Bariatric or weight loss surgery is a subspecialty of general surgery that deals with the management of obesity-related diseases such as type II diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure/hypertension, acid reflux and sleep apnea, amongst other conditions. The name “weight loss surgery,” however, is somewhat misleading, as the primary goal of surgery is not to reduce weight; weight loss is simply a very desired side effect. Rather, when we perform bariatric surgery, it is to address metabolic syndrome – a suite of diseases that can lead to significant lifestyle consequences and eventually, early death.
Bariatric surgery has evolved significantly over the several decades of its existence. Today, bariatric surgery is a very safe procedure, with complication rates as low as those of a simple gallbladder removal. Progression in minimally invasive techniques, including robotically assisted surgery, have advanced our ability to provide these complex surgeries in an even safer manner. While for some surgery seems like a scary option, in many cases, for qualifying patients the benefits of weight loss surgery significantly outweigh the risks.
Decide if Bariatric Surgery is Right for You
We encourage you to take your time when evaluating bariatric surgery. The first step is viewing our online weight loss surgery seminar. This will give you an overview of your procedure options and our practice, VIPSurg. We ask that you watch seminar to prepare you for your first visit to our office, where you will want to ask lots of questions. After your first consultation in our office, you can always request to have a follow-up appointment with either one of our bariatric surgeons, Drs. Shawn Tsuda or Heidi Ryan should you still have additional questions before moving forward with surgery. While the choice to have bariatric surgery and further of which procedure to undergo may not be easy, you can rest assured that you are in good hands with some of the most experienced and highly skilled bariatric surgeons in Nevada.
Choosing a Weight Loss Surgery Procedure
Choosing a procedure, however, requires research and a frank discussion with your surgeon and medical team. First, of course, the discussion will center around whether bariatric surgery is right for you. This will be based on both your medical history, your body mass index, and your personal choice. Then, you and your surgeon can decide the best procedure for you.
- The gastric sleeve / sleeve gastrectomy is currently the most popular weight loss surgery in the United States, and for good reason. With excellent disease resolution and excess-body-weight-loss results, combined with a simple procedure, risks are minimized and benefits maximized. The stomach is cut down to 20% of its original size and the excess portion of stomach is removed from the abdomen. The procedure lasts about an hour, and excess body weight loss is typically over 70%.
- Gastric bypass was, for decades, the gold standard in bariatric surgery, offering the highest degree of excess body weight loss and disease resolution. This procedure combines both shrinking the size of the usable stomach pouch, as well as rerouting part of the small intestine. The combination allows for up to 80% excess body weight loss. This procedure is particularly suited for patients with uncontrolled, or poorly controlled, type II diabetes or acid reflux.
- The adjustable gastric band, known as the Lap-Band, was very popular in the past, but because of a higher, long-term postoperative complication rate, has fallen out of favor more recently. Select few patients may still benefit from a Lap-Band, which involves simply placing an inflatable band around the top of the stomach. It does not require any alteration of the gastrointestinal tract. If you previously had a gastric band placed and are hoping to have it removed, we also offer revisional surgery.