Bariatrics and Weight Loss

Understanding types of bariatric surgery options

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A man and woman outdoors exercising happily talking about their options for gastric bypass surgery.


Uncover bariatric surgery, the types of procedures, benefits and risks so you can make an informed decision about your weight loss journey.


By Craig L. Floch, MD, Associate Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery, Nuvance Health


Making the choice to get bariatric surgery is a big decision. The life-changing surgery is a powerful tool to use if you are struggling with obesity and ready to make a change. There are a few different kinds of bariatric procedures that can be done to help you reach your weight loss goals.


Learn about the different types of bariatric surgery, advantages and the potential risks and complications so you can make the right choice about your weight loss journey. 


What is bariatric surgery?


Bariatric surgery is a medical procedure designed to help those suffering with obesity. By modifying the digestive system, bariatric surgery aids in weight loss and enhances your overall health. This surgery is generally considered for those with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 or higher with obesity-related health complications. Considering surgery for weight loss? The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery offers a free BMI calculator tool. Learn more about the BMI calculator.


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One of the reasons you might consider bariatric surgery is its effectiveness for those who have tried various weight loss methods without significant success. By restructuring the stomach or small intestine, the procedure reduces food intake and limits nutrient absorption, offering a more sustainable solution for weight loss. Additionally, it can lead to substantial improvements in your health conditions related to obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and joint pain, while also enhancing your overall quality of life and mental well-being.


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Different types of bariatric surgery


There are several types of bariatric surgery procedures, each designed to help you achieve significant weight loss and improve your overall health. Learn about the three common types of bariatric surgery: gastric bypass surgery, gastric sleeve surgery and gastric duodenal switch.


Gastric bypass surgery involves creating a small pouch at the top of your stomach and connecting it directly to your small intestine. Gastric bypass surgery limits food consumption and reduces nutrient absorption, leading to weight loss.


Gastric sleeve surgery, or sleeve gastrectomy, involves removing a portion of your stomach to create a smaller pouch. This helps you feel full sooner and reduces the production of hunger hormones, resulting in weight loss.


Gastric duodenal switch or biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch is similar to gastric sleeve surgery in that it involves removing a portion of your stomach to create a smaller pouch. However, the surgery also involves re-routing your intestinal tract to your stomach. Your gastroenterologist may recommend a duodenal switch if you have a BMI range over 45.


Learn more about weight loss surgery and what to expect.


Each type of bariatric surgery has its own benefits and risks. Whether gastric sleeve or weight loss surgery in general is right for you takes time to determine. When determining which bariatric surgery is right for you, a team of surgeons, dietitians and mental health professionals gets to know you as an individual. The team helps you establish healthy eating patterns before surgery so you have excellent chances for success following your procedure.


Are you ready to take the first step? Start your weight loss journey with Nuvance Health’s online seminar. Register today!


Benefits of bariatric surgery

Bariatric surgery offers numerous benefits for people battling with
obesity and its associated health conditions. Understanding these weight loss surgery benefits can aid you in making an informed decision about your weight loss journey.


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Primary benefits include significant weight loss and improving overall health. By reducing the size of your stomach or rerouting your digestive system, this procedure restricts the amount of food you can consume and absorb, resulting in substantial, long-term weight loss, improved mobility and reduced joint pain.


Bariatric surgery can resolve or alleviate obesity-related health conditions, reducing the need for long-term medication to manage chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. It also can significantly enhance your quality of life and self-confidence.


What are the risks of bariatric surgery?

Like any surgical procedure, bariatric surgery carries risks. Short-term risks include infections, bleeding, blood clots and adverse reactions to anesthesia. Long-term risks are typically related to nutritional deficiencies due to the reduced absorption of nutrients. Long-term risks can include gastric leaks, gastrointestinal obstruction, hernias and gallstones. However, these risks can be minimized by adhering to post-operative care instructions, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and attending regular follow-ups with your bariatric team.


Learn more about weight loss follow-up care and support groups at Nuvance Health.


The bottom line: Bariatric surgery can be a life-changing solution if you are struggling with obesity and weight-related health issues. It offers sustainable long-term weight loss, improvement in obesity-related health conditions and an enhanced quality of life. However, the decision to undergo bariatric surgery should be made after careful consideration and consultation with a qualified bariatric surgeon.


Learn more about Nuvance Health’s comprehensive weight loss program.