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Surgery Options - How Bariatric Surgery Works

There are two basic ways that bariatric surgery works to help patients lose weight and improve or resolve co-morbidities: One way is malabsorption and the other is restriction. The most common bariatric surgery performed today, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, uses both.

1. Restrictive procedures limit food intake:

Procedures that use restriction limit the amount of food patients can eat. This is accomplished surgically by creating a small stomach pouch. When eating, the pouch fills quickly and gives a feeling of fullness much sooner. Because patients feel satisfied and full sooner, they eat less.

2. Malabsorptive procedures alter digestion:

Procedures that use malabsorption change the body's ability to absorb calories and nutrients from food. The surgeon changes the way food travels through the patient's system. By rerouting food past a large part of the stomach and a portion of the small intestine, much of the calories and nutrients pass through without being absorbed.

Both methods work to help patients lose excess weight, lower their BMI, and transform their health by resolving or improving co-morbidities. Bariatric surgery has many benefits that can lead to a healthier, higher quality of life, but also has certain risks.