Finding the "right" type of bariatric surgery can seem challenging, especially if you're not sure what each procedure involves.

Finding the Right Bariatric Surgery at Sentara Healthcare

Image Finding Right Bariatric Surgery Image Finding Right Bariatric Surgery Image Finding Right Bariatric Surgery

For many people, weight loss surgery can offer an effective weight loss solution when other approaches have failed. But finding the "right" type of bariatric surgery can seem challenging, especially if you're not sure what each procedure involves.

At Sentara, bariatric surgeons take the time to thoroughly explain the types of surgery we offer. We provide the safest and most effective weight loss surgery options, including gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy. By learning more about our surgeries beforehand, you can come to your evaluation feeling prepared.

Bariatric surgery options at Sentara

In the United States, gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy are two of the most common bariatric surgeries to help people lose weight and keep the pounds off. Each surgery limits the amount of food your stomach can hold. The techniques used to perform each surgery vary, but we always use the most minimally invasive methods possible. As with any surgical procedure, there are advantages and disadvantages to each type of weight loss surgery.

Gastric bypass

Also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, this type of weight loss surgery has long been considered the "gold standard" of bariatric surgeries. For more than 60 years, doctors have helped patients lose significant amounts of weight with this procedure. It can lead to faster weight loss than other approaches.

During gastric bypass, your surgeon creates a small pouch by separating the top portion of your stomach from the rest of the organ. Surgeons then divide part of your small intestine, attaching it directly to the new stomach pouch.

This procedure "bypasses" portions of your stomach and small intestine, limiting the amount of food you can consume and the number of calories you absorb. Almost everyone experiences significant weight loss — on average, people lose around 75 percent of their excess weight — but, like with any surgery, there are risks. While gastric bypass is typically not reversible, your doctor works closely with you to prevent any complications.

Sleeve gastrectomy

Sleeve gastrectomy, or gastric sleeve surgery, makes your stomach smaller but keeps the rest of your digestive system intact. Surgeons do not divide or reattach any of your small intestine. Instead, they remove 75 to 85 percent of your stomach, creating a much smaller, tube-shaped "sleeve".

As with bypass, shrinking your stomach prevents you from consuming large quantities of food. The food you do eat passes through your digestive system normally, though. Because your small intestine stays untouched, you should expect a shorter hospital stay and less risk of nutritional deficiencies later. Keep in mind that a sleeve gastrectomy is also irreversible.

Choosing the right weight loss surgery

There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to choosing the best weight loss surgery. Your surgeon will help you decide which option best suits you by gauging your overall health and discussing your specific weight loss goals and motivations.

Successful weight loss surgery also depends on your commitment to lifestyle changes after your procedure. In recommending a surgery, your doctor will discuss these adjustments in detail, helping you determine if they are feasible. If necessary, your doctor will refer you to counselors or other resources to help you make an action plan for changing your relationship with food.

At Sentara, we strive to help you achieve your weight loss goals and live your healthiest life. We've already helped hundreds of people slim down and keep the weight off. If you're considering weight loss surgery, ask your Sentara provider for more information about our surgical offerings and how they might benefit you.