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 Bariatric Surgery Information

Bariatric Surgery Information

Bariatric surgery, also called weight loss surgery, is a procedure that helps you lose weight. You may consider, or your health care provider may suggest, bariatric surgery if:
  • You are severely obese and have been unable to lose weight through diet and exercise.
  • You have health problems related to obesity, such as:
    • Type 2 diabetes.
    • Heart disease.
    • Lung disease.

How does bariatric surgery help me lose weight?

Bariatric surgery helps you lose weight by:
  • Decreasing how much food your body absorbs. This is done by closing off part of your stomach to make it smaller. This restricts the amount of food your stomach can hold.
  • Changing your body's regular digestive process so that food bypasses the parts of your body that absorb calories and nutrients.

If you decide to have bariatric surgery, it is important to continue to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly after the surgery.

What are the different kinds of bariatric surgery?

There are two kinds of bariatric surgeries:
  • Restrictive surgery. This procedure makes your stomach smaller. It does not change your digestive process. The smaller the size of your new stomach, the less food you can eat. There are different types of restrictive surgeries.
  • Malabsorptive surgery. This procedure makes your stomach smaller and alters your digestive process so that your body processes less calories and nutrients. These are the most common kind of bariatric surgery. There are different types of malabsorptive surgeries.

What are the different types of restrictive surgery?

Adjustable Gastric Banding

In this procedure, an inflatable band is placed around your stomach near the upper end. This makes the passageway for food into the rest of your stomach much smaller. The band can be adjusted, making it tighter or looser, by filling it with salt solution. Your surgeon can adjust the band based on how you are feeling and how much weight you are losing. The band can be removed in the future. This requires another surgery.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

In this procedure, your stomach is made smaller. This is done by surgically removing a large part of your stomach. When your stomach is smaller, you feel full more quickly and reduce how much you eat.

What are the different types of malabsorptive surgery?

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RGB)

This is the most common weight loss surgery. In this procedure, a small stomach pouch (gastric pouch) is created in the upper part of your stomach. Next, this gastric pouch is attached directly to the middle part of your small intestine. The farther down your small intestine the new connection is made, the fewer calories and nutrients you will absorb. This surgery has the highest rate of complications.

Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS)

This is a multi-step procedure. First, a large part of your stomach is removed, making your stomach smaller. Next, this smaller stomach is attached to the lower part of your small intestine. Like the RGB surgery, you absorb fewer calories and nutrients the farther down your small intestine the attachment is made.

What are the risks of bariatric surgery?

As with any surgical procedure, each type of bariatric surgery has its own risks. These risks also depend on your age, your overall health, and any other medical conditions you may have. When deciding on bariatric surgery, it is very important to:
  • Talk to your health care provider and choose the surgery that is best for you.
  • Ask your health care provider about specific risks for the surgery you choose.

Generally, the risks of bariatric surgery include:
  • Infection.
  • Bleeding.
  • Not getting enough nutrients from food (nutritional deficiencies).
  • Failure of the device or procedure. This may require another surgery to correct the problem.

Where to find more information


  • Bariatric surgery, also called weight loss surgery, is a procedure that helps you lose weight.
  • This surgery may be recommended if you have diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease.
  • Generally, risks of bariatric surgery include infection, bleeding, and failure of the surgery or device, which may require another surgery to correct the problem.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.