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Bariatric
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Obesity, which is at epidemic proportions in the United States, is a significant risk factor for many conditions that shorten life, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, sleep apnea and diabetes. Bariatric surgery is an option to treat obesity and tackle these health problems for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher, although patients with a BMI between 30 to 35 can also be considered when they have been unable to achieve weight loss. 
 

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Gastric sleeve surgery, or vertical sleeve gastrectomy, is another option for those who are good candidates for bariatric surgery. This surgery also is referred to as gastric sleeve resection, sleeve gastrectomy, tube gastrectomy or laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.

During the gastric sleeve procedure, the surgeon narrows the stomach – normally about the size of a football – into a thin vertical sleeve, about the size and shape of a banana. The remainder of the stomach is removed. The gastric sleeve procedure results in the patient having a smaller stomach. Smaller amounts of food are eaten because the patient will feel less full on less food. Normal digestion and absorption of nutrients is not affected. The sleeve also has been shown to result in the secretion of fewer hunger hormones, resulting in less overall hunger.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery is the most common bariatric – or weight loss – procedure performed. After surgery, patients are unable to eat as much as they used to prior to the procedure because the stomach is now smaller. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia.

Using staples, the surgeon divides the stomach into a small upper section and a larger bottom section. Following surgery, the top section of the stomach, called the pouch, is where food eaten goes. This pouch is about the size of a walnut. It holds only about 1 ounce of food.

The next phase during gastric bypass surgery is the bypass. The surgeon connects a small part of the small intestine, also called the jejunum, to a small hole in the pouch. Food eaten will then travel from the pouch into this new opening in the small intestine, which results in the body absorbing fewer calories.

Gastric bypass can be performed in two ways. With open surgery, the surgeon will make a large surgical cut to open up the belly in order to have access to the stomach, small intestine, and other organs.

Another option, and the more common today, is for the surgeon to use minimally invasive techniques which require making four to six small cuts in the belly. The cuts make it possible for a tiny camera called a laparoscope to be inserted into the body along with thin surgical instruments for the surgeon to divide the stomach and perform the bypass.

Weight loss surgery may require that the patient have a tube inserted into the stomach via the mouth in order to remove fluid. Patients are not permitted to eat for one to three days following surgery. Once they can eat, fluids followed by pureed food are required before they can eat and digest solid food.
 

Nutritional Counseling

Saint Peter’s University Hospital offers one-on-one nutritional counseling for those who seek weight loss surgery. Attendance at a free bariatric seminar at Saint Peter’s University Hospital is required prior to scheduling an appointment for nutrition counseling with a registered nutritionist (dietician). The nutritionist will schedule your counseling appointment at the conclusion of the seminar.

To obtain a list of dates when the free Bariatric seminars will be offered at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, please call: 732-745-8600, extension 8159.

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