What is Bariatric Surgery 

Bariatrics is a medical branch that studies and handles the causes, prevention, and treatment of obesity. Bariatric surgery is a procedure make changes to the digestive system to cause weight loss. The altered digestive system helps manage weight and fight obesity.

Our bariatric surgeons offer the following surgical options:

Is Weight Loss Surgery Right for Me?

Weight loss surgery requires a lifelong commitment. That is why you should make the decision after careful consideration of the risks and benefits and fully understand the lifestyle changes required after surgery. Weight loss surgery is only one tool.

What is Severe Obesity?

Answering that question may help you decide whether to pursue weight loss surgery. You are likely morbidly obese if you are:

  • More than 100 pounds over your ideal body weight; or
  • Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40; or
  • Have a BMI of over 35 and are experiencing severe negative health effects, such as high blood pressure or diabetes

What to Expect Before a Surgical Weight Loss Procedure

Our bariatric surgeons are here to help you decide which surgery is best for you and your needs. 

We perform an in-depth nutrition, fitness and psychological evaluation of every patient in our clinics. This introduction allows us to get to know you as an individual and better understand your weight issues and medical background. It also helps us design a personalized treatment plan for your weight loss surgery and recovery.

Patients will learn and implement appropriate dietary and fitness changes required for weight loss and long-term weight maintenance. These changes are critical for success after surgery.

Post-Bariatric Surgery: Recovery

Laparoscopic Surgery Means Faster Recovery

In most cases, our patients undergo laparoscopic - or robotic - procedures, not open surgery. This technique allows bariatric surgeons to work with tiny instruments and cameras inserted through small abdominal incisions.

Benefits include:

  • Less pain after surgery
  • Easier breathing and lung function and higher oxygen levels after surgery
  • Fewer wound complications, such as infection or hernia
  • Faster recovery and return to pre-surgery activity levels

Some patients may not be candidates for laparoscopic surgery, either due to body restrictions or for health reasons. Our bariatric surgeons are highly experienced in open surgery as well.

How Long Does Recovery Take?

The length of recovery varies based on the procedure that was performed. Laparoscopic typically heals much faster than open surgery. One can expect 1-2 days in the hospital post-surgery and should return to regular activity in 3-5 weeks. 

What to Expect

After bariatric surgery, patients may be limited to a liquid diet before they return to small, frequent meals. When weight loss starts to occur varies on the type of bariatric surgery that was performed. On average, people can lose 40-60% of their excess weight in 12-18 months. Medical conditions, like diabetes, start to improve early on after surgery.  

Possible Side Effects or Complications

Side effects or complications are possible with bariatric procedures. They can be short-term or long-term. Some include but are not limited to: 

  • Constipation/diarrhea
  • Leaks
  • Infection
  • Ulcers/strictures
  • Dumping syndrome
  • Nausea
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

Life After Surgery

Weight loss surgery is not a solution all by itself. Patients must play an active role in their recovery and make important lifestyle changes to meet their weight loss goals.

After weight loss surgery, patients achieve the greatest results when they closely follow bariatric eating and fitness guidelines from their surgeon, nutritionist and exercise physiologist. Our multidisciplinary team designs a follow-up care program that will work best for you. This team will become part of a lifelong support system to help you lose weight and stay healthy through a well-designed and personalized bariatric diet and fitness plan.

Bariatric Surgery Revision

The surgeons at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist perform bariatric surgery revisions for patients, who have experienced problems from their initial procedure.