Health News Articles

The Many Benefits of Bariatric Surgery

Jun 2, 2014
We’ve all heard about the benefits of weight loss—lower blood pressure, more energy, higher self-esteem and a general sense of well-being.

But what many people may not realize is that bariatric surgery, sometimes called weight-loss surgery, can be the most effective treatment for heart disease, sleep apnea and type-2 diabetes. These conditions virtually disappear or are drastically reduced in many patients who have bariatric surgery, notes Lisa Dobruskin, MD, (pictured left), a bariatric surgeon with Princeton HealthCare System.

Click here to view a web chat on bariatric surgery featuring Dr. Dobruskin

“Bariatric surgery is still often considered something you do only because you want to look better,” says Dr. Dobruskin, who is board certified in general surgery and fellowship trained in minimally invasive surgery, “but patients should consider not just weight loss, but the impact on their overall health.”

Weight Loss

Patients who undergo gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy (the two most commonly performed weight-loss procedures) lose, on average, 60 to 65 percent of excess body weight. And for laparoscopic gastric banding (commonly known as lap band surgery), the numbers are an impressive 40 to 50 percent.

“For sustainable weight loss, these surgeries are the best tool we have,” says Dr. Dobruskin, who notes that after five years, most patients will have kept anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of the lost weight off. The great majority of procedures at UMCPP are now performed laparoscopically, through several tiny incisions, making recovery significantly faster than when patients have traditional surgery.

Choosing Your Surgery
Once you’ve decided to undergo bariatric surgery, your next step will be to choose a specific procedure—something you can do with the help of your physician.

Gastric bypass, in which the surgeon creates a small pouch from a section
of the stomach and connects it to the middle portion of the intestine, is the
most commonly performed procedure. Patients who undergo gastric bypass
often see significant improvement or even complete resolution of type-2 diabetes several weeks after surgery. The procedure also suppresses the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin. As a result, patients feel less hungry.

Laparoscopic gastric banding, which involves the placement of a silicone band around the upper portion of the stomach, significantly reduces the amount a person can eat. It, too, is an effective procedure as long as patients avoid drinking high-calorie liquids.

Sleeve gastectromy, which reduces the stomach capacity by about 85 percent, also suppresses ghrelin and helps resolve type-2 diabetes. This surgery is a very good compromise between the lap band and bypass, notes Wai Yip Chau, MD, (pictured right), a board certified bariatric surgeon at UMCPP.

Click here to view a web chat on bariatric surgery featuring Dr. Chau

All three procedures are generally covered by private insurance and Medicare. If you have been considering bariatric surgery but have been concerned about insurance coverage our staff can provide up to date information regarding your insurance options.

To learn more about bariatric surgery at University Medical Center at Princeton watch our recorded web chats with Dr. Dobruskin and Dr. Chau.

To find a physician affiliated with Princeton HealthCare System, call 1.888.PHCS4YOU (1.888.742.7496) or visit