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 SurgeryWeight 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.