Gastric Bypass

If you're very overweight and can't lose pounds with a healthy diet and exercise, weight loss surgery might be an option for you. The surgery is usually for those with a body mass index (BMI) above 40 or those with a BMI of 35 or greater with serious co-morbidities. In general, this means men who are more than 100 pounds overweight and women who are more than 80 pounds overweight. If you are somewhat less overweight, surgery still might be an option if you suffer from life-threatening pulmonary problems like diabetes, heart disease or sleep apnea.

Weight loss, or bariatric, surgery can promote weight loss by limiting the amount of food your stomach can hold, limiting calorie and nutrient absorption, or both. Some operations also restrict the amount of food you can digest. Restriction operations, such as gastric banding and vertical banded gastroplasty, are the surgeries most often used for producing weight loss. These operations restrict food intake by making the stomach smaller and delaying the emptying of food from the stomach, causing the person to feel fuller faster. These restrictive operations lead to weight loss in almost all patients, but some weight regain occurs because individuals are unable to adjust their eating habits.

Gastric bypass surgeries are restrictive operations that construct a pathway from the stomach to the small intestine to avoid nutrient and caloric absorption. These operations produce more weight loss than restriction operations. In fact, patients who have bypass operations generally lose two-thirds of their excess weight within two years of the surgery. Gastric bypass is the favored bariatric surgery in the United States because it’s safer and has fewer complications than other weight loss surgeries.

Most people who have any type of weight loss surgery lose at least 50 percent to 60 percent of excess weight in the first 18 to 24 months after the procedure. Plus, many of the patients’ obesity-related conditions, such as diabetes or sleep apnea, improved after the surgery. Bariatric surgery also can provide long-term, consistent weight loss when accompanied with a few lifestyle changes.

As with any surgery, there are possible risks with weight loss surgery. A common risk of restrictive operations is vomiting when food is not chewed well and stretches the stomach size. Gastric bypass surgeries may cause “dumping syndrome,” whereby stomach contents move too quickly through the small intestine producing symptoms like nausea, weakness, sweating or diarrhea. There is often the potential for small, treatable complications such as abdominal hernias, gallstones and nutritional deficiencies after weight loss surgery.

Are you a Candidate?

Find out if weight loss surgery is right for you.

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When Is it Time to Have Weight Loss Surgery?

Questions to Ask Yourself About Bariatric Surgery

Losing weight isn’t easy. And if the weight returns, it can feel like, “What’s the point in dieting?” It doesn’t matter how you got to this point or why the world we live in makes it so easy to be overweight. If you’re reading this article, then you’re probably thinking about what you can do to make a dramatic change in your weight and your life.

Weight loss surgery is a commitment to yourself to living a better life. But how do you know if it’s time, or if you’re okay with life as usual? Spend some time to think about your answers to the following questions.

Questions to ask yourself

  1. Do I struggle with health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea?
  2. Do I feel like people see or treat me differently because of my weight?
  3. Is my weight standing in the way of getting a job or keeping a job?
  4. How many ways have I tried to lose weight? Is it working?
  5. How do I feel about the way I look in photos?
  6. Does my weight affect things I can do with my family?
  7. Am I willing to make changes that can help me keep weight off?

Do you qualify for weight loss surgery?

Generally speaking, you may qualify for bariatric surgery if you have:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI) or 40 or more
  • BMI over 35 with serious obesity-related health conditions, such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes
  • Tried many ways to lose weight, only to regain the weight back
  • No alcohol or drug addiction
  • Obesity that is not related to an endocrine condition

Explore Weight Loss Surgery Options

Our accredited bariatric team is available to talk through medical weight-loss services that are right for you. Why weight? Weight loss surgery could be the answer to your questions about what it will take to get to the life you want to live. 

Weight loss surgery is generally designed for those with a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 40, or equal to or greater than 35 with serious co-morbidities. Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding with the Lap Band® is also FDA-approved for weight loss surgery in people with a BMI of 30 to 35 who have at least one obesity-related condition. Weight loss surgery is considered safe, but like many types of surgery, it does have risks. Consult with your physician about the risks and benefits of weight loss surgery.


National Institutes of Health, “Maintenance of lost weight and long-term management of obesity.”

Obesity Action Coalition


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