Weight Loss Surgery Q&A with an expert

Weight loss surgery is often misunderstood. Bree Dewing, MD, talks about a life-changing procedure.

How does weight loss surgery work?

There are several types of weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery. They all involve changes in the digestive system that help a person lose weight by limiting the amount of food they can eat or the number of calories their body can absorb.

Sanford Bismarck offers gastric bypass and gastric sleeve procedures. Most patients lose 60 to 80% of their excess weight within the first year after surgery.

Gastric bypass surgery is often performed as a laparoscopic surgery with small incisions in the abdomen. This operation reduces the size of the upper part of the stomach to a small pouch the size of an egg. The surgeon does this by sewing together the top of the stomach. This reduces the amount of food you can eat.

Learn more about gastric bypass surgery.

Sleeve gastrectomy restricts food intake, resulting in weight loss. You can lose 50 to 90 pounds, but each person’s results will be different. It is also often done as a laparoscopic surgery.

Most of the left side of the stomach has been removed. The remaining stomach forms into a narrow tube called a sleeve. After surgery, eating less food will make you feel full at mealtimes.

Learn more about sleeve gastrectomy.

Who might be a good candidate for weight loss surgery?

Good candidates for weight loss surgery are those who have failed to lose weight through diet, portion control, and a targeted exercise program. Generally, this surgery is an option for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, especially if they have other serious weight-related health problems.

Besides looking and feeling better, what are the benefits of losing weight?

Weight loss is about improving the quality of life, not just dropping numbers on the scale. The benefits of losing weight include:

  • Lower risk of obesity-related diseases
  • Less need for certain medications
  • Increased mobility
  • Best Body Image

Some obesity-related problems that can be treated or avoided with bariatric surgery include:

  • Diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • heart disease
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disorder
  • sleep apnea
  • Liver or gallbladder disease
  • Infertility
  • Iron
  • Some lung diseases
  • Some mental disorders

Bariatric surgery should not be the last resort. As with any other chronic disease, the sooner obesity and its consequences are treated, the better the results will be.

Is surgery a good solution for losing weight?

Surgery is a great way to lose weight, but not a panacea. For long-term success, patients must make permanent dietary changes and exercise regularly.

A common misconception is that weight loss surgery has a high complication rate. In fact, weight loss surgery is one of the safest elective surgeries.

How do I know if weight loss surgery is right for me?

The Sanford Bismarck team of bariatric surgeons is here to help patients understand their options and provide the support they need to change their health.

Sanford offers free monthly information sessions for patients interested in weight loss surgery. Sessions are an opportunity to get expert answers and meet with members of our surgical weight loss team, including our Weight Loss Coordinator and Dietitian.

Find out more and register for a virtual information session.

Bree Dewing, MD, is a weight loss surgeon at the Sanford Clinic in Bismarck. She received her MD from the University of Saba School of Medicine in Saba, Netherlands Antilles and completed her residency in general surgery at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences at Grand Forks.

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