slimmer you in 2022, visit and register for a free seminar or schedule a consultation.