How to Choose the Best Weight Loss Surgery for You

Feb 15, 2023

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How to Choose the Best Weight Loss Surgery for You

Weight loss surgery is life-changing no matter which procedure you decide is best. And when it’s time to make a decision, Amir Mehran, MD, FACS, FASMBS, makes it as easy as possible.

At his practice, University Bariatrics, serving Thousand Oaks and Northridge, California, and the greater Los Angeles area, he specializes in two bariatric procedures proven to achieve remarkable results with the lowest risks.

He also takes time to talk with you, discussing the benefits and risks, answering your questions, and explaining what to expect before, during, and after weight loss surgery.

Let’s explore how you qualify for weight loss surgery and the differences between bariatric procedures.

Qualifying for weight loss surgery

Before you worry about the actual procedure, you must qualify for weight loss surgery. The good news is the guidelines recently changed, allowing more people to get the surgery they need to lose weight and improve their health.

The new guidelines lowered the body mass index (BMI) requirements. You can now qualify for weight loss surgery if you meet any of the following:

  • BMI of 35 or higher

  • BMI of 30 or higher with an obesity-related health condition (Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease)

  • BMI of 27 or higher for certain ethnic groups

  • Adolescent with severe obesity

After screening your BMI, we learn about your weight loss journey and your eating and exercise habits. We discuss the risks and benefits of the surgeries. If you decide to move forward, we help you schedule any tests needed to be sure you can safely undergo surgery.

Many insurance providers require you to follow a medically supervised weight loss program before surgery. We offer comprehensive care, including supporting you with a diet and exercise plan and monitoring your weight loss.

Choosing your weight loss procedure

We perform two types of weight loss surgery: sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass. Learning about their differences can help you decide the best one for you.

Procedure differences

During a sleeve gastrectomy, we remove about 80% of your stomach, eliminating the rounded side of the organ (where hunger-producing hormones are produced) and leaving a narrow tube. You digest food the same as before surgery. Despite the procedure’s name, there are no sleeves or foreign bodies placed anywhere.

The primary change is you feel incredibly full after eating a small amount of food.

During a gastric bypass, we don’t  remove most of your stomach but rather split it into two parts. We create a small pouch that receives food (so you feel full with little food). Then we bypass about ⅓  of your small intestine. This additional step adds to the potential risks of a more complex procedure. 

However, letting food bypass the small intestine means few calories are absorbed and the more hormonally active part is also bypassed i.e does not see food material.

Weight loss expectations

On average, people who undergo sleeve gastrectomy lose 50%-60% of their excess weight. Those who have a gastric bypass drop 60%-80%.

Both surgeries typically cause a rapid drop in weight in the first few months. Additionally, people with a higher BMI tend to lose more weight initially.

However, the amount of weight you lose in the long run doesn’t completely depend on the procedure. Continuing to lose weight after the first few months and maintaining the loss depend on sticking with a calorie-limited meal plan and getting regular exercise. 

With either procedure, you won’t lose the expected amount if you don’t follow a healthy lifestyle.

Improving Type 2 diabetes

Both surgeries have a dramatic impact on Type 2 diabetes, often improving your blood sugar within days or weeks after surgery. Amazingly, diabetes goes into remission for nearly 80% of patients having gastric bypass and 60% undergoing sleeve gastrectomy.

Long-term considerations

Since you significantly reduce how much you eat after both surgeries, you risk not getting essential nutrients. As a result, you need to take nutritional supplements for the rest of your life.

However, nutritional deficiencies are more of a concern after gastric bypass. Bypassing most of the small intestine means less food is absorbed. That’s great for reducing calories, but it also means you don’t get most of the nutrients in the food you eat.

Another difference between the surgeries is gastric bypass can cause abdominal cramping and diarrhea (dumping syndrome) if you eat foods high in sugar. Some people see that as a benefit because it motivates them to follow a healthy diet.

To learn more about your weight loss surgery options, call University Bariatrics or request an appointment online today.

University Bariatrics