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What is weight loss (bariatric) surgery?

Bariatric surgery works by surgically changing the stomach to restrict the amount of food a person can eat. After the surgery, the stomach will be able to hold only small amounts of food. The person will feel full sooner because the stomach is smaller. With gastric sleeve, bypass, or diversion, the person also will not be as hungry because most of the tissue that makes the hunger hormone in the stomach, called ghrelin, will be gone. Therefore, with these changes to the anatomy and physiology it makes it so the person can lose a large amount of weight. This will happen only if the person follows the guidelines after surgery.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)
Bariatric surgery describes a series of operations on the gastrointestinal system that helps obese persons lose weight. It works either by restricting the patient’s amount of food intake, by altering the body’s ability to absorb ingested food, or both.

The first gastric bypass was performed in 1969. However, this and other bariatric surgeries didn’t gain popularity until the bariatric revolution in the early 2000s, as the procedure got safer and more surgeons offered laparoscopic options that would allow for a faster recovery and leave fewer scars.

After these procedures, patients note not only a dramatic reduction in weight, but also resolution of other obesity-related conditions, including gastric reflux, obstructive sleep apnea, joint and back problems, fatty liver disease, and some forms of asthma and diabetes.
A very useful and effective tool for treating morbid obesity is bariatric or weight-loss surgery. This refers to things such as the laparoscopic banding procedure, or the lap band, or gastric bypass surgery.
Dr. Melissa B. Bagloo, MD
Bariatric Medicine (Obesity Medicine) Specialist
Surgery has become an acceptable method of treatment for clinically severe obesity because it appears to be the only option which can provide long-term maintained weight loss in-patients with clinically severe obesity. In fact, the number of patients having surgical treatment of obesity has doubled in recent years. Stomach, or gastric operations, have been performed since 1969. Currently, the leading approaches to weight-loss surgery in the United States are Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and adjustable gastric banding. Obesity surgeons should be skilled in more than one surgical approach, as the specific procedure needs to be carefully matched to the individual patient.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.