You may be a candidate for weight loss surgery if:
- You’re an obese adult, especially if you have a weight-related condition, such as type 2 diabetes.
- You know the risks and benefits.
- You’re ready to adjust how you eat after the surgery.
- You’re committed to making lifestyle changes to keep the weight off.
Teens usually don’t get weight loss surgery unless they’re extremely obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35, and with a weight-related condition.
If you’re thinking about it, talk to your doctor about whether it’s a good option for you.
Types of Weight Loss Surgery
When you get weight loss surgery, your surgeon makes changes to your stomach or small intestine, or both. Here are the four methods surgeons typically use:
Gastric Bypass: Your doctor may call this “Roux-en-Y” gastric bypass, or RYGB. The surgeon leaves only a very small part of the stomach (called the pouch). That pouch can’t hold a lot of food, so you eat less. The food you eat bypasses the rest of the stomach, going straight from the pouch to your small intestine. This surgery can often be done through several small incisions using a camera to see inside (laparoscope). Doctors can also perform a mini-gastric bypass, which is a similar procedure also done through a laparoscope.
Adjustable Gastric Band: The surgeon puts a small band around the top of your stomach. The band has a small balloon inside it that controls how tight or loose the band is. The band limits how much food can go into your stomach. This surgery is done using a laparoscope.
Gastric Sleeve: This surgery removes most of the stomach and leaves only a narrow section of the upper part of the stomach, called a gastric sleeve. The surgery may also curb the hunger hormone ghrelin, so you eat less.
Duodenal Switch: This is complicated surgery that removes most of the stomach and uses a gastric sleeve to bypass most of your small intestine. It limits how much you can eat. It also means your body doesn’t get as much of a chance to absorb nutrients from your food, which could mean you don’t get enough of the vitamins and minerals you need.
Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery
After weight loss surgery, most people lose weight for 18-24 months. At that point, many people start to regain some of their lost weight, but few regain it all.
If you had any medical conditions related to obesity, those usually improve after weight loss surgery. Some conditions, such as diabetes, can improve quickly. Others, such as high blood pressure, may take a little longer.
Risks and Side Effects
The most common side effects include nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, excessive sweating, increased gas, and dizziness.
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