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Obesity is a medical condition that requires treatment to avoid long-term health issues. At UCLA, we offer outstanding surgical outcomes and superior expertise in the treatment of obesity and all its related health problems. Our specialists and dietitians take the time to educate, understand and support you as you start on the road to health and improved quality of life.
What is Bariatric Surgery?
Weight Loss Surgery
Bariatric surgery, or weight loss surgery, is surgery to achieve significant weight loss.* There are a number of techniques used to perform bariatric surgery. In Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, surgeons make your stomach smaller and re-route food to “bypass” part of the small intestine. In sleeve gastrectomy surgery, surgeons make your stomach smaller by removing about 75-80 percent of the stomach.
Is Bariatric Surgery Safe?
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and many recent clinical studies have reported significant improvements in metabolic and bariatric surgery safety. The overall mortality rate for bariatric surgery is about 0.1 percent. That is less than gallbladder surgery (0.7 percent) and hip replacement (0.93 percent).
The primary reasons for improved safety include:
- The increased use of laparoscopy (At UCLA COMET, almost all bariatric procedures are done laparoscopically.)
- Advancements in surgical techniques
- ASMBS and American College of Surgeons (ACS) accreditation program
Studies show metabolic and bariatric surgery also increases lifespan. Individuals with morbid obesity, or a BMI (body mass index) greater than or equal to 30, have a 50 to 100 percent increased risk of premature death compared to individuals of healthy weight. Studies have shown that gastric bypass patients may:
- Improve life expectancy by 89 percent
- Reduce risk of premature death by 30 to 40 percent.
Over the long term, the risks of morbid obesity outweigh risks of metabolic and bariatric surgery.
Weight Loss Surgery at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Before deciding on the best treatment for you, our program’s physicians will meet with you one-on-one to understand your unique health issues and circumstances. If you choose to undergo surgery, our team of specialists meets monthly to discuss your care and identify any risk factors you may have. Our program also offers:
- Superior surgical outcomes: Our patient satisfaction rates are over 95 percent thanks in part to our low complication and readmission rates. Our surgical outcomes are among the best in the U.S.
- Access to new obesity treatments: Our physician-scientists are changing the face of medicine through a number of research studies aimed at discovering new ways to treat obesity.
- Expertise in minimally invasive procedures: We offer minimally invasive endoscopic procedures, which allow surgeons to access your stomach through your mouth. These procedures offer less pain after surgery, a faster recovery and no surgical scars on your abdomen.
- Extensive patient education and support: We offer free information seminars for interested patients and their friends and family, supervised weight loss programs, psychological evaluations and support groups.
- Advanced OR technology: Our operating rooms are equipped with the latest technology available, including two da Vinci Robotic systems, which allow surgeons to operate through a few small incisions and with enhanced vision and control.
Bariatric Surgery Options at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
We offer the latest surgical techniques and procedures at the No. 1 hospital in California, according the U.S. News & World Report. Our specialists are with you every step of the way, collaborating to decide which treatment is best for you based on your unique circumstances and health needs. Our weight loss surgeries include:
Is Bariatric Surgery Right for Me?
You should consider bariatric surgery if you meet the following criteria:
- Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of greater than 40. (Use a BMI calculator to find out your BMI.)
- Have a BMI of greater than 35 and one of the related health problems caused by obesity, such as:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Sleep apnea
- Severe joint pain
- Hyperlipidemia (high lipid (fat) levels in the blood)
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Heart disease
- Inability to achieve a healthy weight loss sustained for a period of time with prior weight loss efforts.
If weight loss surgery isn’t right for you, we offer other treatments including our Weight Loss Program.
What Can I Expect After Bariatric Surgery?
After surgery, the vast majority of our patients only stay in the hospital for one or two nights. Because we use small incisions for bariatric procedures, most patients have minimal pain when they are discharged and only need to take small doses of pain medications at home for a very short period of time. Most patients can go back to work two to four weeks after surgery.
Working with your primary care physician, your specialist will give you thorough instructions on how to care for yourself throughout recovery, including what to eat. For the first month, you will only be able to handle small amounts of soft food and liquids. Slowly, you will be able to add solid foods back into your diet. You will find that you get fuller faster.
Patients are typically seen every three months for the first postoperative year and once a year thereafter. The program's services are available to all patients on a 24/7 basis.
For a physician referral, please call (800) UCLA-MD1 (825-2631).
*Weight loss results can vary depending on the individual. There is no guarantee of specific results. Read full disclaimer.