Weight-loss surgery (also called bariatric surgery) is the only treatment for obesity that has been shown to produce long-term weight loss. Like many medical procedures, advances in technology and surgical techniques make it a safe and viable option for many people. Still, bariatric surgery is major surgery that requires careful consideration with the guidance of a skilled and experienced medical team.
Weight-loss surgery involves surgically altering your digestive tract to reduce the amount of calories your body absorbs. There are three major types of surgery available today, including roux-en-Y gastric bypass, LAP-BAND®, and vertical sleeve gastrectomy.
Memorial specializes in roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery as it is considered to be the “gold standard” of weight-loss surgery.
Gastric bypass surgery shrinks the size of your stomach and redirects the small intestine. Because food bypasses much of your stomach, the amount of calories you absorb is reduced. In addition, the surgery has the added benefit of “resetting” your metabolism so you need less food to feel full. After surgery, many patients experience less hunger and feel full sooner. Patients often report that they enjoy healthy foods and lose their cravings for fats and sweets. Rarely do people feel deprived of food.
Many health insurance plans, including Medicare and most Medicaid plans, cover bariatric surgery. Because health coverage varies, it’s important to examine your plan carefully and verify coverage with your insurer. Many insurers require that you meet certain criteria to qualify for coverage, including:
Most people experience dramatic weight loss over the first year following surgery. While every person loses weight at different rates, the fastest weight loss usually occurs during the first three months after surgery. Most people will drop between 50-100% of their excess weight within the first year. When combined with increased exercise, healthier eating, and greater social activity, many patients see a significant reduction in associated health risks such as diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, sleep apnea and depression. Most people keep the weight off indefinitely, but this is dependent on maintaining your new healthy lifestyle. As with most things, your results are directly affected by the effort and focus you put into them.