Types of Surgery

Weight-loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, can help obese people lose weight and keep it off. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and other experts, doctors may suggest this surgery for adults who:

  • Have a body mass index, or BMI, of 40 or higher.
  • Have a BMI of 35 or higher along with a serious medical condition linked to obesity. This includes problems such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and severe sleep apnea.
  • Have a BMI of 30 or higher with at least one serious obesity-linked condition. People in this category are eligible only for a type of bariatric surgery called adjustable gastric band.
  • Have tried to lose weight using medical treatment without success.
  • Are willing to keep in touch with a medical professional for many years for observation and follow-up.
  • Understand the possible risks and complications of surgery, which may include infection, bowel obstruction and blood clots. Other problems, such as gallstones or hernias, can develop later.
  • Don't have a metabolic or hormonal condition that causes severe obesity.

If you meet the criteria for weight-loss surgery, you and your doctor will decide which procedure you will have. There are several types, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Your surgeon may have a preference, and factors such as your eating habits and previous stomach surgeries are also important.