Bariatric Surgery

Also known as: weight loss surgery, gastric band, gastric bypass, gastric sleeve.

What is bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery is a medical procedure that helps people achieve their weight loss goals. It accomplishes this by limiting the amount of food that the stomach can hold.

What happens during the procedure?

The nature of the procedure will vary based on what type of bariatric surgery is performed. Common ones include gastric bypass, where the stomach is essentially separated from the digestive tract except for a small pouch which can hold an ounce or two. gastric sleeve, where a significant portion of the stomach is removed leaving just a longitudinal sleeve, and gastric band, where an adjustable band is used to cut off a large portion of the stomach.

Is any special preparation needed?

The patient must first complete a rigorous medical management and educational program as well as a psychological evaluation to verify that surgery is the best option. If it is, the patient may need to avoid food, drink and certain medications prior to the procedure.

What are the risk factors?

Infection, bleeding, leaking at the surgery site, diarrhea, blood clots, anemia and other nutritional deficiencies, osteoporosis and poor weight loss (or even regaining of weight) are potential risks of bariatric surgery.

Reviewed by: Cathy Anne Burnweit, MD

This page was last updated on: January 17, 2022 12:01 PM