Is Bariatric Surgery Right For You?

Obesity is a growing public health issue in our region.  According to, more than half of New Yorkers are overweight, and nearly a quarter qualify as obese.  The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, reports that an estimated 23% of the population living in Queens is obese.

These rates are concerning  because people who are obese are at an increased risk for developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, stroke, hypertension, heart disease and some cancers.  However, the good news is the risks associated with many of these conditions can be significantly reduced by losing weight.

Diet and exercise are highly recommended methods of weight loss but they may not be enough to yield significant results for those who are obese.   Bariatric surgery offers an extremely effective weight loss solution for people who have tried and failed to lose weight by way of diet and exercise. Additionally, it has been shown to help improve several obesity-related health conditions.

The two most popular bariatric surgeries are the sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass procedures. In the sleeve gastrectomy operation a large portion of the stomach is removed and a smaller, new stomach in the shape of a tube or “sleeve” is created.  During bypass surgery, a new small stomach pouch is created, and a section of the small bowel is bypassed. These surgeries are usually done through small incisions either laparoscopically or using the da Vinci surgical robot, ensuring a minimally invasive approach. Both surgeries offer excellent long term results and positive outcomes in most patients.

With this is in mind, it is important to understand that bariatric surgery is a major operation, no matter which procedure is chosen.  Bariatric surgery is not an easy way out. It is an important decision to be made under strict physician supervision and with the support of loved ones.  The process is immersive and takes approximately 4-5 months of supervised dieting and being seen by multiple specialties for approval.

Although bariatric surgery is considered safe, it is very important that patients understand the risks of surgery. As with most major surgical procedures, the risks can include bleeding or other complications.

For those who would like to explore non-surgical weight loss procedures, there are options such as the FDA-approved Obalon Balloon System. This involves three air filled balloons inserted via a swallowed capsule. The patient is given no anesthesia and most people return to work the same day. The balloons stay in for six months after which they are removed via endoscopy. The procedure is generally very well tolerated with some side effects such as nausea and cramping. Studies have shown weight loss to continue beyond removal and many patients lose significant amount of weight.

When deciding which procedure is best for you, it is recommended that you receive an expert consultation with a surgeon. Your physician can assess your health which can lead to the decision on which surgery is suitable for your needs.

To ensure the highest quality care and maximize your chances of a successful weight loss procedure, it is recommended that you receive treatment at a “Bariatric Center of Excellence”, such as Flushing Hospital Medical Center.

Flushing Hospital is the only Center of Excellence in Queens. The process to reach this designation is arduous and ensures that the center and the surgeons are of the highest quality and preparedness. Surgical outcomes are measured very strictly and the capability of both the surgeons and the center must be of the highest caliber when compared nationally.

To make an appointment, please call 718-408-6977.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.