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How Bariatric Surgery Promotes Weight Loss

State-of-the-art bariatric surgeries are available at Mission Weight Management, including laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, roux-en-Y gastric bypass and vertical sleeve gastrectomy procedures. To understand how these surgeries result in weight loss, you first need to understand the normal digestive process.

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The Digestive Process

Normally, after food is swallowed, it enters the stomach and is held there while small amounts are released farther into the digestive tract. The stomach can usually hold up to about 48 ounces of food. As food continues through the digestive process, digestive juices and enzymes help absorb calories and nutrients. Most iron and calcium is absorbed as it moves from the stomach into the first section of the small intestine. The rest of the digestive process occurs in the remaining two sections (about 20 feet) of the small intestine. Food that cannot be digested in the small intestine is stored in the large intestine until it is eliminated.

Bariatric Surgery Promotes Weight Loss Two Ways

By restricting the amount of food that can be stored, gastric banding and gastric bypass limit the amount of food the stomach can hold by closing off or removing parts of the stomach. These operations also delay emptying of the stomach.

By connecting a lower segment of the small intestine to the stomach, gastric bypass surgery limits the amount of food the body can absorb.

Origins of Bariatric Surgery

The use of bariatric surgery to control severe obesity was developed after physicians observed weight loss among patients who had large portions of the stomach or small intestine removed as treatment for cancer or severe ulcers. Since then, proven similar methods have been developed to safely promote substantial weight loss.