If you’re considering bariatric surgery, understanding the pros and cons of surgical weight loss can help make
your decision easier.
For many individuals who are struggling to lose weight and haven’t had success through diet, exercise or
medically assisted weight-loss programs, bariatric surgery may hold the key to reclaiming an active, healthy
lifestyle. Not only does bariatric surgery aid weight loss, but it also plays an important role in managing obesityrelated
diseases, including diabetes, sleep apnea and heart disease.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ Weight-Control Information
Network, you may be a candidate for weight-loss surgery if:
While the risks of severe surgical complications are low, most bariatric surgeries require alteration of the stomach
and intestines, so the decision to have surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly. To achieve benefits and avoid
complications, you will no longer be able to comfortably eat large meals, and you may need to follow a specific
diet or take vitamin supplements. For many, however, the benefits of surgery outweigh these potential
Learn more about the different types of bariatric surgery to determine which procedure might be right for you.
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is considered the gold standard for weight-loss surgery, with individuals
typically achieving 60 to 80 percent of their weight-loss goals. During this procedure, doctors surgically
alter both the size of the stomach and the route food travels during digestion, limiting the amount of food
you can eat at each meal and the calories and nutrients your body absorbs from food.
During an adjustable gastric banding procedure, doctors place a band around the upper portion of your
stomach to make it smaller, which helps you feel fuller faster, according to the National Institutes of
Health. Gastric banding is the least invasive weight-loss surgery, but individuals typically lose less weight.
During a vertical sleeve gastrectomy procedure, surgeons restrict food intake by removing
approximately 80 percent of your stomach.
Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch boasts the highest weight-loss results, but also has the
highest risk of complications, including vitamin deficiency. Following this procedure, the body absorbs 70
percent fewer fat molecules from food because food bypasses three-fourths of your small intestine and a
large portion of your small bowel during digestion, according to the American Society for Metabolic &
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