Also known as weight-loss surgery, bariatric surgery refers to a set of surgeries during which changes are made to your digestive system to help you lose excess weight. Bariatric surgery usually becomes a treatment option after dieting and exercising to lose excess weight without long-term success.

To understand what bariatric surgery does, it’s important to look at how your body processes what you eat and drink. After food enters your stomach, digestive juices begin breaking it down. The food then moves into the small intestine where other digestive juices from the intestine, pancreas, and liver break it down enough that the walls of the small intestine can absorb the nutrients into your bloodstream.

Bariatric surgeries interrupt the process by either restricting the amount of food your stomach can hold, limiting the amount of nutrients your body absorbs—also called malabsorption—or both.

Who Are Eligible Candidates For Bariatric Surgery?

Candidates eligible for bariatric surgery are men and women who are overweight or obese and unable to lose excess weight and keep it off long-term using diet, exercise, and other weight-loss interventions.

We use body mass index (BMI) to determine whether our patients are overweight or obese. BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to determine whether you are underweight, healthy, overweight, or obese. A BMI of between 25 and 29.9 may indicate you are overweight, while a BMI of 30 and higher may indicate you are obese.

According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, bariatric surgery has three primary qualifications. These include:

  • Having a BMI of 40 or above, or being more than 100 pounds overweight.
  • Having a BMI of 35 or above and at least one obesity-related comorbid health condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Being unable to achieve and maintain a healthy weight long-term using other weight-loss methods.

If you struggle with losing and keeping off excess weight but don’t meet any of the three criteria above, you may still qualify for bariatric surgery. Our doctors can review your medical history, perform a physical evaluation, and talk to you in more detail about the weight-loss methods you’ve already tried to determine whether you’re an ideal candidate for one of these procedures.

Bariatric Procedure Types

At Lompoc Valley Medical Center, we offer Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery and sleeve gastrectomy. These two surgery types make up almost 80 percent of all bariatric surgeries performed in the US.

Gastric Bypass (Roux-en-Y)

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery involves reducing the size of your stomach and rerouting part of your small intestine. A smaller stomach will allow you to eat smaller food portions and avoid overeating. Having your small intestine rerouted will enable your body to absorb fewer calories from the foods you eat. This weight-loss surgery is both a restrictive and malabsorptive procedure due to the way it restricts portion sizes and prevents your body from absorbing high amounts of calories.

During Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, we staple part of the stomach to create a smaller stomach pouch. Then, we cut part of the small intestine and attach it directly to the stomach pouch so food can bypass parts of the stomach and intestine that absorb the majority of calories.

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery is performed as a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, which means it is safer and far less invasive than open surgery. We make a few small incisions instead of one long incision and insert a tiny camera and other surgical tools that provide a clear and precise view of your stomach while we perform the procedure. Minimally invasive surgery produces less downtime, as well as faster healing and recovery.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

Also known as the gastric sleeve, sleeve gastrectomy involves reducing the size of your stomach so you can eat less food in one sitting. This is a restrictive surgery, as it allows you to eat smaller food portions and feel full sooner.

During sleeve gastrectomy, we remove about 80% of the stomach to leave behind a smaller stomach pouch about the size of a small banana. The portion of the stomach we remove includes part of the section that secretes ghrelin, a hunger hormone responsible for stimulating appetite. Removing this part of the stomach reduces your desire to eat, so you can eat less over time and lose excess weight.

Like Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, sleeve gastrectomy is also performed as a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, meaning your hospital stay and recovery time will be far shorter than that associated with open surgery.

Advanced Da Vinci Robotic System Available

If you are a candidate for bariatric or weight loss surgery, you may be eligible for surgery performed using the da Vinci XI Single Console Robotic System. The da Vinci enables our surgeons to use computer-guided, enhanced 3D visuals to perform many standard procedures.

This advancement in surgical systems typically results in shorter stays, reduced pain,  faster recovery time, smaller incisions, and minimal scarring.

LVMC is currently the only hospital in Santa Barbara County performing bariatric surgeries with the da Vinci robotic system made by Intuitive Surgical.

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da Vinci Robot

What Can I Expect After Bariatric Surgery?

After your surgery, you’ll be restricted to liquids for a few days as your digestive system heals. Following the liquid diet phase, you can start eating pureed foods, then soft foods, until your stomach can handle regular, solid foods. We will discuss diet-related expectations with you in greater detail. Hence, you understand what you can and cannot eat during the days and weeks after your surgery.

We may also recommend that you take nutritional supplements, especially if you had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. Your body will absorb fewer nutrients due to the rerouting of the small intestine, and your stomach pouch will be significantly smaller than before. Therefore, nutritional supplements are essential to helping you stay healthy and preventing malnutrition.

Our doctors will also work with you to develop a long-term diet and exercise plan. Diet and exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid weight regain following bariatric surgery. Exercise and weight training may also help you tighten loose skin if you lose a large amount of weight quickly after your procedure.

Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program
Our Bariatric Surgery Program Is Accredited as a Comprehensive Center

The Lompoc Valley Medical Center, bariatric surgery program, has been accredited as a Comprehensive Center by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program, a joint Quality Program of the American College of Surgeons and American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Patients seeking surgical treatment for obesity and related conditions have a high-quality choice for receiving care from our nationally accredited program, which meets the highest standards for patient safety and quality.

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Private Pay Option Available

If you’re interested in pursuing weight loss (bariatric) surgery -- but your health insurance plan does not cover the surgery -- there are still options to consider.

We offer a Cash Pay option for eligible patients seeking to have weight loss surgery. Fees for sleeve gastrectomy and Roux En Y gastric bypass are available upon request. Please be aware that all private pay fees are due seven days before the surgical date.