What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery, a procedure endorsed by the medical community, can dramatically improve overall health, enhance quality of life and lower mortality rates for patients with severe obesity.

With over 25 years of experiences and more than 40,000 surgeries performed, Barix Clinics is the most experienced hospital network providing bariatric surgery in the United States today. Our dedication and commitment to excellence allows us to be consistently rated among the best in the nation in terms of patient care and outcomes.

You may not be completely sure what is bariatric surgery and what it entails. That’s normal — we hear those kinds of questions often. We’ve identified everything you need to know about bariatric surgery procedures to help you understand.

Bariatric Surgery Types

 When you ask “what is bariatric surgery,” there’s not a single answer. Just as every patient is unique, there is no single standard for weight loss surgery. One of our dedicated surgeons will sit down with you in order to determine what plan of action will provide you with the best results, safest conditions and most affordable services.

We perform every form of weight loss surgery that the U.S. government or recognized medical review organizations such as the National Institute of Health, Medicare, or the American Bariatric Society approves or endorses.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery is an effective weight loss method for patients who want faster results, need help controlling their food choices or suffer from a variety of obesity-related conditions. Patients typically experience a 65 percent loss of excess body weight in the first year and 80 percent by the second. It’s no wonder that gastric bypass surgery is the most commonly performed weight loss surgery in the United States.

During gastric bypass surgery (which is also called the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or Roux-en-Y gastric exclusion procedure),  the stomach is separated into two parts. The small stomach pouch, now a golf ball size, receives the food. The larger part of stomach receives the gastric juices produced by the body. The small intestine is reattached to the small stomach pouch, and the other end attached to the larger portion of the stomach, forming a ‘Y’.

The surgery helps you lose weight in four ways:

  1. You eat less, because you feel full after eating a small amount of food. Most patients eat about a cup of food while healing in small, frequent meals.
  2. Your appetite changes, since the ‘hunger hormone’ ghrelin is produced and stored in the larger pouch, away from your new smaller stomach – reducing your urge to eat.
  3. Your eating habits change, due to the ‘bypass’ of the small intestine. Your body will not tolerate foods that are high in refined sugars and fats. When you do eat these foods, your body will react with what’s called a ‘dumping syndrome’ – an unpleasant feeling that reinforces a need to stop eating these foods.
  4. You absorb fewer calories  as food bypasses part of the small intestine and digestion occurs in the lower part of the small intestine. These two factors reduce the amount of calories your body absorbs from the food you eat.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Gastric sleeve surgery gets its name from its process. During gastric sleeve surgery, the surgeon removes a large section of the stomach, leaving behind a thin, banana-shaped remainder that looks a bit like a sleeve. Similarly to gastric band surgery, patients can expect to lose roughly 60 to 80 percent of their excess weight.

You lose weight after gastric sleeve surgery in similar ways to the gastric bypass:

  1. The stomach’s size decreases, so you feel full faster
  2. The hunger hormone ghrelin is also reduced, reducing the hunger urge 

However, an important difference of the sleeve surgery from gastric bypass is the ‘dumping syndrome’. This behavior modification does not exist with the sleeve surgery.

Surgeons almost always complete gastric sleeves and the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass laparoscopically, which means it’s minimally invasive. Small incisions are made, instead of one large incision, and special tools are used while the surgeon monitors the surgery on a large screen. Since there’s less discomfort, patients are able to return to their normal activities much faster than alternative options.

Gastric Band Surgery

Gastric band surgery is a restrictive weight loss surgery that promotes weight loss by significantly decreasing the amount of food comfortably eaten at each meal. This helps the patient maintains a sense of fullness for a longer time after meals, enabling them to lose weight by eating less throughout the day.

Also known as an adjustable gastric band, adjustable laparoscopic banding, Lap-Band® and Realize® Band, this minimally invasive surgery procedure places a silicone band around the upper portion of the stomach.

About six weeks after the surgery, the surgeon will inflate the gastric band and adjust it to the right level of restriction. The physician completes this procedure through a permanent port placed under the skin, allowing for future adjustments with minimal impact to the patient.

Bariatric Reconstructive Surgery

Following weight loss surgery, some patients find that their rapid weight loss causes excess skin to hang loosely around their body (this can happen with any of the bariatric surgery types). Because these patients lose a large amount of weight over a short period of time, their skin’s elasticity isn’t able to shrink down quickly enough.

To avoid health concerns and to aid in reaching their weight loss goal, many of these patients choose to undergo bariatric reconstructive surgery. This procedure combines several surgeries to remove excess skin and fat. The technique pairs weight loss reconstructive surgery with cosmetic methods to tighten, lift and contour sagging areas.

Bariatric Surgery Cost

A common question we’re asked from patients is how much does bariatric surgery cost? Because everyone has a different set of needs that we have to take into consideration, the cost of surgery is different for each individual patient. 

Your medical history, insurance coverage and type of surgery will all impact your overall cost. The price of lap band surgery and gastric bypass surgery, for example, differ depending on the length and materials needed for surgery. It’s important to note, however, that any surgery option will most likely be more cost effective than the alternative: paying for the medications, dieting, surgical and other regular costs that come along with morbid obesity.

The best way to estimate how much your surgery will cost is by scheduling a consultation with one of our surgeons. Our specialty surgeons will teach you about different procedures, help you determine which procedure is right for you and also write a report for your insurance company. Our insurance team will then work with you and your insurance provider to get a pre-approval for bariatric surgery.

Bariatric Surgery Risks

Do you find yourself asking is bariatric surgery safe? You’re not alone. Over the past few decades, the operation has seen huge advancements in surgical techniques and technical innovations — meaning safety has improved significantly. Like any major medical procedure, though, bariatric surgery comes with its own set of possible risks.

Some of these general risks include blood clots, pulmonary embolism, respiratory complications or infection. In order to avoid some of these complications, our patients often undergo a cardiac stress test in order to evaluate their heart condition. There may also be bariatric-specific risks, such as stomach leaks or anesthesia intubation problems. 

Since procedures vary from patient to patient, it’s best to review your health and any possible risks with your bariatric surgeon. Since our surgeons do more cases in a month than many programs do in a year, they know how to properly prepare and care for a seriously overweight patient. Your safety is a top priority.

Bariatric Surgeons

Barix Clinics has spent years developing its comprehensive care program and selecting and training the entire team of people needed to provide the best bariatric care possible. We built this method — called the Barix Quality program — on experienced board-certified physicians and specialized teams who are devoted to caring for the bariatric patient.

Barix bariatric surgeons are so dedicated to the program that they only focus on weight loss surgery. In order for these professionals to join our team, they must pass a rigorous training program and regular peer review to ensure they meet our highest requirements. In addition, we require our surgeons be experienced in the special diagnostic and post-surgical assessment skills our patients need.

Our specialization doesn’t stop there. Our entire team of physicians, nurse, nutritionists and staff are all required to deliver a level of service to the bariatric patient that no other healthcare organization has ever come close to providing.

Morbid obesity is a treatable disease.

If you’re suffering from morbid obesity, know you aren’t alone. Barix Clinics can provide you with weight loss surgery solutions and help you need to improve your health and quality of life. To learn more about the procedure from the best bariatric surgeons in the industry, contact us today.

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