Emergency Weight-Loss Procedures

The two words doctors love to utter is “lifestyle changes.” If you take a pill and change your lifestyle, you will get better. If you exercise and change your lifestyle, you will get better. If you diet and change your lifestyle, you will get better. The patients start to get the idea that it is the lifestyle change that results in healing, not the pill or the exercise or the diet.

The fact is that the lifestyle change is utterly necessary to speedy healing and the maintenance of health. However, lifestyle changes take time. For example, you can go from steak 5 times a day to vegan 3 times, and losing weight will still take quite a while. However, there are some emergencies that demand faster weight loss–through surgical procedures.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

Like most bariatric or weight-loss surgeries, gastric bypass surgery is a last-resort surgical procedure done for patients with extremely high blood pressure and, or type-2 diabetes. Other problems that might demand the surgery are heart diseases, and obstructive sleep apnea (when the patient temporarily stops breathing).

Gastric bypass surgery is, as the name suggests, a bypass procedure. Part of the stomach is first divided into two by surgical staples, a large lower part and a much tinier upper part. The lower part is now closed–your food cannot go there. The only space left for the food is the walnut-sized 1 ounce-holding upper part.

Part of the small intestine is then attached to the tinier stomach–that is the bypass. A smaller stomach makes you feel full faster, and the bypass lessens the body’s calorie absorption.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Gastric sleeve surgery is also called a sleeve gastrectomy. It developed because of a need by doctors to bring some patients’ weights down even before gastric bypass surgery. Because of blood pressure, heart risk, and sleep apnea, anesthesia is very risky for obese patients. Doctors would do this first surgery to lower their patients’ weight before operating.

In this procedure, the doctor isolates the top 15% of the stomach, not interrupting the connection with the small intestine. He then cuts away the 85% altogether, leaving a stomach the comparative shape and size of a banana. The stomach is smaller, having almost the same effect as the gastric bypass, and the small intestine is untouched.

Gastric Band Surgery

Gastric banding is often used when there is less overall danger to the patient’s life, since it is not as permanent as either gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery. In gastric banding, a wide silicone band is placed around the stomach, shrinking it as small as demanded. It is also adjustable in fit by a device that injects or withdraws saline solution from the band.

Because it can be loosened and eventually removed, this kind of procedure depends even more on the habits formed by the patient. The procedure might even need to be repeated at some point in time.


Bariatric surgery is not a single-time cure. For it to work, it needs–you guessed it–a lifestyle change. If the patient forces himself to eat more than his stomach can hold, he can stretch it and damage where it is separated. If the patient does not change his diet, he can lose less weight than he should have. No weight loss surgery is complete without a lifestyle change.