Weight Loss Surgery in Adults

Surgery is an acceptable, if not preferred, method of treatment for clinically severe obesity, as it appears to be the only option which can provide significant weight loss and long term maintenance of that weight in patients with clinically severe obesity. The vast majority of weight loss surgeries today are Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding, and sleeve gastrectomy, all performed minimally invasively in most centers. We strongly believe that obesity surgeons should be skilled in more than one surgical approach as the specific procedure needs to be carefully matched to the individual patient.

How Surgery Causes Weight Loss

Procedures for weight loss are either restrictive and /or malabsorptive: they limit the intake of food and/or cause some of the food to be poorly digested and absorbed. Gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy are "restrictive" surgeries, whereas gastric bypass, banded gastric bypass and duodenal switch are "combination" type procedures resulting in both a restrictive and a malabsorptive effect.

The amount of weight patients lose after surgery varies widely depending on many factors such as the patient’s age, starting weight, ability to exercise, and the type of operation used.  One very important determinant of a patient’s success is his or her adherence to postoperative dietary and behaviorial changes. On average, patients lose one half to two thirds of their initial excess weight at the end of one year. Initially heavier patients tend to lose more actual pounds, but lighter patient are more likely to come close to their ideal weight. The average patient in our program loses 50-70% of their excess weight, depending on their choice of surgery and commitment to the lifestyle changes necessary for success.

Surgery's Effect on Other Health Problems

The degree of improvement of various obesity-related problems generally depends on the extent of the illness and the length of time the patient has had it. The longer the patient has had the condition, the less likely it is for it to completely resolve after surgery. In general, more than half of the surgery patients find an improvement in high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Nearly 80% of non-insulin dependent diabetes is controlled without medication after surgery. Obesity-related respiratory problems, including sleep apnea and shortness of breath with minimal exercise, will often dramatically improve or even completely resolve after weight loss surgery. Joint and back pain associated with obesity, urinary incontinence, venous problems in the legs, acid reflux, menstrual irregularity, and certain types of headaches are also improved with weight loss after surgery.

Am I A Candidate for Weight Loss Surgery? »