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Bariatric Surgery

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Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery

There is more to obesity than diet and exercise. Stress, sleep, hormones, chronic pain, underlying medical conditions, medications and genetics can also play an important role. Obesity also increases the risk of other health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and fertility issues.

Our multidisciplinary team of surgeons, psychologists, nurses, dietitians, and physical therapists can help support you in achieving and maintaining your health goals.

Your Care Team

  Procedures

Conditions / Procedures

  • Sleeve Gastrectomy

    Overview:

    The Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy, often called the "sleeve", is performed by removing approximately 80% of the stomach. The remaining stomach is the size and shape of a banana.

    The Procedure

    1. The stomach is freed from organs around it.
    2. Surgical staplers are used to remove 80% of the stomach, making it much smaller.

    How it Works

    The new stomach holds less food and liquid helping reduce the amount of food (and calories) that are consumed. By removing the portion of the stomach that produces most of the “hunger hormone”, the surgery has an effect on the metabolism. It decreases hunger, increases fullness, and allows the body to reach and maintain a healthy weight as well as blood sugar control. The simple nature of the operation makes it very safe without the potential complications from surgery on the small intestine.

    Advantages

    • Technically simple and shorter surgery time
    • Can be performed in certain patients with high-risk medical conditions
    • May be performed as the first step for patients with severe obesity
    • May be used as a bridge to gastric bypass or SADI-S procedures
    • Effective weight loss and improvement of obesity related conditions

    Disadvantages

    • Non-reversible procedure
    • May worsen or cause new onset reflux and heart burn
    • Less impact on metabolism compared to bypass procedures


    Procedure content provided by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (www.asmbs.org)

  • Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

    Overview:

    The Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, often called the “gastric bypass”, has now been performed for more than 50 years and the laparoscopic approach has been refined since 1993. It is one of the most common operations and is very effective in treating obesity and obesity related diseases. The name is a French term meaning “in the form of a Y”.

    The Procedure

    First, the stomach is divided into a smaller top portion (pouch) which is about the size of an egg. The larger part of the stomach is bypassed and no longer stores or digests food. The small intestine is also divided and connected to the new stomach pouch to allow food to pass. The small bowel segment which empties the bypassed or larger stomach is connected into the small bowel approximately 3-4 feet downstream, resulting in a bowel connection resembling the shape of the letter Y. Eventually the stomach acids and digestive enzymes from the bypassed stomach and first portion of the small intestine will mix with food that is eaten.

    How it Works

    The gastric bypass works in several ways. Like many bariatric procedures, the newly created stomach pouch is smaller and able to hold less food, which means fewer calories are ingested. Additionally, the food does not come into contact with the first portion of the small bowel, and this results in decreased absorption. Most importantly, the modification of the food course through the gastrointestinal tract has a profound effect to decrease hunger, increase fullness, and allow the body to reach and maintain a healthy weight. The impact on hormones and metabolic health often results in improvement of adult-onset diabetes even before any weight loss occurs. The operation also helps patients with reflux (heart burn) and often the symptoms quickly improve. Along with making appropriate food choices, patients must avoid tobacco products and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen.

    Advantages

    • Reliable and long-lasting weight loss
    • Effective for remission of obesity-associated conditions
    • Refined and standardized technique

    Disadvantages

    • Technically more complex when compared to sleeve gastrectomy or gastric band
    • More vitamin and mineral deficiencies than sleeve gastrectomy or gastric banding
    • There is a risk for small bowel complications and obstruction
    • There is a risk of developing ulcers, especially with NSAID or tobacco use
    • May cause “dumping syndrome,” a feeling of sickness after eating or drinking, especially sweets


    Procedure content provided by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (www.asmbs.org)

  • Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS)

    Overview:

    The Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch, abbreviated BPD-DS, begins with creation of a tube-shaped stomach pouch similar to the sleeve gastrectomy. It resembles the gastric bypass, where more of the small intestine is not used.

    The Procedure

    1. Following creation of the sleeve-like stomach, the first portion of the small intestine is separated from the stomach.
    2. A part of the small intestine is then brought up and connected to the outlet of the newly created stomach, so that when the patient eats, the food goes through the sleeve pouch and into the latter part of the small intestine.

    How it Works

    The smaller stomach, shaped like a banana, allows patients to eat less food. The food stream bypasses roughly 75% of the small intestine, the most of any commonly performed approved procedures. This results in a significant decrease in the absorption of calories and nutrients. Patients must take vitamins and mineral supplements after surgery. Even more than gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy, the BPD-DS affects intestinal hormones in a manner that reduces hunger, increases fullness and improves blood sugar control. The BPD-DS is considered to be the most effective approved metabolic operation for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

    Advantages

    • Among the best results for improving obesity
    • Affects bowel hormones to cause less hunger and more fullness after eating
    • It is the most effective procedure for treatment of type 2 diabetes

    Disadvantages

    • Has slightly higher complication rates than other procedures
    • Highest malabsorption and greater possibility of vitamins and micro-nutrient deficiencies
    • Reflux and heart burn can develop or get worse
    • Risk of looser and more frequent bowel movements
    • More complex surgery requiring more operative time


    Procedure content provided by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (www.asmbs.org)

  • Single Anastomosis Duodeno-Ileal Bypass with Sleeve Gastrectomy (SADI-S)

    Overview:

    The Single Anastomosis Duodenal-Ileal Bypass with Sleeve Gastrectomy, referred to as the SADI-S is the most recent procedure to be endorsed by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. While similar to the BPD-DS, the SADI-S is simpler and takes less time to perform as there is only one surgical bowel connection.

    The Procedure

    1. The operation starts the same way as the sleeve gastrectomy, making a smaller tube-shaped stomach.
    2. The first part of the small intestine is divided just after the stomach.
    3. A loop of intestine is measured several feet from its end and is then connected to the stomach. This is the only intestinal connection performed in this procedure.

    How it Works

    When the patient eats, food goes through the pouch and directly into the latter portion of the small intestine. The food then mixes with digestive juices from the first part of the small intestine. This allows enough absorption of vitamins and minerals to maintain healthy levels of nutrition. This surgery offers good weight loss along with less hunger, more fullness, blood sugar control and diabetes improvement.

    Advantages

    • Highly effective for long-term weight loss and remission of type 2 diabetes
    • Simpler and faster to perform (one intestinal connection) than gastric bypass or BPD-DS
    • Excellent option for a patient who already had a sleeve gastrectomy and is seeking further weight loss

    Disadvantages

    • Vitamins and minerals are not absorbed as well as in the sleeve gastrectomy or gastric band
    • Newer operation with only short-term outcome data
    • Potential to worsen or develop new-onset reflux
    • Risk of looser and more frequent bowel movements


    Procedure content provided by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (www.asmbs.org)

Support group gathering

 Frequently Asked Questions

Am I a candidate?

If you are over 18 and have struggled with weight loss for several years (BMI greater than 30), you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery. Our team will work with you and your support network to determine a personalized plan of action to achieve and maintain your health goals.

Does insurance cover this procedure?

Some insurance companies cover bariatric surgery services dependent on the patient’s BMI. Many insurance companies see the long-term benefit that bariatric procedures can provide for patients, including a decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes. Our billing team will work with you and your insurance plan to help you understand all costs prior to the procedure. We also have reasonable self-pay options for our patients. Please contact your insurance company first and ask the questions on this worksheet (Spanish & English PDF) before making your first appointment.

What makes the bariatric weight loss program at UTMB different?

We understand that weight loss is a personal journey that requires cohesive support. Bariatric procedures are a possible step within that journey and can help patients to achieve fantastic results. Here at UTMB, we offer a full spectrum of healthcare support at every stage of your journey, from changing nutritional needs to mental health guidance, and even have a bariatric surgery support group where patients can share bariatric-friendly recipes, tips for success, and personal experiences.

Additional Resources

Bariatric Surgery Educational Booklet

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