10 Weight-Loss Surgery Terms

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Bariatric surgery

There are several bariatric surgery procedures, commonly known as weight-loss surgery, which are performed to treat morbid obesity. There are two types: malabsorptive procedures and restrictive procedures. Some surgical procedures combine both types of approaches.

Malabsorptive procedures

Malabsorptive procedures divert food from the stomach to a lower part of the digestive tract, where the normal mixing of digestive fluids and absorption of nutrients cannot occur.

Restrictive procedures

Restrictive procedures restrict the size of the stomach and decrease intake. Restrictive procedures do not carry the risk of vitamin deficiency that malabsorptive procedures do.

Gastric bypass

Gastric bypass achieves weight loss by gastric restriction and malabsorption. Reduction of the stomach to a small gastric pouch (30 cc — about the size of an egg) results in feelings of satiety following even small meals. This small pouch is connected to a segment of the jejunum, bypassing the duodenum and very proximal small intestine, thereby reducing absorption of calories (and nutrients).

Duodenal switch

Duodenal switch achieves weight loss by gastric restriction and malabsorption. The stomach is partially resected, but the remaining capacity is generous compared to that achieved with gastric bypass. Patients eat relatively normal-sized meals and do not need to restrict intake radically, since the most proximal areas of the small intestine are bypassed, and substantial malabsorption occurs.

Gastric sleeve

Gastric sleeve is a restrictive procedure that removes approximately 85% of the stomach, including the portion that produces grehlin, the hunger-stimulating hormone.  The remaining 15% is a long tube resembling a sleeve, which is where the name is derived.  This portion continues to function normally, so there are no food restrictions as with bypass.

Adjustable gastric band

Gastric band is a restrictive procedure—and the only reversible one. A band is an inflatable doughnut-shaped balloon that encircles the uppermost portion of the stomach, creating a gastric pouch. The diameter is adjusted by adding or removing saline via a port positioned beneath the skin. This enables the size of the gastric outlet to be adjusted as needed, depending on the patient's rate of weight loss.

Pre-operative counseling

Prior to your weight-loss surgery date being scheduled, bariatric surgery candidates are required to undergo pre-operative counseling. A psychiatric evaluation will be ordered to clarify the patient's understanding of possible risks and complications related to the bariatric surgery, as well as the need to follow the recovery plan.

Appeal letter

If your health insurance provider denies your claim for bariatric surgery, you have the right to appeal the decision. You can begin by contacting your bariatric surgeon's office to see if they have a sample appeal letter that you can use as a guide. You can find sample appeal letters on the Internet and guidance on how to write an appeal letter.

Body contouring

Body contouring surgery is the general term used to describe various surgical procedures performed by a plastic surgeon on a patient for cosmetic or reconstructive reasons. Body contouring after weight loss from bariatric surgery focuses on removing excess skin to improve function and appearance.