Bariatric surgery – a safe and effective option for weight loss

Bariatric surgery has been around for well over 60 years. During that time, it has progressed from an experimental, unconventional procedure to a safe, standard-of-care treatment for morbid obesity. Our comprehensive bariatric and weight loss surgery program includes an individualized treatment plan, pre-surgery preparation, post-surgery education and long-term follow-up care. Our surgeons perform surgery at LewisGale Medical Center, which is accredited as a Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®), a nationally accredited program meeting the highest standards for patient safety and quality.

A healthier you

Are you a candidate for bariatric surgery? Determine if you qualify with our online assessment.

Our experienced team

Our multidisciplinary team consists of:

  • a bariatric surgeon
  • dietitian
  • psychologist
  • nurses
  • additional clinical members to offer support throughout your entire journey

Results can be lifesaving

Obesity is a major health issue that contributes to the development of many life-threatening or disabling health conditions. Weight loss procedures can reduce the risk of obesity-related conditions, such as:

  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep apnea

Following bariatric surgery, patients are typically able to lower dosages or even discontinue medications associated with elevated blood sugar and/or high blood pressure.  Among the other benefits are improved incidences of acid reflux and lowering cholesterol. Ultimately, the heart and lungs are working less hard and that means an improvement in quality of life.

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Weight loss procedures

All surgical treatments are performed laparoscopically using minimally-invasive procedures that result in shorter hospital stays, faster recovery and less pain. Individualized care is provided pre-surgery as well as post-surgery to maximize health and well-being.  

Adjustable gastric banding

With a gastric banding procedure, a band is placed around the outside of the upper stomach. Over time, the tightness of the band is adjusted to help the patient continually meet their weight loss goals. As it tightens, the patient feels full sooner and longer, encouraging ongoing gradual weight loss.

Advantages of gastric banding include:

  • No part of the stomach or digestive system is permanently altered
  • The surgery can be reversed
  • The digestive tract functions as usual, allowing vitamins and nutrients to be fully absorbed into the body

Gastric bypass

The Roux en-Y gastric bypass – also referred to as simply “gastric bypass” – is the most common and successful type of malabsorptive surgery. With a malabsorptive procedure, there is a restriction in food intake and the amount of calories and nutrients the body absorbs.

During gastric bypass, a smaller stomach pouch is created and the small intestine is attached to the pouch to allow food to bypass the lower stomach and part of the small intestine. It is both non-reversible and non-adjustable. Long-term success depends on adhering to new rules for eating.

Advantages of gastric bypass include:

  • Average weight loss is generally higher than with gastric banding or sleeve surgeries
  • Weight loss is generally maintained the longest in comparison to other weight loss procedures

Bariatric revision surgery

Sometimes it is necessary to covert one operation to another, or more commonly, revise an operation due to complications or unforeseen circumstances.  For some gastric bypass patients, the small stomach pouch and bypass outlet can stretch back out over time. As a result, a safe and effective minimally invasive procedure would be needed to correct this issue.

Gastric sleeve

The vertical sleeve gastrectomy, also referred to as the “gastric sleeve,” is a form of restrictive weight loss surgery in which approximately 85 percent of the stomach is removed. The remaining stomach is about the size of a banana.

Advantages of gastric sleeve include:

  • No postoperative adjustments are required
  • Patients may lose an average of 55 percent of their excess weight
  • It may help resolve high blood pressure and obstructive sleep apnea
  • It may help improve Type 2 diabetes and hyperlipidemia

Candidates for weight loss surgery

The need for weight loss surgery is determined by several factors, including a patient’s classification of obesity.

Obesity is determined by body mass index (BMI) as follows:

  • 18.5 and below = underweight
  • 18.5 - 24.9 = healthy
  • 25.0 - 29.9 = overweight
  • 30.0 – 34.9 = obese
  • 35.0 – 39.9 = severely obese
  • 40 and above = morbidly obese

Patients may qualify for surgery if they have a BMI of at least 40, or if they have a BMI of at least 25 and also have other significant issues related to weight, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

It is also important to note that BMI cannot distinguish between excess fat and muscle. The BMI of an extremely muscular person may be classified as obese, when clearly, he or she is not.

To learn more about our minimally invasive bariatric surgery options, please call (540) 772-3620.