The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Health & Fitness

September 24, 2012

Speaking of Health: Obesity and Weight-Loss Surgery


Lifestyle modifications also need to occur, such as smoking cessation and diet changes. After a few months, the bariatric team reviews the patient’s progress and determines if the patient is ready for weight-loss surgery.

Q: What are the various types of weight-loss surgery?

A: The three most common types of bariatric surgery are gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and laparoscopic banding. The principle behind all three surgeries is the same – limiting the amount of food a person can eat and/or decreasing the amount of calories the body is able to absorb.

Gastric bypass involves significantly reducing the size of the stomach into a small pouch that is then connected to the small intestine.

Gastric sleeve is a surgical removal of one side of the stomach, leaving a much smaller stomach, about the size and shape of a banana.

Laparoscopic banding is the surgical installation of an inflatable band around the opening of the stomach, restricting the amount of food a person can consume. The band is adjustable through a port that is placed in the abdomen. The banding procedure is reversible.

Q: How effective is weight-loss surgery?

A: It’s important to remember that surgery is not a quick fix and takes a serious commitment from the patient. With healthy eating and consistent exercise, patients can lose as much as 70 percent of their excess body weight. However, the degree of weight loss – and the maintenance of that weight loss – is not guaranteed. It is critical to maintain healthy lifestyle changes long after the procedure.

Megan Gilmore, M.D., is a Mayo Clinic Health System bariatric surgeon.

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Health & Fitness coverage is supported by Mayo Clinic Health System, preserving the health and well-being of southern Minnesota communities.



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