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Frequently Asked Questions

What is bariatric surgery?
Why choose bariatric surgery?
What are some of the health consequences of being overweight?
Why work with a therapist?
What does this treatment entail?

Q: What is bariatric surgery?
A: There are two basic types of bariatric surgery: restrictive, and restrictive plus malasbsorptive. Restrictive surgeries limit the volume of food you can take in by creating a smaller stomach pouch and slowing the exit of food from the stomach. Surgeries that are also malabsorptive do the same, but also change the way food is absorbed, and the rapidity of absorption in the stomach and small intestine. This is usually done by removing or rerouting a section of the small intestine.

Some surgeries lead to more rapid weight loss and more complications. Some procedures are "open," meaning that they require a larger incision into the abdomen; some can be laparoscopically performed, meaning the surgeon (at some centers assisted by a robot) operates via a small camera that goes through a smaller incision; and some surgeries can be performed either way. The surgeries that are the best studied, most accepted, and most commonly performed are the Laparoscopic Adjustable Silicone Gastric Banding (LASGB) and the Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB).

Q: Why choose bariatric surgery?
A: If your body mass index, or BMI, is over 40, or over 35 with other significant problems affecting your health and quality of life, bariatric surgery may be the best weight loss method for you. In the few studies that have examined weight loss surgery and compared it to traditional weight loss methods, bariatric surgery seems to result in greater weight loss over time in patients who are extremely overweight, rather than those just moderately so.

Q: What are some of the health consequences of being overweight?
A: Being overweight can affect almost every organ in your body. Below are the major types of conditions that can be caused or worsened by being overweight:

  • Cardiac (eg. Hypertension, Congestive Heart Failure)
  • Endocrine (eg. Diabetes Type II)
  • Pulmonary (eg. Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Asthma)
  • Gastrointestinal (eg. Heartburn, Gallstones)
  • Orthopedic (eg. Knee, Back, and Hip disease)
  • Skin & Blood Vessels (eg. Varicose veins, skin infections)
  • Cancer (especially Prostate, Colon, Breast, and Uterine)

Q: Why work with a therapist?
A: While the surgery will leave you in essence with a "smaller stomach" that will alter the way you view food and the way your body handles it (e.g., feeling full faster, eliminating food more quickly, and possibly craving certain more healthy foods), it will ultimately be up to you to make the long-term surgical outcome"radical weight loss and weight loss maintenance"a successful one. What this will entail from you is a deep commitment to permanently altering aspects of your lifestyle that contributed to your becoming obese in the first place. Throughout your sessions with your therapist, you will learn the skills that are required to adapt to the lifestyle and dietary changes that are necessary in order for you to sustain your weight loss after surgery.

Q: What does this treatment entail?
A: The treatment program is based on cognitive behavioral techniques that when used in conjunction with your therapy sessions will help you to develop a more thorough understanding of all aspects of your past and current problems with food and your weight. It will also help you to establish a regular pattern of eating, teach you about self-care and how to replace your negative eating habits with other, more pleasurable activities, and help you assume a lifestyle consistent with long-term weight loss maintenance. You will learn problem-solving skills and ways to change your negative thoughts about food, eating, your body, and yourself. The workbook includes many homework exercises, journal pages, and handy food records and checklists that will help you track your progress.

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Is Weight Loss Surgery Right for You?