Does your weight cause you emotional distress? Does being obese prevent you from engaging in social and physical activities? Do you have health problems related to obesity?
If you answered yes to these questions, bariatric (weight loss) surgery might be right for you.
What is bariatric (weight loss) surgery?
Surgery for weight loss involves changes in the gastrointestinal tract to help limit the amount of food you can eat and limit the number of calories and nutrients you can absorb. Summit Health offers sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass - the two most common forms of weight loss procedures as well as duodenal switch. The procedures are performed with minimally invasive (laparoscopic and robotic) techniques to minimize pain and recovery time. Our outstanding bariatric surgeons are leaders in bariatric surgery and minimally invasive surgery. Our surgeons are among the few in the New York metropolitan area who perform revision (corrective) obesity surgeries.
In sleeve gastrectomy, the surgeon narrows the capacity of the stomach to:
- Limit the amount of calories you can eat
- Slow the passage of food through the stomach so that you feel full longer
In gastric bypass, the surgeon reduces the size of the stomach and bypasses the small intestine to:
- Limit the amount of calories you can eat
- Promote hormonal changes that improve metabolic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
In duodenal switch, the surgeon creates a sleeve gastrectomy as well as bypass a portion of the small intestines to:
- Limit the calories you eat by decreasing the size of the stomach
- Decrease the absorption of calories by rearranging the intestines
Criteria for weight loss surgery include:
- Body mass index (BMI) ≥40 kg/m2 or BMI ≥35 kg/m2 with obesity-related disorders
- Age 18 to 70 years (patients who do not fit this age range can be considered individually)
- Desire to achieve a healthy weight and improve your overall health
- Willingness to make significant, life-long dietary, nutritional, and lifestyle changes
- Understanding the limits, risks, and permanent adjustments for weight loss surgery
- Commitment to life-long medical follow up
- Qualifying for medical and behavioral evaluations to help ensure your safety and success
Before Weight Loss Surgery
Your bariatric surgeon will educate you about how to prepare for, recover from, and maintain the benefits of your procedure.
A psychologist or psychiatrist will evaluate you for behavioral (eating and lifestyle) issues that might prevent success after surgery. In addition to a general medical evaluation, you also might have an electrocardiogram (EKG), cardiac stress test, blood work, or sleep studies to identify any health problems that might increase risk for complications during and after your surgery.
After Weight Loss Surgery
Some permanent changes after weight loss surgery include:
- Eating small meals
- Taking 1 small bite at a time and chewing it thoroughly before swallowing
- Exercising regularly
- Need for vitamin and mineral supplements such as calcium and vitamin B12
- Need for regular medical checkups
Limits and Risks of Weight Loss Surgery
Although weight-loss surgery can help many people achieve outstanding, life-changing results, success depends on a life-long commitment to behavioral changes and medical follow up.
Being obese or morbidly obese increases the risk of complications during any surgical procedure, including bariatric surgery. For these reasons, weight loss surgery is reserved for people who are likely to achieve benefits that outweigh their risks.
Obesity refers to BMI and weight that exceeds a healthy range. For example, being 80 or more pounds overweight or having a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or higher increases your risk of weight-related health problems, including but not limited to diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease, degenerative joint disease, heart disease, and stroke.
Clinically severe obesity refers to a BMI and weight that increases risk of death. People with clinically severe obesity have a BMI of 35 kg/m2 or higher.
BMI for Adults
What causes obesity?
Although overeating and inactivity contribute to being overweight and obese, research shows that family history and genetics have a significant role in risk for the conditions. In addition, you might have had little or only short-term success with low calorie diets and exercise if you are obese. For these reasons, weight-loss (or bariatric) surgery might be an effective option for helping you achieve a healthy weight and protect your health.
Insurance Coverage for Bariatric Surgery
If you are considering weight loss surgery:
- Ask your health insurance company if it partially or entirely covers bariatric surgery
- Ask if you must fulfill additional requirements to qualify for coverage for bariatric surgery
Visit our insurance page for helpful information and questions for your insurer!