Bariatric weight loss surgery

When diet and exercise aren’t enough

If you have struggled to lose weight through diet and exercise, and are ready to end your frustration by finding a real solution that works, you might benefit from bariatric surgery. Novant Health UVA Health System weight loss services offers a wide variety of surgical options that help patients do much more than lose weight. Our bariatric specialists will assess your current health, as well as your health history, to determine if you are a candidate for bariatric surgery and, if so, which option is best for you.

Malabsorption procedures

Malabsorption procedures change the way your body digests food. Your board-certified bariatric surgeon creates a “bypass” around part of your small intestine, meaning your body absorbs fewer calories during the digestion process. These procedures are often done in conjunction with a restrictive procedure. Malabsorption procedures include:

Sleeve gastric bypass

A sleeve gastric bypass (SGB) procedure limits both the amount of food you can eat as well as how much food your body can absorb. Also called a mini-gastric bypass, this minimally invasive procedure divides the stomach into a long, narrow tube and a separate, larger section. The smaller section is reattached about 6 feet farther down the small intestine. The larger stomach section is sealed and left unattached.

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass

The most common type of gastric bypass procedure, a Roux-En-Y gastric bypass procedure limits the amount of food you can eat and how much food your body can absorb. The surgery reduces the size of the stomach and bypasses some of the small intestine. This prevents overeating by making you feel full faster, and allows less of the food you do eat to be absorbed by the body.

Restrictive procedures

Restrictive procedures limit the amount of food and drink your stomach holds. Your board-certified bariatric surgeon will create a stomach “pouch” that is much smaller than your original stomach. The reduced size means less food can enter, so you will feel full more quickly. Restrictive procedures include:

Lap adjustable gastric banding(AGB)

This procedure involves attaching an inflatable band around the top portion of the stomach and tightening it like a belt to form a small pouch that serves as a new, much smaller stomach. After the procedure, the diameter of the band around the stomach can be adjusted by a doctor by adding or removing saline (salt water). No staples are used in this procedure, which is relatively new in the United States Like other restrictive procedures, AGB may not achieve significant weight loss.

Vertical sleeve gastrectomy

More advanced than gastric band procedures done in years past, a sleeve gastrectomy limits the amount of food you can eat by reducing the size of your stomach by 85 percent. Your surgery will remove the remainder of the stomach. This surgery is performed laparoscopically and is permanent. "Sleeve" refers to the long, thin shape of the stomach after the procedure. This surgery is often combined with a malabsorption procedure to deliver the best weight loss results possible.

Benefits of weight loss surgery

Weight loss surgery affects much more than a number on the scale. Obesity is often linked to other health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, heart disease and even cancer. Losing weight can lower your risk of developing those conditions if you are not yet affected by them, and can lessen the symptoms or severity of conditions currently affecting your health.

Losing weight can also have a huge impact on your emotional well-being. After weight loss surgery, many patients are able to enjoy activities that have been off-limits for years. Most say they are more satisfied with their appearance and more confident presenting themselves to the world.

Our team of registered dietitians and nurse navigators will answer all of your questions about preparing for bariatric surgery, recovery time after weight loss surgery and whether your insurance policy will cover your weight loss procedure.

Is bariatric surgery right for you?

Candidates for bariatric surgery have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40, or a BMI between 35 and 40 with other obesity-related health problems such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • High cholesterol

The best weight loss surgery candidates are committed to making lifestyle changes after surgery to maintain weight loss through diet and exercise.