Weight loss surgery is meant to help the millions of Americans who have trouble losing weight by way of diet and exercise alone. Obesity is a growing epidemic with two in five adults being diagnosed with the disease around the country. When you become obese, a hormonal imbalance and slowed metabolism make eating healthily and diligent workouts less effective. This means losing weight the traditional way is that much harder. Weight loss surgery is like flipping a switch, changing things all around. The weight tends to come off quickly after popular techniques like gastric sleeve surgery. But how much weight can you truly lose? You’re about to find out.
In this post, we are going to cover the most popular weight loss surgeries, how these procedures help you lose weight, who is a viable candidate for these operations, and how much weight you can lose by undergoing a bariatric procedure. By the end of this article, you will be a well-informed consumer. You may even decide that weight loss surgery is right for you.
Is Weight Loss Surgery a Cosmetic Surgery?
While it is true that many people seek out bariatric (weight loss) surgery because they want to look better, weight loss procedures are not considered cosmetic surgeries. Instead, bariatric surgeries are medical procedures. The true purpose of weight loss operations is to make you healthier.
When an individual becomes overweight to the point of obesity, the person becomes more susceptible to a wide range of ailments. These are known as obesity-comorbidities and include diseases like type 2 diabetes and cancer but also obstructive sleep apnea and high blood pressure. The organs are forced to work harder, and the bones and joints are placed under immense pressure. Being obese makes it more difficult to exercise and your hunger hormones may be out of whack, which keeps you from adhering to a healthy diet.
Are Diet and Exercise Effective?
Even if you do manage to diet and exercise while obese, you may not lose weight as you expect. Weight loss is more difficult for obese individuals because their metabolism slows down. You would have to exercise with greater intensity than an individual of normal weight to lose weight as a normal person would. Hormonal changes in the body also wreak havoc on blood sugar and cravings, making weight loss all the more difficult than it should be.
When an obese individual undergoes weight loss surgery, the metabolism and blood sugar become more regulated. Cravings and hunger are also diminished. You end up eating less, which helps the weight fall off quickly. In fact, most bariatric surgery patients end up losing the majority of their excess weight within the first six months to two years.
You may be wondering, then, why weight loss surgery is being discussed in a blog post for a cosmetic surgeon. As you will learn by the end of this post, Doctor Moeinolmolki is the only surgeon in Southern California who is board certified in both bariatric surgery and post-bariatric body contouring. That means Doctor Moeinolmolki can help you lose weight and attain more attractive contours after the weight has come off.
Popular Weight Loss Surgeries
At Moein Surgical Arts, Doctor Moein offers several weight loss procedures, including gastric sleeve surgery and the non-surgical gastric balloon.
Read our article: Weight Loss Procedures are Safe and Effective – All You Need to Know
Laparoscopic Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery is reserved for patients who are severely overweight. The bariatric procedure is recommended for those with a BMI of 40 or more. Those with a BMI of 35 and over can also be considered if one or more obesity comorbidities are present. Generally speaking, the surgery is aimed at those who are around 100 pounds or more overweight.
Another term for this popular procedure is laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG). The operation is performed under general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep for the duration.
During the procedure, the bariatric surgeon makes five tiny incisions along the belly area. The surgery is performed using a thin, elongated telescope with a tiny camera attached at the end. The camera will be inserted through one incision. The remaining incisions function as entry points for other surgical instruments. Using the tools, the surgeon removes about 80% of the stomach. The surgeon does this by viewing the internal structure of your abdomen on a monitor positioned nearby in the operating room.
Only the portion of the stomach that curves outward is removed, which is known as the fundus. After the fundus is taken out, the surgeon closes the rest of the stomach into a tube that resembles a banana. This banana-shaped “sleeve” is where the gastric sleeve or sleeve gastrectomy gets its name.
Since the stomach is now smaller, you end up eating less after the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. You will also fill up quickly while eating. The fundus also secretes a hormone called ghrelin, which is partly responsible for making you feel hungry. With the fundus removed, the feeling of hunger is diminished. With these three mechanisms at work – eating less, feeling fuller faster, and feeling less hungry overall – the weight falls off quickly following LSG surgery.
Laparoscopic sleeve surgery takes two hours to complete. Most people stay in the hospital for two days to recover before being cleared to return home.
Non-Surgical Gastric Balloon
Doctor Moein offers three types of gastric balloons. These include Obalon, Reshape, and Orbera.
The Obalon weight loss system combines diet and behavioral modification to help adults aged 22 and older lose weight. Gastric balloons help people drop excess pounds in a similar fashion as LSG surgery, by way of restriction. Instead of making the stomach smaller, the gastric balloon fills some of the stomach, leaving less room for food.
The Obalon system is inserted into the stomach by way of a capsule you swallow. Just like taking any other type of pill, you swallow the capsule with a glass of water. The bariatric surgeon then uses a thin tube to inflate the balloon with nitrogen gas once the system is in place. Once inflated, the balloon becomes the size of a small orange.
An X-ray is taken to determine proper placement and to ensure the balloon is inflated to the proper degree. There is no anesthesia required and you will be cleared to go home immediately after the balloon is placed and filled.
During the course of treatment, you can have as many as three Obalon balloons introduced. Each balloon is placed two weeks apart. All the balloons will then be removed in six months.
Obalon works by taking up space in the stomach, causing you to eat less and feel fuller during meals. The weight loss system is designed to make it easier to reduce your food intake, thus making weight loss easier when combined with nutritious eating and a regular fitness program.
Reshape is another non-surgical weight loss system that is proven to help people afflicted with obesity achieve and maintain significant weight loss. The system is suitable for those with a lower BMI between 30 and 40. This makes Reshape ideal for those who want to lose weight but otherwise do not qualify for weight loss surgery.
The Reshape system consists of two connected balloons. The balloons are placed temporarily inside your stomach before they are filled with saline (salt water). The placement of the balloons takes around 20 minutes and uses light anesthesia to make you more comfortable.
Reshape is placed using an endoscope. Once the balloons are inflated, the endoscope is removed. The balloons will remain in place for six months.
Once filled with saline, Reshape gastric balloons help you lose weight by encouraging healthy eating habits. They take up room in your stomach, leaving less room for food. You can still eat the healthy foods you enjoy, but the balloons help with portion control, helping you feel less hungry and fuller faster during meals.
Orbera is the third gastric balloon procedure offered by Doctor Moein that has been proven to help patients lose 3.1 times more weight than diet and exercise alone. The balloon is placed in your stomach using an endoscope, similar to Reshape. The balloon is then filled with saline until it reaches the size of a grapefruit. The process takes 20 to 30 minutes, and you can return home the same day. After six months, the balloon is emptied and removed.
How Much Weight Can You Lose with Weight Loss Surgery?
Now to the nitty gritty. You now know more about the gastric sleeve and non-surgical gastric balloon, but how much weight can you lose with these procedures?
Weight loss following laparoscopic gastric sleeve varies from person to person. Bariatric surgery typically results in a loss of 50% to 70% of your excess weight. If you are currently 100 pounds overweight, that amounts to a loss of 50 to 70 pounds. Visit your local gym and try to heft 50 to 70 pounds. Now imagine carrying that weight around with you all the time. With LSG surgery, you can put that weight down for good. Imagine how much better you will look and feel!
After undergoing gastric sleeve surgery, you will begin losing weight right away. Your bariatric surgeon will put you on a post-operative diet, which consists of a liquid diet at first before solid, more nutritious foods are gradually added over time. You’ll be back to eating healthy, normal foods, in a matter of weeks.
Your bariatric surgeon and medical team will work with you to ensure you lose weight and keep it off long-term.
Gastric Balloon Results
With the non-surgical gastric balloon system, you stand to lose between 7% to 15% of your body weight during the six-month placement period. The total excess weight loss ranges from 30% to around 50%, which amounts to 30 to 50 pounds for individuals who are 100 pounds overweight.
Since the intragastric balloon system is temporary, you can choose to undergo an additional period of placement or you can transition to a permanent weight loss procedure such as LSG surgery, depending on your weight loss goals. The gastric balloon system is aimed at teaching how to restrict your eating. If those lessons take, you may be able to keep the weight off without an additional procedure, but everyone is different.
In addition to the amazing ability to lose weight with LSG surgery and the non-surgical gastric balloon, you also stand to experience an improvement or resolution of obesity-comorbidities, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heart disease, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, osteoarthritis (joint pain), type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Is One of These Weight Loss Procedures Right for You?
If you are currently overweight or obese and the traditional means of weight loss are not working for you, LSG surgery or the non-surgical gastric balloon may be ideal for your situation. Since laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery is minimally invasive, you have less of a chance of complications when compared to other “open” surgeries. The gastric balloon, by being non-surgical, is less risky than bariatric surgery. But all procedures have risks. You can discuss the benefits, risks, and fees involved with these procedures, as well as information regarding insurance, medical financing, and the results you can achieve by scheduling a consultation with Doctor Moein.
Doctor Moein is the only surgeon in Southern California that is board certified in bariatric surgery and post-bariatric body contouring. That means you can undergo weight loss surgery and body contouring after the weight has come off by the same surgeon, under one roof, saving you time and money.