Over the last 4 decades, dozens of studies have shown that WITHOUT bariatric surgery, only 5% of people who are morbidly obese can lose weight and keep it off. Almost every person who comes into our clinic for help has previously lost weight only to gain it again. Some folks have gone through this discouraging cycle multiple times. And this makes perfect sense when we have a clear understanding of the root cause of obesity. Obesity is NOT caused by moral failure or slothfulness. It is far more complicated.
Most studies following people who have bariatric surgery show that with long-term follow up, about seventy percent of individuals who have bariatric surgery lose weight and keep it off for at least ten years. This is roughly a 14-fold increase in the success rate compared to non-surgical weight loss approaches. But some people believe that the operation itself will ensure success. And that is NOT true. A person must incorporate all the available tools, including surgery, to be successful.
Most bariatric centers in America offer two operations to people pursuing bariatric surgery. And almost always, these two operations are performed utilizing minimally-invasive surgery. This means that the surgeon enters the abdominal cavity through small incisions using a camera. The minimally invasive approach translates into shorter recovery times and less pain after surgery compared to the traditional approach that uses a single, larger incision.
Those two operations performed most often are the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy and the laparoscopic Roux en Y gastric bypass. The laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy usually takes about 30-40 minutes to perform in the operating room. The laparoscopic Roux en Y gastric bypass requires 90-120 minutes in the operating room. Many studies have suggested that, on average, people who undergo the gastric bypass lose a little more weight. This difference is not a big different- bypass patients lose maybe 5% more weight than patients who undergo the sleeve gastrectomy. The trade-off is that the gastric bypass is a higher-risk operation compared to the sleeve gastrectomy.
The stay in the hospital after either operation is one night. The diet is the same after both operations. Adopting a more focused lifestyle after surgery is crucial for success after bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery is for you if…
- Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is between 35 and 40 and you have related medical problems like diabetes mellitus II, obstructive sleep apnea, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, or heartburn.
- Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is 40 or higher, whether or not you have related medical problems.