Bariatric Surgery For Weight Loss

Surgery For Obesity Is Not A Simple Procedure

Obesity surgery is not a nip-tuck procedure, with a quick snip here, an elastic band there and - poof! - the extra weight is gone, the negative health conditions magically disappear and the problem is solved. Bariatric surgery for weight loss is serious business.

Weight Loss Surgery Is Not For Everyone

Obesity surgery is almost always a last option treatment, reserved for those who are facing imminent health problems due to their enormous bulk – including those who could die if they do not cut their weight down significantly.

A good doctor, specialist or surgeon generally only recommends and/or performs these types of operations for those with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35, accompanied by an obesity-related disease such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or sleep apnea.   A person with a BMI of 40 who doesn’t have the above health problems, could also be a candidate for surgery.

It’s important to research beyond the spectacular nightly news headlines and the media hype about celebrities and extreme weight loss.  That’s where your doctor, healthcare provider and specialist come in.  They will evaluate your health, your health needs and risks and discuss the specific options they believe are best for you.

Always check with your doctor(s) when you consider making any kind of healthcare decisions, especially when it involves surgery.

Bariatric Surgery (Weight Loss Surgery) 

Is It A Magic Bullet Solution For Obesity?

When diet and exercise fail to deliver the needed weight reduction and improvement to their health, some people feel they have exhausted all normal treatment avenues.

With nowhere else to go, they turn to their surgeons and ask for a gastric bypass, gastric band, gastrectomy or duodenal switch operation.  These types of obesity surgery have been specifically developed for those people who have tried every other method conceivable to lose weight with little or no result.

There Are Risks Involved With Any Kind Of Surgery                        And Weight Loss Surgery Is No Exception

Having obesity surgery is not a decision to be entered into lightly, as it is a step that will have a profound effect on the rest of your life. It is also not to be considered as a substitute for healthy eating and diet – it is a last-ditch attempt for morbidly obese people who have explored all other avenues to get their weight under control and failed.

If you think this could be the right choice for you, discuss all options with your doctor and choose a certified surgeon who has done countless similar operations in the best. Remember, once you start, there is no going back, so think long and hard before jumping in.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate medical professional.

Types of Obesity Surgery

Different types of surgery suit different people. It is important that you discuss the options, health risks and pros and cons of surgery with your doctor before you make any health decision.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

Originally performed in 1967, this type of surgery has evolved greatly since its introduction. The name comes from the fact that surgeons reconfigure parts of the stomach so that food bypasses the top bit of the gut, or the small intestine, to prevent it from being absorbed by the body, thus less weight is gained.

In most cases, a tiny part of the stomach is sectioned off to create a small pouch which will only accommodate small portions of food. If you eat more you feel sick, and may even throw up. The result is that your body responses ‘train’ you to want – and eat – a lot less.

Several types of gastric bypass surgeries are now performed: the Roux-en-Y (distal), and the Roux-en-Y (proximal), the most common, the Mini Gastric Bypass.

Advantages of Gastric Bypass Surgery

  1. Gastric bypass surgery is a radical step when all else has failed.

  2. It can help people reach a reasonable weight which would enable them to exercise normally and keep the weight off.

  3. For people with severe health problems caused by being obese, it often is the only answer. Often people take this step after being warned they face death unless they achieve significant weight loss.

Disadvantages of Gastric Bypass Surgery

  1. Fourteen percent of patients who had this procedure (which can involve the surgeon making deep incisions into the body) suffered complications.

  2. General  overall risks  include respiratory complications, infection, blood clots, bowel obstructions and leakage of the intestine or stomach contents into other parts of the body.

  3. Gastric bypass surgery can also intensify other health problems that  morbidly obese patients suffer from.

Gastric Band Surgery

Gastric band surgery is performed using a laparoscopic surgery technique, which is why it’s sometimes called “lap band” surgery. In this type of surgery, a pouch is made in the stomach thanks to a small band, kind of like a rubber band, which dictates how much a person can eat at a single sitting.

Surgeons can make the band either tighter or looser by deflating or inflating a balloon filled with silicone, which lies inside the band itself. Adjustments to the band can be made according to the weight loss progress the individual makes - usually every six to eight weeks - until the desired weight plateau is reached.

Advantages of Gastric Band Surgery

  1. Gastric lap band surgery is safer than gastric bypass surgery because no part of the stomach is actually removed.

  2. This type of obesity surgery is considered less invasive, and most of the patients absorb nutrients well both during and after the the time when the band is inside them.

Disadvantages of Gastric Lap Band Surgery

  1. Some people suffer complications - which can sometimes be fatal -  as a result of general anesthesia associated with the surgery.

  2. The gastric lap band surgery procedure also carries risks of blood clots, organ damage, and infection.

  3. In rare cases, the band can slip - or even erode through the stomach wall after it has been placed.

  4. If weight is lost too quickly the patient might develop gallstones.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

The stomach is divided length-wise and about 80 percent of it is removed completely to create a banana-shaped tube, or sleeve. As it is now much smaller than a regular stomach, the amount of food a patient can comfortably eat is severely restricted.

The sleeve gastrectomy is performed on patients who are so big they cannot safely undergo a bypass operation; at a later date they sometimes have gastric bypass surgery carried out.

Advantages of a Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery

  1. Nutrient absorption remains good because no actual bypass has been created.

  2. The amount of weight lost is statistically higher than regular weight loss programs or diets;  it’s hard to eat with virtually no stomach!

Disadvantages of Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery

  1. The sleeve can expand if the patient continues to eat a lot, resulting in no little or no weight loss.

  2. Because the sleeve can expand, the patient can regain the weight that has been lost.

  3. Once a gastric sleeve surgery has been performed, the procedure is irreversible.

  4. There is a risk that leakage of the gut may occur as a result of gastric sleeve surgery.

Duodenal Switch Surgery

In a duodenal switch surgery the stomach is reduced in size and reshaped to form a sleeve or banana shape.  The procedure is like a gastrectomy, but then it bypasses about half of the small intestine and is reconnected to its shortened shape. This forms a conduit in which both gastric juices and food are mixed together.

Advantages of Duodenal Switch Surgery

  1. On the whole, patients tend to lose more weight with this operation.

Disadvantages of Duodenal Switch Surgery

  1. In addition to less food being absorbed by the body, fewer vital nutrients are absorbed.

  2. The operation is technically difficult and performed less often, so some surgeons have less experience with it.

Al Roker, from NBC News Today Show,  before (right) and after (left) obesity (gastric bypass) surgery.


(How & Why Al Roker Lost It)


(Al Roker Regaining His Lost Weight)


Before & after results from

gastric band surgery

(Lap Band Surgery)

Are you a serious candidate     for weight loss surgery?

Gastric Bypass Surgery

Before & After Images

Gastric (Lap) Band Surgery

Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery

Patient before and after sleeve gastrectomy surgery

Duodenal Switch Surgery

Couple (husband and wife)

after duodenal switch surgery

The Cost Of Weight Loss Surgery Is High

Weight Loss Surgery is complex and costly.

The average cost for gastric bypass surgery ranges from $18,000 to $35,000, while the average cost for adjustable gastric banding(Lap Band Surgery) ranges from $17,000 to $30,000.

Costs for gastric bypass surgery generally include:

Surgery costs will vary based on the extent of the procedure, the complications that may arise, the length of recovery required and any additional services that may be needed.

Bariatric Surgery Costs Will Vary According To Where You Live

Weight loss surgery fees are typically higher in urban areas of the U.S, such as Boston, New York, and other Eastern seaboard cities.

  1. Overhead is higher in these areas, and surgeons are in greater demand in more densely populated areas.

  2. The highest cost region is in the northeast United States, followed by the West Coast, then the central and southern states.

  3. The best surgeons in every region typically demand, and receive, higher fees.  In general these surgeons

Post-surgery costs are additional, and can include:

  1. the pre-op lab and X-ray fees                                                   

  2. anesthesia and anesthetist fees                                                                                      

  3. hospital use and services costs                                                           

  4. the surgeon's fee

  1. nutrition planning

  2. dietary supervision & follow up

  3. fitness and exercise programs

  4. behavioral modification

  5. regular doctor

  6. nutritional supplements

  7. body contouring surgeries to remove excess skin, lift sagging body areas (body lift) and improve loose muscles or treat fat deposits.  (These procedures are usually delayed until one or two years after surgery.)

Insurance Coverage For Weight Loss Surgery

Health insurance providers (including Medicare and, in some states, Medicaid) are beginning to cover some or all of the costs of surgery for obesity if medical necessity is established by your doctor and if you meet the National Institutes of Health requirements.  Be aware that coverage will vary among insurance carriers.

  1. Most cases of chronic morbid obesity (especially with a body mass index (BMI) above 40) are covered if your doctor informs the insurance company that the surgery is medically necessary and provides appropriate documentation, including records of your doctor-supervised attempts to lose weight such as drug therapy and group therapy.

  2. Insurance coverage is also more likely if your doctor demonstrates that you suffer comorbidities such as diabetes or heart disease.

  3. Your doctor can help you put together a strong case that will improve your chances of weight loss surgery insurance coverage.  

  4. If the initial attempt to authorize coverage is denied, you can appeal the decision. (You should initiate your appeal immediately.)

  5. Aftercare (post-surgery) insurance reimbursements for a dietician, psychologist, exercise program and nutritional supplements such as vitamin B12 injections may be minimal, if it is covered at all.
  1. tend to be more skilled;

  2. have performed more surgeries; and

  3. have a better record of successful results.

Costs Related To Weight Loss Surgery

Because bariatric surgery is a complex procedure, with more than one method of surgery, many variables and recovery issues, the costs related to these types of surgery can escalate quickly.

  1. Surgery fees are typically higher in urban areas, such as Boston, New York, and other Eastern seaboard cities.

  2. Overhead is higher in these areas, and surgeons are in greater demand in more densely populated areas.

  3. The highest cost region is in the northeast United States, followed by the West Coast, then the central and southern states.

  4. As with any profession, the best surgeons in every region of the U.S. typically demand (and receive) higher fees for their services.   In general, these top surgeons

  1. As for costs related to follow-up plastic surgery that may be required, the more skin and fat that needs to be removed, the longer the time in surgery is required and the higher the cost will be. 
  1. are more highly skilled in these surgical procedures

  2. have more specialized training and experience

  3. have performed more surgeries of this type

  4. usually have the best record of successful results

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Weight Loss Surgery

The content on AsYouAge.com is provided as a courtesy for our site visitors. The information, resources, links, advertisements and other material on AsYouAge does not constitute a professional opinion or advice; nor does it constitute an endorsement of any organization or the information, products and/or services they may offer.

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