Gastric bypass surgery is a form of weight loss surgery, or bariatric surgery, that makes alterations to your digestive system, so you are unable to eat as much food. Your stomach is surgically reduced in size, and food bypasses part of your small intestine which makes you feel full sooner. Typically, a gastric bypass patient can only eat a fraction of the food he could prior to the surgery, and overall calorie consumption is greatly reduced.

Gastric banding is another type of bariatric surgery, where a small silicone band, commonly called a “lap band” is secured around the top portion of the stomach. The band forms a pouch at the top of the stomach that is capable of holding roughly c cup of food. A regular stomach can hold about six cups of food. Like with gastric bypass surgery, gastric banding creates a situation where the patient can only eat minuscule amounts of food before becoming full, and calorie intake is greatly reduced.

Typically, bariatric surgery is performed on people who are morbidly overweight, with a body mass index of 40 or greater, or have a serious health problem related to your weight. This may include type 2 diabetes, severe sleep apnea or dangerously high blood pressure. Your doctor will usually prescribe lifestyle changes like diet modification and exercise before surgery. Gastric bypass surgery and gastric banding often provide rapid weight loss, which helps to alleviate some of the patient's health problems, and offers several other benefits.

The weight loss that results from bariatric surgery takes stress off several of the body's systems. Aside from diabetes, sleep apnea and high blood pressure, gastric bypass and gastric banding can remedy gastroesophageal reflux disease, reduce the risk of heart disease and lower your risk for stroke. Your joints will suffer less stress carrying out daily activities, which may reduce your risk of osteoarthritis. Being extremely overweight creates a tremendous burden on your ankles, knees and hips joints with each step you take. As you continue to lose weight, your mobility will improve along with your ability to carry out everyday tasks without pain or becoming short of breath. Your self-esteem will also benefit, as you melt away the pounds and regain your health.

Despite the benefits and effectiveness of the procedures, bariatric surgery is not foolproof. You still have to maintain a healthy lifestyle after the surgery for it to work effectively. The healthier your lifestyle is, the greater your weight loss will be. Even though you'll be eating less, you still want to make healthy choices with the foods you eat. You will also want to participate in regular exercise once your doctor gives the thumbs up, to improve your chances of sustained weight loss. It's important to take gastric bypass surgery or gastric banding seriously, because even though they have a high success rate, they're still surgeries, and complications are possible. Follow your doctor's instructions before and after your bariatric surgery, and you should realize life changing weight loss.