Surgical Weight Loss
The message sounds simple: To lose weight, you must eat less and exercise more. However, for many people who are severely overweight, shedding pounds is not that easy. After diets and exercise fail, some people find success with weight loss surgery, also called bariatric surgery.
Weight loss surgery is a life-changing, major surgery. It has the potential to greatly improve your health by lowering the health risks of being obese. Although there are risks with bariatric surgery – as there are with any surgery – your surgeon will carefully discuss with you the serious health risks of continuing to live with more than 100 pounds of excess weight or a body mass index greater than 40. In many cases, the risk of living with obesity is much greater than risks posed by weight loss surgery.
A Team Approach
As part of your initial evaluation for weight loss surgery, you will consult with a surgeon, a dietitian and a psychiatrist/therapist to help establish a clear understanding of the changes in behavior after surgery that are essential for long-term success.
To help you achieve your goals and deal with the changes surgery and weight loss can bring, our bariatric surgeons offer follow-up care that includes support groups, ongoing nutrition counseling and other forms of continuing education.
Your ultimate success depends on closely following the diet, exercise and lifestyle changes our weight loss team recommends. With this commitment to weight loss, you will have the chance to experience a healthier, longer life, with improved self-image and self-esteem. We are here to support you through every step of your journey.
Minimally Invasive Surgery
The vast majority of our weight loss surgeries can be performed using minimally invasive laparoscopy. Our surgeons insert a tiny camera and surgical instruments through small incisions in your abdomen. By viewing images from the camera on a large monitor, a surgeon can perform procedures with greater precision. The smaller incisions result in less pain following surgery, less risk of infection, a shorter hospitalization and quicker recovery.
Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is the current gold standard procedure for weight loss surgery, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. It makes you feel fuller faster and produces a sense of satisfaction that reduces your desire to eat. One year after surgery, weight loss can average 77 percent of excess body weight.
The procedure not only restricts the amount of food you eat, but it also reduces the body’s absorption of food. Therefore, the weight loss is usually greater than with other procedures that solely restrict food intake.
If you and your surgeon choose this procedure, your surgeon will staple shut the lower portion of your stomach so food will only go into the smaller stomach pouch at the top of the stomach. The surgeon then repositions part of the small intestine to receive food from this smaller stomach pouch.
Your doctor will help you weigh the health benefits of losing weight against potential risks of the surgery. You will need to take vitamin supplements and eat foods high in iron, calcium and Vitamin B12 to counteract poor absorption of these nutrients as a result of the surgery.
At times, eating too much sugar or too much food can cause rapid emptying of the stomach contents into the small intestine, which may lead to nausea, weakness, sweating, faintness and occasional diarrhea after eating. Some patients are unable to eat any form of sweets following surgery.
Many of our patients have had great success with the Roux-en-Y procedure. National studies show that after 10 to 14 years, 50 to 60 percent of people maintain their excess body weight loss. A 2000 study of 500 patients showed that 96 percent of certain associated health conditions studied (back pain, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, diabetes and depression) improved or resolved following gastric bypass surgery.
Adjustable gastric banding makes you feel fuller faster and lose weight because you eat less.
Using laparoscopy in most cases, one of our bariatric surgeons places an inflatable band around the top portion of your stomach, creating a small stomach pouch that limits the amount of food you consume. The band is adjustable, which means it can be tightened or loosened to help you achieve a level of fullness while maintaining a healthy diet.
Its advantages include a lower complication rate than other weight loss surgeries, an ability to adjust the band or remove it, a shorter hospital stay and recovery time and normal digestion and food absorption. In multiple national studies involving more than 3,000 patients, loss of excess weight ranged from 28 to 87 percent for those who followed up with their doctor for at least two years after surgery.
The band safely helps many seriously overweight people successfully achieve and maintain significant long-term weight loss. It reduces health risks associated with severe obesity, including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Disadvantages and risks of the procedure include slower weight loss than other surgeries, a chance it may not provide an adequate feeling of fullness, the need for regular follow-up visits to fill up the inflatable band, nausea and vomiting, slipping of the band, stretching of the upper stomach and a small chance of surgical complications.
A sleeve gastrectomy is a restrictive surgical procedure in which your surgeon removes 60 to 80 percent of your stomach to create a narrow tube that resembles a sleeve or banana.
The surgery does not interfere with the normal digestive process, as your stomach receives food from the esophagus and passes it on to the small intestine. Most people feel full after just a few bites and may feel less hungry the rest of the time. The portion of the stomach that is removed helps make a chemical hormone that makes you feel hungry. With less of the hormone in your body, you will feel less hungry throughout the day.
The procedure is typically performed laparoscopically and is not reversible.
Advantages over the other surgical options include not needing an implanted device and not causing severe vitamin deficiencies. Desired weight loss may be achieved within 12 to 18 months.
High-calorie liquids such as milk shakes and ice cream can be absorbed and slow or halt your weight loss. Complications may also occur related to surgery.
Elkhart General Bariatric Surgery Center is accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP), a joint project of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).
MBSAQIP accreditation means you have access to a comprehensive and multidisciplinary program, not just a surgical procedure, which improves patient outcomes and long-term success.