Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery refers to operations designed to treat obesity. Obesity, or the extent to which a person is overweight is often measured using the Body Mass Index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing one’s weight in kilograms (2.2 lbs.) by one’s height in meters (39.3”) squared. A person is considered clinically obese if he/she has a BMI of 30 or more, and morbidly obese with a BMI over 40.  Check your BMI Here. Usually this translates into doubling of the ideal weight, or 100 lbs. of excess weight. If recent trends continue, in the 21st century obesity may become the number one U.S. public health problem. Approximately 10 million people in the U.S. are suffering from obesity which is now spreading to children and adolescents.

Obesity exacerbates such co-morbidities as hypertension, heart disease, osteoarthritis, gall bladder diseases, sleep apnea and stroke. Additionally morbidly obese people suffer social rejection and prejudice, low self-esteem, sexual dysfunction and depression.

It is a complex problem which requires a multi-specialty approach in evaluation. Suitable candidates for weight loss surgery typically are evaluated by an internist, cardiologist, gastroenterologist, nutritionist, pulmonologist and psychiatrist prior to surgery.

Otherwise known as “weight-loss surgery”, Bariatric Surgery includes several operations performed on patients who are morbidly obese and have failed to achieve and sustain weight loss by non-surgical methods.  These methods include diet, exercise, drug therapy and combination therapy.  Many of these patients have multiple severe medical problems (“comorbidities”) related to their weight. Only surgery has been shown to promote significant and sustained weight loss for these individuals and, in doing so, improve or eliminate most of these comorbidities.

Bariatric Surgery can help patients achieve weight loss by either restricting the amount of food they can eat or by inducing a degree of malabsorption so that not all of the food eaten gets utilized.  At Stafford Surgical Specialists, we offer patients those procedures which are proven to be safe and effective.

Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass is a procedure in which the surgeon creates a small stomach pouch by dividing the stomach with a stapling device. The small intestine is also divided, then connected to the pouch and rerouted to reduce the amount of food the body can absorb. This combination of restriction and malabsorption produces quick and sustained weight loss.

Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band (“Lap-Band”) surgery is a less complicated procedure which involves placement of an adjustable silastic collar around the upper stomach, thus creating a small pouch.  The collar is connected by tubing to a port which is placed under the skin of the abdominal wall. As patients lose weight, the stomach and surrounding fat gets smaller.  The Lap-Band can be adjusted, by simple saline injections into the port, to compensate for this and allow the patient to continue to lose weight until the goal is reached.

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy is an operation which removes about 85% of the stomach, leaving it in the shape of a sleeve (or banana).  In doing so, it restricts the amount of food a patient can eat.  The portion of the stomach which is removed produces a hormone that increases appetite.  By removal of this portion, appetite is suppressed.  This combination of restriction and appetite control fosters significant weight loss.

Risks

As any major surgical operations, weight loss surgery ( bariatric surgery) carries a risk. Perioperative mortality is less than 1%. Most common short term complications with bypass surgery include pulmonary emboli, staple line leakage, bleeding and internal hernias. Long term complications include gallstones, incisional hernias, iron deficiencies and osteoporosis.  The most common complication with the gastric band is usually related to the port (leak, infection), which can be remedied with a small local procedure.  Less commonly, gastric band slippage may occur.  In every situation, the risk of undergoing weight loss surgery (bariatric surgery) must be balanced against the risk of the patient’s continued obesity.

The Center for Bariatrics is located in the Medical Arts Pavillion at Southern Ocean Medical Center, and serves Manahawkin and all of South Jersey. Free educational seminars are held at Southern Ocean Medical Center the second Wednesday of each month. For a complete list of seminars offered please call SOMC Connect at 609-978-3400.

For more information on bariatric surgery and the surgeons that perform the surgeries, contact Stafford Surgical today!