What Is Bariatric Surgery?


Quick Answer

Bariatric surgeries are medical procedures done to help lose weight. The surgery is usually done in extremely obese people where exercise and diet have failed. It reduces complications of excess weight, such as hypertension, diabetes, GERD, apnea and infertility. According to Dr. Mandal of News Medical, bariatric surgery lowers the mortality rate of severely obese patients, especially when used in combination with healthy eating and lifestyle changes after surgery.

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Full Answer

The idea behind bariatric surgery is to reduce food intake and decrease its absorption, states Dr. Mandal. Body mass index, or BMI, measurement is important before surgery to determine the level of obesity in order to qualify for the surgery. According to Mayo Clinic, a BMI of 40 or higher qualifies. A BMI of 35 to 39.9 coupled with a serious and related health issue also qualifies.

Bariatric surgery is an invasive procedure that is either restrictive, malabsorptive or both. According to WebMD, there are two types of restrictive surgery. In gastric binding a band is placed at the top of the stomach. In vertical sleeve gastrectomy 75 percent of the stomach is removed.

There are also two types of malabsorptive surgery. In a gastric bypass a pouch emptying directly into the small intestines is created. In a biliopancreatic bypass a part of the stomach is removed with a duodenal switch. Gastric bypass surgery is preferable due to its lower risk of complication, according to Mayo Clinic.

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