Weight loss surgery is not new. It has been around for over 50 years. However, during that time, several modifications have occurred to make the surgeries safer and more effective – it is a continuously evolving field of medicine and surgery. As the obesity epidemic around the world worsens, our ability to treat it and to treat it safely must also continuously improve. At Surgical Healing Arts Center (SHAC), one of the largest bariatric surgery centers in Southwest Florida, performing a wide variety of surgeries including the gastric sleeve, we pride ourselves on offering a comprehensive weight management plan and our surgeons continue to be on the leading edge of bariatric and weight loss surgery.
There are two main types of bariatric surgeries our surgeons perform (and due to advanced training, our surgeons can perform both laparoscopically or minimally invasively with very tiny incisions): The Sleeve gastrectomy and Gastric bypass.
The sleeve gastrectomy, has been incredibly popular over the past decade and continues to gain popularity due to the simple nature of the surgery itself, a great safety profile, and amazing efficacy. The surgery is as safe as having your gallbladder removed – a procedure done quite commonly on an everyday basis around the country; and most current data shows it to be almost equivalent to the gastric bypass (the so called “gold standard” in bariatric surgery) in terms of outcomes, with very few caveats. In fact, the sleeve gastrectomy is currently the most prevalent form of bariatric surgery in the US with over 60% of the weight loss surgeries done, being sleeve gastrectomies. The procedure removes about two-thirds of the stomach, but doesn’t affect its basic function, so in the long run it doesn’t affect what types of food you can eat. However, because the stomach’s size is decreased, the amount you can eat is reduced, and so this helps you lose weight. Another perk of the procedure is that the part of the stomach that is removed controls a large part of the desire to eat and hunger; so removing it helps the patient to not feel hungry all the time.
The gastric bypass has been around for a long time and has a proven track record of efficacy for weight loss. However, it is slightly more complicated than a sleeve gastrectomy, though not any less safe in the right surgeon’s hands. Some patients, for one reason or another, may not be suited to have a sleeve gastrectomy and your surgeon will help you decide if the bypass may be a better option for you.
You may have heard about some other types of surgery – namely the adjustable gastric band (gastric banding) or the biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. However, the gastric band, while it has led to semi-successful weight loss for many patients; has fallen out of favor due to it not working for large number of people and having been found to be the cause of some significant complications to the stomach and esophagus. The duodenal switch, on the other hand, is not a common bariatric procedure and is reserved for a very select few patients.
No matter what surgery you decide is right for you, remember, that weight loss surgery is not a magic pill and does not cause weight loss by itself; it is simply a tool to help in the process, which begins with the surgery, but must include a complete commitment to lifestyle alterations. If you are overweight or morbidly obese and concerned about your health, we at SHAC urge you to give us a call for a consultation on life-saving weight loss surgery. We are here to help you.