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Types of Bariatric Services

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What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery is a procedure that reduces the size of the stomach. There are three commonly performed types of bariatric surgeries: gastric sleeve, gastric bypass and adjustable gastric banding. Patients must discuss each type thoroughly with their surgeon to decide which procedure is best for them.

Holy Name Medical Center's bariatric surgeons perform all procedures robotically, a patient-focused method that results in less pain and shorter recovery time. Patients spend less time in the hospital, often going home the same day as the procedure, and require much less pain therapy – many times only needing over-the-counter medications. The intricate instruments used in robotic procedures allow the surgeons to navigate through hard-to-reach areas without putting undue stress on the abdomen. Holy Name is one of the few hospitals in the region that does bariatric surgeries robotically.

Bariatric Surgery Types:

Gastric Sleeve or Sleeve Gastrectomy

The Gastric Sleeve is currently the most popular type of bariatric surgery. It involves removing about 80 percent of the stomach and leaving a narrow "sleeve-like" section about the size and shape of a small banana.

The new small stomach holds about 4 – 5 ounces of food at one time. This reduces food consumption and restricts caloric intake, which results in weight loss. The digestion and absorption of food and nutrients is not affected.

Most importantly, the gastric sleeve offers a metabolic advantage. By removing 80 percent of the stomach, the production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, is significantly reduced. This results in less hunger for the patient, enabling better food choices and a healthier lifestyle.

This procedure is usually performed as a one-night stay surgery and most patients are able to return home the next day. They typically sit up soon after the surgery and report little pain. This procedure is not reversible.

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass, also known as Roux-en-Y, has been practiced since the 1960's but gained popularity once it could be done minimally invasively, either laparoscopically or robotically. Surgeons divide the stomach into two parts, one a small pouch about the size of an egg, and the other, a larger remnant section.

The pouch, which can hold only a tiny amount of food, becomes the new stomach and is connected directly to the lower small intestine. Food doesn't pass through the remnant part so many calories are not absorbed, a condition called malabsorption. The remnant stomach and intestine still transport enzymes and digestive juices to the intestines to help with the digestion of food.

This procedure requires the patient to take daily supplemental vitamins. It is reversible.

Lap-Band Adjustable Gastric Banding

The Lap-Band is the most simple of the bariatric surgeries and doesn't interfere with normal digestion. It limits the amount of food a person can eat to about half a cup at one time.

A band is wrapped around the stomach, dividing the organ and squeezing it into an hourglass shape. The two parts of the stomach remain connected through a narrowing created by the band.

Food lingers in the small upper part of the stomach, allowing digestion to occur slowly as food passes to the larger part of the stomach. The person feels full faster, stays satisfied longer and experiences gradual weight loss.

This type of bariatric surgery requires consistent medical follow-up. The band, which has a balloon inside, is periodically tightened – making the sections of the stomach smaller – by injecting saline through a small port implanted beneath the skin. (The port isn't visible.) This restricts the amount of food that can be consumed at one time and lessens caloric intake.

Adjustments to the band are customized for each patient and made in the physician's office in the months following the procedure. This procedure is reversible.