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Bariatric Surgery

The toll of being morbidly obese is great. Having a body mass index – BMI – greater than 30 increases the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack as well as kidney and liver disease. In the United States alone, obesity is responsible for an estimated 30,000 premature deaths each year.

If you are considering weight loss, or bariatric, surgery to improve your health, St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center – an American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Program of Excellence – has a dedicated team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, dieticians and other health care professionals devoted to guiding you through the process. Dr. Graber, medical director, who leads the surgical team at St. Joseph’s, has performed close to 4,000 bariatric surgical procedures. 

ASMBS, administered by the Surgical Review Corp., advances the safety, efficacy and efficiency of bariatric and metabolic surgical care. It also recognizes surgeons and facilities that demonstrate an unparalleled commitment and ability to consistently deliver safe, effective, evidence-based care. The program is structured to continuously improve care quality and patient safety.

To read more about our Bariatric Center of Excellence, click here.

View our bariatric surgeons.

Surgical bariatric procedures promote weight loss by helping patients feel full with very small amounts of food. It is important to think of your surgery as a tool to be combined with diet, exercise, vitamin / mineral supplementation as advised, support from family and friends and regular visits with our bariatric team.

Relevant Terms

Body Max Index (BMI)
A measure of body weight, relative to height. BMI can be used to determine if people are a healthy weight, overweight, obese, severely obese or morbidly obese. Typically, a BMI of 40 or greater would classify you as a candidate for a bariatric procedure.

Malabsorptive
Malabsorptive procedures cause food to be incompletely absorbed. The malabsorptive procedures have unpleasant side effects, including lasting diarrhea, which have made them much less popular.

Restrictive
Restrictive procedures promote weight loss by helping patients feel full with very small amounts of food. These are the most popular procedures.   

Procedures

Your surgeon will be able to discuss with you the varying types of options available to you, including

Gastric Bypass (Roux-en-y)
This operation is the most commonly performed restrictive procedure. First, a small stomach pouch is created. A section of the small intestine is attached to the pouch to allow food to enter the intestine, which is where absorption of the food happens.  Because a part of the intestine is bypassed, the operation slightly reduces the body’s capability to absorb some nutrients, but calories are absorbed almost normally. This surgical procedure causes significant weight loss, and in turn, often cures obesity related illnesses such as diabetes, sleep apnea, and hypertension.

Adjustable Gastric Band
With an adjustable gastric band surgery, a silicone band is placed around the upper part of the stomach, creating a small pouch above it. The band has an inflatable inner surface, which must be tight enough to restrict the size of the stomach and occasionally requires adjustments. The adjustments, or "fills," are made through a port that is connected to the band just under the skin in the abdominal wall. The adjustments are usually done in the surgeon’s office, where saline is added to the band to make it fit tighter. If it needs to be less tight, then saline can be removed. The band is not filled initially after surgery; the first adjustment is usually made about six weeks after your surgery. Further adjustments will be determined based on your weight loss and other factors as observed by your surgeon.

Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy
With the gastric sleeve surgery, most of the stomach is removed, leaving just a thin "tube" of stomach to hold the food eaten at a meal. The tube-shaped stomach is sealed closed with staples. The tube functions just like a pouch, where it allows patients to feel extremely satisfied with a small amount of food. As such, patients eat less than before surgery and lose weight.

Resources

Understanding morbid obesity and body mass index calculator
Dr. Graber's Practice Website 
St. Joseph's free community programs 
St. Joseph's Bariatric Surgery Support Group 
St. Joseph's Sleep Apnea Program provided by our Sleep Laboratory Services
St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center
Resource Line
Phone: (315) 703-2138
Toll Free: 1-888-785-6371