Weight Loss Surgery


As technology has advanced, laparoscopic techniques have become available for a wide range of surgical procedures, including most weight loss surgeries. Laparoscopic weight loss surgery provides accurate and effective results through minimally invasive techniques.

Traditional bariatric surgery, performed through large incisions in the abdomen, results in visible scarring, heavy bleeding and relatively long periods of recovery. While positive results may be obtained through traditional surgery, laparoscopic procedures have many advantages for both patients and doctors.

Candidates For Laparoscopic Weight Loss Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a last resort for weight loss and is never undertaken lightly. Patients are carefully screened to determine if they are good candidates for the procedure. Insurance will cover the procedure only if it is deemed medically necessary. Patient guidelines for the surgery must be met. These may include:

  • History of inability to lose weight with diet, exercise and medication
  • Body mass index, or BMI, of 40 or higher, indicating morbid obesity
  • Slightly lower BMI combined with a serious obesity-related health problem

In addition, candidates must be medically evaluated to see if using the laparoscopic technique is appropriate in a particular case. Candidates for bariatric surgery must be motivated to make permanent lifestyle changes since the surgery alone does not guarantee permanent weight loss.In the screening for patients for whom bariatric surgery is appropriate, physicians investigate the following:

  • Medical conditions
  • Nutrition and weight history
  • Psychological status
  • Personal motivation
  • Age

While laparoscopic bariatric surgery is usually advantageous, for a small number of patients it is not feasible. Certain pre-existing conditions may create complications. When these exist, the surgeon may decide to perform the bariatric surgery as an open abdominal procedure. The patient’s safety is always the surgeon’s first priority.

Benefits Of Laparoscopic Weight Loss Surgery

There are many advantages to the use of laparoscopic weight loss surgery for both the patient and the doctor.

Advantages For The Patient

Laparascopic weight loss surgery offers patients the following benefits:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Less scarring
  • Smaller risk of blood loss
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less risk of infection
  • Shorter recovery period

Most patients experience less pain and fewer side effects after laparoscopic surgery than with traditional open surgery.

Advantages For The Doctor

Laparoscopic weight loss surgery provides advantages to the surgeon as well. These benefits may include:

Improved Visualization

Not only is the surgeon afforded a 3-dimensional, magnified image of the operating field, but that image can be manipulated to visualize the procedure from various perspectives.

Range Of Motion

Robotic-assisted surgery also offers surgeons an increased range of motion and the ability to make more precise movements than would otherwise be possible. As an added benefit, robotic surgery enables the surgeon to remain seated while performing procedures, allowing for greater comfort and a decreased risk of fatigue.

Laparoscopic weight loss surgery is an effective procedure that is accomplished through minimally invasive surgical techniques.

The Laparoscopic Weight Loss Surgery Procedure

During laparoscopic weight loss surgery, the surgeon uses a long, thin tube with a miniature camera at the end to help in an accurate visualization of the surgical site. The camera and surgical instruments are inserted into the body through several tiny incisions that minimize scarring. These small incisions also decrease the amount of bleeding during surgery and reduce the risk of infection. While the number, size and location of the incisions may vary according to the specific bariatric procedure being performed, laparoscopic weight loss surgery is minimally invasive. Laparoscopic techniques may be used in most bariatric procedures, including gastric bypass, gastric banding and plication, and sleeve gastrectomy.

Risks Of Laparoscopic Weight Loss Surgery

There are always risks associated with any surgical procedure which may include excessive bleeding, post-surgical infections and damage to adjacent organs. Complications specific to laparoscopic weight loss surgery may include:

  • Development of an ulcer
  • Kidney stones
  • Osteoporosis
  • Anemia
  • Dehydration

In some cases, laparoscopic weight loss surgery may cause nutritional problems, as a result of the malabsorption of certain vitamins and minerals.

Recovery After Laparoscopic Weight Loss Surgery

Following surgery, most patients remain in the hospital for one or two days. Many patients are able to return to work after 2 weeks. Patients are usually able to manage at home without assistance if they follow the instructions and restrictions given by their doctor.

Results Of Laparoscopic Weight Loss Surgery

Patients can expect to be in much better health after bariatric surgery than they were before this intervention. In most cases, obesity-related illnesses improve after surgery. During a normal recovery, weight loss occurs rapidly during the first months and may continue for as long as 2 years. Patients who have gastric bypass can expect to lose 60 percent of their body weight. Patients who have banding can look forward to a loss of 45 percent of their body weight. After bariatric surgery, patients need to be prepared to adopt permanent lifestyle changes in order to reap the full benefits of the procedure.

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