Types of Surgery

Bariatric surgery is appropriate for patients who are 100 pounds or more overweight and for those patients who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 35 and 40. It is also advantageous for those who have life-threatening or disabling conditions related to their weight.

At Benefis Bariatric Institute we offer three types of weight-loss surgery:

Gastric Bypass

In a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, the stomach is made smaller by creating a small pouch at the top of the stomach. The smaller stomach is connected directly to the middle portion of the small intestine, bypassing the rest of the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine. This procedure can be done by making a large incision in the abdomen (called an ‘open procedure’) or by making a few small incisions and using small instruments and a camera to guide the surgery (laparoscopic surgery).

Adjustable Lap Banding

Adjustable lap banding is done laparoscopically, through several small incisions in the belly. The doctor will place small surgical tools and a camera through the incisions. The doctor will then wrap a device around the upper part of your stomach to form a ring. Attached to the ring is a thin tube leading to an access port that is left under the skin. The access port is the place where the doctor puts in a needle to add or take away saline. Adding saline tightens the band and makes the stomach smaller. The doctor can take away saline if the ring is too tight.

The adjustable lap band reduces the amount of food that your stomach can hold at one time. You will feel full faster and stay full longer, so you wind up eating less. This helps you gradually lose weight and keep it off.

Gastric Sleeve

Gastric sleeve surgery, or gastric sleeve resection, is one of the newer types of bariatric surgery. During this procedure a bariatric surgeon removes about 85 percent of the stomach so that it takes the shape of a tube or sleeve. Performed laparoscopically, the surgeon makes small incisions as opposed to one large incision. Once the surgery is completed, the tube-shaped stomach that is left is sealed closed with staples.

Gastric sleeve surgery may be appropriate for people who can't return as often for the follow-up visits required by gastric banding procedures such as the Lap Band procedure.

Making the Decision for Weight-Loss Surgery

As with any medical issue, it's best to talk with your doctor first. Let him know your desire to lose weight. He can then help you decide what surgery option would be best for you.

Do your research, and find out as much as possible. Take a look at ObesityHelp.com -- they offer resources for patients and those seeking weight loss solutions for the morbidly obese. They provide a comprehensive program of support and education as well as assistance in locating whatever resources it takes to overcome this life threatening condition. And they also have an active community that communicates online through their web site and through a regular program of conferences and workshops conducted around the country.

You don't have to go this journey alone. If you need more information on bariatric surgery, or Benefis Bariatric Institute, please call 406.455.2814 or 406.455.2840. We're here to help!