It’s frustrating to work hard at diet and exercise, only to find the weight comes back later. In contrast, bariatric surgery makes a change to your digestive system to help your body manage its caloric intake. This change is permanent, enabling you to lose the weight and keep it off, for good.
Will it work? The answer depends on several factors. Not only will the surgery change your digestive system, but you will also learn new ways to manage your food intake, your lifestyle, and the choices you make afterward.
We offer an ongoing series of free bariatric information seminars where you can learn more before making a commitment. If you do go ahead, you’ll work with insurance experts, dietitians, surgical specialists, and support groups to ensure you succeed.
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“It took me a little time to convince Dr. Choi I wanted to do the surgery. She wanted to see that in patients. It’s not a cure unless you want to participate in the program.”
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How Surgery Helps You Lose Weight
Surgeons first began to recognize the potential for surgical weight loss while performing operations that required the removal of large segments of a patient's stomach and intestine for other reasons. In many cases, doctors noticed after the surgery that patients were unable to maintain their pre-surgical weight.
With further study, surgeons developed ways to perform modified versions of these procedures in ways that can be safely used to produce weight loss in morbidly obese patients. These surgical techniques have been continually refined to make them safer and more effective over the last decade, so the results are better with fewer risks.
Which Bariatric Procedure is Right for You?
The Danbury Hospital Center for Weight Loss Surgery offers three different bariatric surgical procedures: Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, and the laparoscopic Lap Band® procedure. Nowadays more than 99 percent of gastric bypass surgeries are performed using laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgical techniques, resulting in smaller incisions, less pain and a quicker recovery time. You and your physician will decide if this is appropriate for you.
What is Gastric Bypass Surgery?
The Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass procedure will create a new and much smaller stomach from the top of your existing stomach. It will be reconnected to the small intestine downstream in the intestinal tract, so food will “bypass” the remaining stomach and a portion of the small intestine.
How Does Weight Loss Happen after Gastric Bypass Surgery?
| Gastric Restriction
|| Feeling of Satiety|
Your stomach is now much smaller, holding only one to two ounces of food. This significantly limits the size of your portions.
|A portion of your intestines is bypassed so less food is absorbed. This limits the amount of calories your body takes in from the food that you eat. Your nutritional needs are closely monitored so that weight loss occurs safely.
||You’ll feel full after much smaller amounts of food. You’ll need to learn to listen to your body’s signals of fullness, so that you do not stretch out your pouch over time.|
How Much Weight Can I Expect to Lose?
Every person is different, so the amount of weight people lose after surgery varies. The total depends on your body and on how well you follow your diet and exercise program after the surgery.
Research has shown that patients usually lose 60-80 percent of their excess body weight within 18 months after surgery. After five years, the average weight loss maintained is 50-70 percent of the pre-surgical excess body weight (EBW). For example, if you weigh 300 pounds and your ideal body weight is 150 pounds, you can expect to lose approximately 75 to 120 pounds on average.
What is Sleeve Gastrectomy?
The sleeve gastrectomy procedure involves removing more than half of the stomach and creating a tube (or a sleeve-like shape) of what is left. This procedure results in weight loss by two mechanisms. First, the size of the stomach is significantly reduced so less food can be eaten. Second, removing the stomach is thought to affect the production of ghrelin, the hormone that governs appetite, so patients who’ve had sleeve gastrectomy are less hungry as well. This procedure was originally created as a first step toward gastric bypass for patients with extreme obesity, and for some patients this is still the case. However evidence now shows that sleeve gastrectomy can be an effective weight loss procedure on its own. Sleeve gastrectomy can be advantageous to many patients in that it does not involve malabsorption, so the body is able to digest food normally, and it also does not involve implanting a foreign object in the body.
How Much Weight Can I Expect To Lose?
As with all surgical weight loss procedures, results vary from one patient to another but current research shows that patients can expect to lose between 55 and 70 percent of their excess body weight.
What is Lap Band® Surgery?
Lap Band® is a procedure during which your surgeon will implant a permanent "band" around the neck of your stomach. This procedure is purely "restrictive," meaning that it allows you to feel full after eating less by creating a much smaller virtual stomach pouch above the band.
The band has an inflatable inner lining that is connected to a port buried within your abdominal wall. For the first year or two after the operation, the band will be periodically "filled" or "adjusted" during regular doctor visits to achieve the restriction that is optimal for you.
Since Lap Band® does not require any cutting of the stomach or intestines it is considered to be a "safer" operation. It is important to realize, though, that gastric banding is still a major abdominal operation, requiring the same preparatory phase as for the Bypass procedure. Weight loss with the Band is highly variable, but most patients lose less than after the Bypass.
How Much Weight Can I Expect to Lose?
Weight loss after gastric banding can range from 0 to over 90 percent of EBW (excess body weight), with an average of 30 percent of EBW at one year and 40 percent at two years. Briefly stated, the benefit of the Lap Band is its safety profile; the downsides are the need for postoperative adjustments and variable weight loss.
For More Information
If you think you may be a candidate for weight loss surgery, talk to your primary care physician about Danbury Hospital, call us at 1-800-516-3657 for more information, or attend a free event and learn more about losing weight through bariatric surgery and if it's right for you.