Q: What is bariatric surgery, and how does it work?
A: Bariatric surgery, also referred to as weight-loss surgery, is a type of surgery that helps individuals lose weight by making changes to the digestive system. These types of operations may involve making your stomach smaller, limiting the amount of food or drink you can consume at one time, so you feel full sooner. Other procedures involve changes to the small intestine, reducing the number of calories your body can absorb.
Q: Are there different types of bariatric surgery?
A: There are a number of different types of bariatric surgery, including Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy (gastric sleeve surgery). In gastric bypass surgery, the surgeon staples the upper section of your stomach, creating a small pouch. Your small intestine is then divided into two parts, and the lower part is attached directly to the small stomach pouch, while the upper part of the small intestine is reconnected farther down. In gastric sleeve surgery, a surgeon removes most of your stomach, leaving a banana-shaped section that reduces the amount of food that can fit in your stomach, making you feel full sooner.
Q: Which bariatric procedures do you offer at Rutgers Adolescent Obesity and Foregut Surgery Program?
A: We currently offer Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy.
Q: How do I know if I’m a candidate for bariatric surgery?
A: In general, guides recommend being evaluated for surgery by a multidisciplinary team with expertise in pediatrics if individuals have either a BMI of 40 or above; or if they have a BMI of 35 or more with serious obesity-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes or severe sleep apnea. However, other factors also play a role in determining whether bariatric surgery is the right option—for example, age, smoking habits, and any prior surgeries. You must have tried multiple other weight-loss methods in the past, and a psychological evaluation is also taken into consideration. You also must be totally committed to lifelong changes in dietary, exercise and medical routines, as well as surgical follow-up care. Our team will work with you to determine whether bariatric surgery is an appropriate option.
Q: Does my age prevent me from being considered for bariatric surgery?
A: Weight-loss surgery may be an option for adolescents and teens who have severe obesity and obesity-related health problems. We have performed bariatric surgery on patients of varying ages.
Q: Is bariatric surgery an easy solution for weight loss?
A: Bariatric surgery should not be considered a “quick fix” to weight problems. It is a lengthy transformation process that starts many months before surgery takes place and that requires a strong commitment to lifestyle changes that will need to be continued for life. It takes a lot of dedication, patience and work.
Q: Is bariatric surgery safe?
A: Bariatric surgery has been found to be a safe way to achieve weight loss; however, as with all surgical procedures, there are risks. You should be familiar with the risks associated with your specific bariatric procedure before signing consent for surgery.
Q: What are the side effects of bariatric surgery?
A: Side effects are varied and may include bleeding, infection, leaking from the site, diarrhea, and blood clots. Rarely, surgery-related problems can lead to death. Other side effects may occur later, including nutritional issues related to the body’s inability to absorb enough nutrients; strictures; hernias; and gallstones as a result of rapid weight loss.
Q: What if I’ve already had bariatric surgery? Are there other options?
A: Surgical options may be available if you’ve already had bariatric surgery and gained significant weight afterward. Not everyone is a good candidate for those procedures, however. Our surgeon can discuss these options with you to determine whether any would be good for you.