Is Bariatric Surgery Safe And Effective For Weight Loss?

Aishwarya Aneesh

Aishwarya Aneesh
Aug 2023

2 min read
Bariatric Surgery

Table of content

Are you on a weight loss journey? Curious about bariatric surgery’s role in shedding those extra pounds?  Did you know that around 20 million people globally have undergone this surgery? But is it the safe and effective path to your weight loss goals? Let’s understand all about this surgery, exploring its safety, effectiveness, and potential impact on your life. 

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What Is An Bariatric Surgery?

It is also known as weight loss surgery, is a medical procedure designed to help individuals who are severely overweight or obese achieve significant and sustainable weight loss. 

This surgical intervention involves altering the digestive system to limit food intake and nutrient absorption, resulting in reduced calorie consumption and weight loss. 

Gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, and gastric banding are a few of the different kinds of bariatric procedures. 

Candidates for these surgeries often struggle with obesity-related health issues like diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea. 

The surgery aims to improve both weight-related health conditions and healthy lifestyle by promoting substantial weight reduction. 

Types Of Bariatric Surgery

The surgery encompasses various surgical procedures designed to aid individuals in achieving substantial and lasting weight loss, particularly for those struggling with severe obesity. 

Here are some common types of bariatric surgeries, each with its unique approach and benefits:

Types Of Bariatric Surgery

Gastric Bypass Surgery:

  • The surgeon creates a small pouch at the top of the stomach, which limits the amount of food it can hold.
  • When redirecting the small intestine to join with this pouch, it skips the upper section of the small intestine and a portion of the stomach.
  • This lowers nutritional absorption and food intake, which causes weight loss.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery (Sleeve Gastrectomy):

  • The surgery removes a substantial portion of the stomach, leaving a sleeve-like structure behind.
  • The smaller stomach restricts food intake while reducing hunger hormones, promoting weight loss.
  • It also affects gut hormones involved in metabolism and blood sugar regulation.

Lap-Band Surgery (Gastric Banding):

  • Placing an adjustable band around the upper part of the stomach creates a small pouch.
  • To regulate food intake, the band can be adjusted in tightness or looseness.
  • This approach reduces the amount of food the stomach can hold, leading to gradual weight loss.

Biliopancreatic Diversion With Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS):

  • A trickier process that combines malabsorptive and restrictive components.
  • A portion of the stomach is removed, similar to the sleeve gastrectomy.
  • The small intestine is then rerouted to reduce nutrient absorption.
  • This surgery often results in significant weight loss but requires careful dietary management due to potential nutrient deficiencies.

Revision Surgery:

  • Surgeons perform this type of surgery if the initial bariatric procedure didn’t achieve the desired results or complications arise.
  • It involves modifying or converting the existing surgery to enhance weight loss or address issues.

What Kinds Of Conditions Can Bariatric Surgery Treat?

The surgery is a medical intervention primarily aimed at treating severe obesity and related health conditions. It can effectively address a range of overweight problems and improve overall well-being. Here are the conditions that this surgery can help treat:

  • Obesity: The surgery aims to help individuals dealing with severe obesity, especially when other weight loss methods have proven unsuccessful. It can lead to significant and sustained weight loss, improving overall health and quality of life.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Here, the surgery has been shown to have a positive impact on type 2 diabetes, often leading to improved blood sugar control and even remission of the disease. It can enhance insulin sensitivity and reduce the need for diabetes medications.
  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure): Weight loss achieved through this surgery can lead to reduced blood pressure levels, potentially alleviating the need for hypertension medication.
  • Sleep Apnea: Many individuals with obesity suffer from sleep apnea, a condition where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Weight loss from this surgery can alleviate the severity of sleep apnea and improve sleep quality.
  • Joint Pain: Excess weight puts strain on joints, leading to conditions like osteoarthritis. This surgery-induced weight loss can alleviate joint pain and improve mobility.
  • Heart Disease Risk: It can also reduce the risk factors associated with heart disease, such as high cholesterol levels and triglycerides.
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Weight loss after surgery can alleviate the symptoms of GERD by reducing pressure on the stomach and lower esophagus.
  • Depression and Anxiety: Some individuals experience improvements in mental health following the surgery due to both physical changes and enhanced self-esteem.
  • Fertility: Weight loss after the surgery may improve fertility in individuals struggling with obesity-related infertility.

Is Bariatric Surgery Effective For Weight Loss?

Yes, this surgery is highly effective for weight loss, particularly in individuals struggling with severe obesity. This surgical approach is often recommended when other weight loss methods like diet plan for weight loss, exercise, and medication have not yielded significant results. Here’s why this surgery is considered effective for weight loss:

  • Significant Weight Reduction: The surgery typically leads to substantial weight loss, with many patients experiencing a loss of 50% or more of their excess body weight within the first year following surgery.
  • Long-Term Results: Unlike many fad diets or temporary weight loss programs, the surgery has the potential to produce long-term weight loss results. However, maintaining these results requires adherence to recommended lifestyle changes.
  • Metabolic Changes: This surgery not only reduces the size of the stomach but also brings about hormonal and metabolic changes that help control hunger and promote weight loss.
  • Improvement In Obesity-Related Conditions: Weight loss resulting from the surgery often leads to improvements in obesity-related health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and joint pain.
  • Enhanced Quality Of Life: Successful weight loss can greatly improve an individual’s quality of life by increasing mobility, reducing physical discomfort, and boosting self-esteem.

What Are The Risks Of Bariatric Surgery?

The surgery offers a potential solution for severe obesity and its associated health issues, but it’s important to recognize that like any surgical procedure, it comes with certain risks and considerations. Here are some of the risks and complications associated with this surgery:

Surgical Risks

  • Infection: Any surgical procedure carries a risk of infection at the incision sites or within the body.
  • Bleeding: Surgical procedures involve cutting tissues, which can lead to bleeding that may require further intervention.
  • Blood Clots: Blood clots can form in the legs and travel to the lungs, potentially causing life-threatening complications.
  • Anesthesia Reactions: Some individuals may have adverse reactions to anesthesia, which can include breathing difficulties or allergic reactions.

Gastrointestinal Issues

  • Dumping Syndrome: Rapid emptying of the stomach contents into the small intestine can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and sweating.
  • Bowel Obstruction: Scarring or adhesions in the abdomen can lead to bowel blockages, requiring additional surgeries.

Nutritional Deficiencies

  • Malabsorption: Procedures that involve bypassing parts of the stomach or intestine can lead to reduced absorption of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and protein.
  • Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies: Inadequate absorption can result in deficiencies of essential nutrients, leading to issues like anemia, bone health problems, and nerve damage.


  • Rapid weight loss can increase the risk of gallstones forming.

Stomal Stenosis

  • Narrowing the connection between the stomach and small intestine can lead to vomiting and nausea.


  • Incisional hernias can occur at the site of surgical incisions, requiring further medical attention.

Psychological Impact

  • Some individuals may experience emotional challenges post-surgery, including depression symptoms, anxiety, or body image issues.

Weight Regain

  • While bariatric surgery can result in significant weight loss, some individuals may experience weight regain if they do not adhere to dietary and lifestyle changes.

Diet Vs Exercise: What Matters More For Weight Loss? | Dietitian Mac Singh

Curious about weight loss? Wondering if diet or exercise plays a bigger role? Discover the truth behind the debate in our video with Dietitian Mac Singh. Watch below to find out what matters most for effective weight loss.

A Word From Fitelo

In the realm of weight loss, this surgery stands as a pivotal option for many. Balancing its safety and efficacy requires thorough understanding. 

Remember, informed decisions are key, so consult professionals and embark on your journey toward a healthier you with confidence.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is It Called Bariatric Surgery?

The surgery gets its name from the Greek word “baros,” meaning weight. It refers to a range of surgical procedures aimed at treating obesity. These surgeries alter the stomach and digestive system to help individuals lose weight by limiting food intake, reducing absorption, or both. The term “bariatric” highlights the focus on weight management and obesity treatment through surgical intervention.

Who Needs To Undergo This Surgery?

Medical professionals typically recommend this surgery for individuals who have severe obesity (a body mass index, or BMI, of 40 or higher) or for those who have a BMI of 35 or higher along with serious obesity-related health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, or sleep apnea.

What Is The Minimum Weight For Bariatric Surgery?

While there’s no fixed minimum weight, most surgeons consider candidates with a BMI of 35 or above, provided they have obesity-related health issues. Individual suitability depends on factors like overall health, medical history, and ability to commit to post-surgery guidelines.

Is Bariatric Surgery Painful?

The surgery entails making incisions and manipulating tissues, resulting in some degree of anticipated pain and discomfort after the surgery. However, advancements in surgical techniques and pain management protocols have minimized pain.

How Much Can Bariatric Patients Eat?

After the surgery, patients start with a liquid diet, gradually progressing to soft and then solid foods. Portion sizes are significantly reduced compared to pre-surgery. Gastric bypass and sleeve patients might initially eat around 1/4 to 1/2 cups of food per meal, increasing over time.

How Quickly Can I Get Bariatric Surgery?

The timeline for this surgery varies. After medical evaluations and consultations, the process typically takes a few months to a year. This allows time for psychological assessments, dietary counseling, and pre-surgery preparations. The exact timeframe depends on factors like insurance requirements, medical conditions, and the type of surgery chosen.

Can I Eat Everything After Bariatric Surgery?

No, the surgery necessitates dietary modifications. Patients must avoid high-calorie, high-sugar, and high-fat foods. Carbonated beverages, tough meats, and dense foods might be challenging to digest. A focus on protein, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains is recommended.

How Much Weight Do You Lose With Bariatric Surgery?

Weight loss after the surgery varies based on factors like the type of surgery, individual adherence to post-operative guidelines, and pre-surgery weight. Generally, patients can expect to lose a significant amount of weight, often 50% to 70% of excess weight within the first year.

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Contact Us Today

We’re never leaving you hanging with doubts, queries, as well as confusing questions. We understand how all this information gets overwhelming as well as a little confusing on your way to a healthy lifestyle. Hence, you can always contact us at any time as our experts are here to guide you 24/7. Also, we will help you achieve your weight loss goals.


This blog post was written to help you to make healthy and better food choices altogether. So, be aware and take care. The important thing to consider is your health before starting a restrictive diet. Always seek advice from a doctor/dietitian before starting if you have any concerns.

Eat Healthy, Live Healthy as well as Enjoy a long happy life.

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