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Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery, also called weight loss surgery, helps severely obese people lose weight.

In doing so, it also helps prevent or improve obesity-related conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

During a bariatric procedure, a surgeon removes or blocks off part of your stomach. This leaves you feeling fuller sooner and reduces your desire to eat.

Some types of bariatric surgery also limit your body’s absorption of calories from food. 

Am I a good candidate for bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery is an effective way to lose weight and reduce the risk of obesity-related health problems. It might be a good choice for you if these statements are true:

  • You are morbidly obese. This means you have a BMI, or body mass index, of at least 40, or a BMI of at least 35 plus an obesity-related disease such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Determine your BMI.
  • You have tried to lose weight using other methods and they have not worked.
  • You are committed to making the changes necessary for long-term success. Surgery is only the beginning of the weight-loss journey. To lose weight and keep it off — which most bariatric surgery patients are able to do — you will have to commit to making healthy choices.

Types of bariatric surgery

Surgeons at Rush will work with you to determine which type of surgery makes the most sense based on your goals, your age, your overall health and other factors.

They offer the full range of bariatric procedures:

  • Laparoscopic gastrectomy, during which the surgeon removes part of the stomach, leaving a small sleeve-shaped stomach tube that limits food intake.
  • Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB), during which the surgeon places an adjustable silicone band around the upper portion of the stomach to artificially limit its size.
  • Gastric bypass, during which the surgeon blocks off part of your stomach and attaches the remaining pouch directly to the small intestine. This means food bypasses parts of the intestine that usually absorb calories.
  • Duodenal switch, during which your surgeon combines laparoscopic gastrectomy and gastric bypass techniques (needed only rarely).
  • Revision surgery, during which your surgeon corrects problems that led to complications or weight gain after a previous bariatric procedure.

Benefits of bariatric surgery

  • Lasting weight loss: Bariatric surgery is a highly effective long-term treatment for morbid obesity. The majority of people who have bariatric surgery are able to lose their excess weight and keep it off, according to research measuring weight loss five years after surgery.
  • Reduced risk of disease: Losing weight lowers your risk of obesity-related diseases such as stroke, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. In some cases, it can even cure existing problems such as Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • Longer life: Research has shown that people who have bariatric surgery have a lower risk of dying from obesity-related conditions, compared to severely obese people who do not have bariatric surgery.
  • Improved quality of life: Losing weight after surgery can improve your self-esteem, sexual performance, mobility and mental health.

Why choose Rush for bariatric surgery

  • Care for the whole person: Surgery isn’t the only part of weight loss. That’s why Rush's Center for Weight Loss and Lifestyle Medicine that also includes a medical weight loss specialist, dietitians, psychologists and other experts who can help you prepare for and adjust to life after surgery.
  • Experienced surgeons: Surgeons at Rush have performed more than 2,000 bariatric procedures. Research suggests that experienced surgeons have better outcomes and lower complication rates.
  • Minimally invasive expertise: Surgeons at the Rush Center for Weight Loss and Lifestyle Medicine have all completed specialized training in minimally invasive surgical techniques. These techniques, which involve only small incisions, can lead to faster recovery and less pain after surgery. Bariatric surgeons at the center use minimally invasive techniques in almost all cases.
  • Expertise in body contouring surgery: Sometimes patients who have achieved their weight loss goals want additional surgery to remove excess skin and reshape underlying tissues. The team at Rush includes plastic surgeons with expertise in these procedures. 
  • Treatments backed by research: In addition to treating patients, bariatric surgeons at Rush have published multiple studies on bariatric surgical techniques, outcomes and quality of life.