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What is Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is a surgical procedure that significantly reduces the size of a patient’s stomach. This new stomach only allows for small amounts of food to be consumed and digested at one time. The vast majority of bariatric surgery patients experience significant weight loss.

Though there are a handful of different weight loss surgery procedures, the two most common are known as gastric banding and gastric bypass. Both of these procedures are performed at Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield. In addition, Mercy also performs the vertical sleeve gastrectomy, a more restrictive and permanent form of weight loss surgery. If you’re a candidate for bariatric surgery, your surgeon will consult with you to determine which procedure is best.

Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

Vertical sleeve gastrectomy, also known as a vertical gastic sleeve, is an alternative to gastric bypass and gastric banding. In this procedure, the stomach is permanently reduced to about 15 percent of its original size by removing a large portion of the lower stomach. What’s left is a stomach pouch the size and shape of a small banana.

Vertical sleeve gastrectomy is normally reserved for extremely obese patients (BMI > 55) who may not be ideal candidates for gastric banding or gastric bypass due to possible complications. This procedure is effective as the first step of a two-step process for these patients, the second being either gastric banding or gastric bypass. However, studies show that in patients with lower BMI (30-50) the vertical sleeve gastrectomy is successful on its own.


● Eliminates the lower portion of the stomach, which produces the hormone that causes hunger.

● Minimizes chances of common side effects from other weight loss procedures including dumping syndrome, ulcers, intestinal blockages, anemia, osteoporosis and vitamin deficiency.

● Appealing for those who have existing conditions (anemia, Crohn’s disease) that may make them too high risk for gastric banding and gastric bypass procedures.

● Can be performed laparoscopically in patients weighing over 500 pounds.


● Risk of minimal weight loss, or weight regained after surgery. Procedures that do not involve intestinal bypass have a higher prevalence of insufficient weight loss.

● For patients with BMIs over 55, a second procedure (gastric banding, gastric bypass) may be necessary.

● Leaks and other complications may occur at the site of the staple.

● The procedure is not reversible.

● May not be covered by insurance (check with your provider).

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