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How Does Bariatric Surgery Work?
How Does Bariatric Surgery Work?

Bariatric surgery, such as laparoscopic gastric lap band, gastric bypass surgery, and gastric sleeve surgery, works primarily by reducing the area of the stomach that can hold food. Weight loss is its primary goal. For bariatric patients in Long Island, NY or elsewhere who have tried other means of weight loss without success, or for whom exercise or other means of weight loss has become impossible, bariatric surgery is an excellent option, especially now that laparoscopic surgery has become so widely available. Bariatric surgeon Dr. Arif Ahmad, of Long Island, NY, offers both laparoscopic and traditional bariatric surgery in his Long Island, NY office to provide less invasive bariatric surgery than ever.

The time and commitment to weight loss through bariatric surgery are worth eliminating many of the risk factors that accompany obesity. Many NY patients find that chronic health conditions are caused by their obesity. Following bariatric surgery, these issues resolve themselves with the accompanying weight loss.

Several types of bariatric surgery and method of payment for are available in Long Island, NY and elsewhere, even if your insurance might not cover bariatric surgery. Read on to find out more about bariatric surgery, bariatric surgeon Dr. Arif Ahmad, and to find out how bariatric surgery works.

What is bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery is a surgical means by which to induce weight loss, involving the gastric system. It is sometimes called “weight loss surgery” or even “gastric surgery”. All laparoscopic and traditional bariatric surgeries involve a bariatric surgeon shrinking the stomach in some way. Long Island, NY surgeon Dr. Arif Ahmad specializes in laparoscopic bariatric surgery and offers several procedures, including the popular laparoscopic gastric band (gastric lap band).

How does bariatric surgery improve health?

You will receive counseling before and after your procedure on what to expect and what will be expected of you, as well. Although bariatric surgery will shrink the stomach and change body chemistry, energy will only increase with effort from the patient.

Bariatric surgery reduces stomach size.

By reducing the size of the patient’s stomach, a bariatric surgeon reduces the amount of food intake that the patient’s gastric system can handle at one time. A smaller stomach means that fewer calories can be consumed, so that, even with low energy levels before weight loss, more calories are being expended than ingested. This is the single largest contributor to weight loss following bariatric surgery.

Bariatric surgery changes body chemistry.

More digestive enzymes mix with food as it travels through the gastric pathways, especially after gastric bypass surgery. This causes the stomach to hold less food overall and decreases the amount of food the gastric system can process in one sitting. Research also shows that certain hormones associated with keeping diabetes at bay are increased following bariatric surgery.

Energy levels increase.

Not only will the bariatric patient be forced to consume fewer calories, but energy levels will increase with weight loss, making exercise and regular physical activity easier after bariatric surgery Eventually, the patient’s muscle mass may increase, which will burn even more calories, resulting in even greater weight loss.

What types of bariatric surgery are available?

The type of gastric surgery recommended will depend on how overweight you are, your willingness or capability to commit to follow-up care, and cost of the surgery. Although your bariatric surgeon will offer both traditional and laparoscopic procedures, you and your surgeon will determine together which one is right for you and your gastric health.

Bariatric surgeon Dr. Ahmad offers six weight loss surgeries in Long Island, NY for those undergoing bariatric surgery for the first time. He also offers additional bariatric surgeries for those undergoing weight loss surgery a second time. Procedures that bariatric surgeon Dr. Ahmad performs include:

Bariatric surgery is performed under anesthesia, so the patient will be “asleep” during the procedure. Every type of bariatric surgery will require follow-up care. A brief introduction to how each type of bariatric surgery works is included below, with more detailed explanations on Dr. Ahmad’s obesity surgery page.

Laparoscopic Gastric Sleeve Gastrectomy, “Gastric Sleeve”

The Laparoscopic Gastric Sleeve Gastrectomy is also known as “the sleeve”. During this type of bariatric surgery, approximately 75 – 80 percent of the stomach is surgically removed. The remaining portion of the stomach resembles a sleeve or banana. Although this works for weight loss by reducing the amount of food that the stomach can hold, thus reducing caloric intake, doctors also believe that chemicals in the body associated with satiety are affected, even after the stomach has expanded slightly.

Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS)

Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS) bariatric surgery also works by removing a portion of the stomach. For this surgery, though, a portion of the small intestine is bypassed, and the newly created stomach pouch is attached to a lower part of the small intestine. The bypassed part of the small intestine is then reattached where the stomach meets the lower portion of the small intestine. This causes food to mix with the enzymes that cause fat (and protein) absorption lower in the intestines, resulting in earlier satiety and less fat absorption.

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, or, Laparoscopic “Gastric Bypass”

This type of bariatric surgery works similarly to how BPD/DS works, except portions of the stomach are not removed. Instead, a stomach pouch is surgically created by pinching together a very small part of it. Like BPD/DS, the bypassing of a portion of the small intestine results in lower fat absorption, early satiety, and eventual shrinking of the stomach.

Adjustable Laparoscopic Gastric Band, or, “Lap Band”

Adjustable Laparoscopic Gastric Band, or, “Lap Band” bariatric surgery involves laparoscopically placing a band around a portion of the stomach to shrink it. As with most other bariatric surgery, weight loss is achieved by reducing stomach size.

Banded Gastric Plication Bariatric Surgery

This type of bariatric surgery combines the stitching and banding of the stomach. No staples are needed, and the stitches dissolve with time. This surgery has been shown to provide the benefits of a gastric bypass with the lower risk associated with gastric banding.

Band Over Gastric Bypass Surgery

This type of bariatric surgery is intended for those who have regained weight after having had gastric bypass surgery.

Do I qualify for bariatric surgery?

Bariatric patients are recommended for weight loss surgery depending on the patient’s total fat percentage. A doctor or nurse will determine this by calculating the patient’s Body Mass Index (BMI). A BMI of 30 is only considered to be Class 1 obesity, and the patient is not yet considered morbidly obese or a candidate for bariatric surgery.

Typically, morbidly obese bariatric patients with a BMI of at least 35 and an accompanying condition like high blood pressure, acid reflux, sleep apnea, or diabetes qualify for gastric surgery. Class 2 obesity begins at a BMI of 35 or greater, and most bariatric surgeons and insurance providers recognize that this type of obesity is harder to treat through diet and exercise alone.

Long Island, NY bariatric surgeons will normally qualify patients with a BMI of at least 40 for bariatric surgery regardless of accompanying conditions. These patients are in the Class 3 obesity category, which carries the highest risk of mortality due to extra weight. These are the bariatric patients most at risk of dying without imminent weight loss. Surgeons and other doctors generally will not approve bariatric surgery for patients with a BMI of less than 35. This is primarily because the risks do not outweigh the benefits of surgery until that point.


Bariatric surgery for weight loss is a procedure that should not be taken lightly and should be a top consideration for those who are morbidly obese. Obesity carries with it many deadly risks, and bariatric surgery could be the answer to reducing or eliminating these risks entirely.

Although bariatric surgery works by shrinking the stomach and causing early satiety, weight loss achieved and length of time the weight stays off depend on the cooperation of the patient. If you have tried and failed to eliminate excess weight through diet and exercise alone, or if exercise has simply become impossible due to being overweight, bariatric surgery could be the solution.

Find out more about gastric surgery that could save your life. Contact laparoscopic specialist and bariatric surgeon Dr. Ahmad today for your no-obligation consultation and to discuss your weight loss surgery options!