Bariatric Surgery 101 Guide: Read This First
The complete patient’s guide to bariatric surgery. Learn more about surgical weight loss, and your options for success.
Bariatric surgery is a term used to describe a variety of different types of weight loss procedures. Not only can this help you to lose weight, but it also offers a multitude of benefits for your health.

Bariatric Surgery, otherwise known as weight loss surgery, is a surgical method for weight loss. Bariatric procedures are known to provide a more reliable and sustained excess weight loss (fat loss) than traditional diet and exercise and pharmacology. 

Background of Bariatrics

Severe obesity is a chronic condition that can be difficult to treat. For many people, bariatric surgery helps them by restricting the amount of food that they ingest. It can also make major changes to both their stomach and intestines. Oftentimes, obesity is due to an issue within the digestion tract, this causes the body to digest poorly and even make food move too fast in the body. This causes the individual to absorb extra calories, which prevents them from losing the most optimal amount of weight.

Types of Bariatric Procedures

There are two variations of bariatric surgery – restrictive and malabsorptive. Restrictive surgeries make the stomach’ capacity smaller. A section of the stomach is closed, removed, or with an implant is placed in the stomach, which limits the amount of food that it can hold. This helps make the patient feel full faster and leads to weight loss.

Malabsorptive surgery shortens the length of the small intestine, which is helpful for digestion. This limits the amount of food that is digested and/or absorbed, thereby reducing the caloric intake absorbed into the body.

These are the two broad classifications to bariatric procedures. But there are numerous weight loss procedures that patients are familiar with: gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, duodenal switch, gastric balloon, etc. Discover all the various bariatric surgery types.

Bariatric Candidacy

If one qualifies for bariatric surgery it will invariably depend on the surgery chosen and their insurer’s requirements. Generally, individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more and at least one co-morbidity (obesity-related medical condition) are eligible for surgery. A referral from one’s primary care physician should detail the reasons and health issues that can be resolved or improved upon with the help of weight loss surgery.

What is Bariatric Surgery? Bariatric Surgery is a Tool.

While yes weight loss does change how a patient’s body works, it is also a facet of the entire process. A positive lifestyle change accompany bariatrics is necessary for bariatric surgery to be truly successful. During one’s initial consultation with a weight loss surgeon, they will ask questions related to this commitment. Weight loss surgery alone is not the answer — a healthy diet and exercise combined with bariatrics will typically lead to long-term success.

Morbid Obesity Defined

Morbid obesity is a serious health condition that can interfere with basic functions from walking to breathing. Those who are morbidly obese are at a much greater risk of several diseases including, and not limited to: high blood pressure, sleep apnea, gallstones, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoarthritis and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Ultimately morbid obesity is diagnosed by determining a person’s body mass index (BMI). This is defined by a ratio of one’s height to their weight. An individual is considered morbidly obese if they are 100 pounds over their ideal weight, have a BMI of 40 or more or have a BMI of 35 or more and are experiencing obesity-related medical conditions known as co-morbidities.

Obesity is a serious disease with symptoms that build slowly over a period of time. This is a serious public health issue in America. Nearly 31 million U.S. adults are morbidly obese and may qualify for life-changing weight loss surgery.

While there is no known cure for morbid obesity, it is generally caused by genetics, unhealthy behaviors, eating habits and internal set points for one’s weight.

A set point is a term from researchers that there is a type of thermostat in the brain that makes people resistant to gain or lose weight. If someone is trying to override this point, they must take drastic actions in order to be successful as the body will resist by slowing the metabolism and cause them to gain weight back (Learn more about set point theory).

Bariatric Surgery: Surgical Weight Loss

Guide to Bariatric Surgery

Conditions Treated with Bariatrics

    • Type II Diabetes
    • Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure
    • Cancer
    • Depression
    • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • High Cholesterol
  • Acid Reflux/GERD
  • Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain
  • Stress Urinary Incontinence
  • Female Reproductive Health Disorder

Additional Benefits of Bariatric Surgery

    • Anxiety Reduced
    • Depression Reduced
    • Longevity Increased
  • Self-Esteem Increase
  • Unemployment Reduced
  • Overall Quality of Life
Unit Name Hours
Bariatric Journal - Patient's Guide