Weight loss surgery in Miami, Florida

The Surgical Weight Loss Center at Mercy Miami Hospital uses bariatric surgery as a tool to treat obesity and morbid obesity. While weight loss is an outcome of bariatric surgery, these operations completely transform people’s lives—mind, body and spirit.

To find out if bariatric surgery might be right for you, call our Consult-A-Nurse® team at (305) 285-2929.

What is bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery involves reducing the size of the stomach. Having a smaller stomach restricts the amount of food a person can consume, usually from about 2 quarts to 2 ounces. This means patients require far less food to feel satisfied and full.

Coupled with healthy eating and exercise, bariatric surgery can lead to significant weight loss. However, bariatric surgery is not a first option for weight loss. It’s important that anyone interested in bariatric surgery meet with a weight loss specialist and evaluate all options. Your physician will clarify that:

  • Bariatric surgery is not a cosmetic procedure
  • Bariatric surgery does not involve liposuction (the removal of fat tissue by suction or excision)
  • Excluding gastric banding, weight loss surgeries approved in the U.S. are irreversible
  • The success of weight loss surgery depends on your commitment to long term dietary and fitness changes
  • Complications with bariatric surgery may require additional operations
  • Patients must be aware of the benefits and risks of bariatric surgery before moving forward

Do I qualify for weight loss surgery?

Eligibility for a bariatric surgery candidate depends on the patient's body mass index, or BMI. BMI uses your height and weight to measure body fat. Weight loss surgeons use this BMI number plus other medical tests, such as blood work, EKGs and chest X-rays, to determine if the patient can undergo bariatric surgery.

Weight loss surgeries we offer

All bariatric procedures at Mercy are laparoscopic (a minimally invasive approach using a thin tube that results in smaller incisions and less scarring). We offer different procedures because each patient is unique and the level of assistance needed for each patient varies. We encourage you to learn about all offered procedures, reflect on your personal needs and speak with your bariatric surgeon to determine which procedure would be most beneficial for you. Please remember that no procedure is a cure, but a tool.

All procedures require your commitment to a lifelong change in eating habits, exercise, support group attendance and a follow-up plan.

Gastric bypass

Currently known as the gold standard for bariatric surgery, gastric bypass (also called Roux-en-Y) works by restricting the stomach size by creating a small pouch. The food then bypasses a portion of the stomach and small intestine. Due to this, your body will not absorb all of the calories of the food you eat. Patients should understand that this procedure may cause nutritional deficiencies.

Advantages of gastric bypass surgery

  • This procedure is the top surgery choice with many study results
  • Patients will lose weight rapidly
  • Most patients will lose up to 60 percent body fat

Gastric sleeve

In this procedure, the stomach size is surgically decreased by up to 60 percent. With a smaller stomach, patients will feel full from less food, therefore causing weight loss. Gastric sleeve surgery is recommended for patients with a BMI of 40 or greater. Patients should be aware that, with this procedure, all nutrients are absorbed in the stomach, making it easier to revert back to previous eating behaviors.

Advantages of gastric sleeve surgery

  • The procedure can be outpatient or a 23-hour stay
  • The patient's absorption and digestion is not altered
  • All food intake is absorbed for nutrients
  • Patients report experiencing rapid weight loss

Benefits of bariatric surgery

Bariatric surgery helps people with obesity live longer, healthier lives. An obese person is at a much greater risk of early death than a non-obese person, and morbid obesity can lead to life-threatening health problems.

Weight loss surgery can decrease an obese person's chances of developing serious health conditions such as sleep apnea, gastric reflux, asthma and migraines. It may also lower the risk of developing cancers associated with morbid obesity, such as colorectal cancer.

The Surgeon General, National Institutes of Health and World Health Organization cite bariatric surgery as the most effective way for morbidly obese patients to lose significant weight permanently. Approximately 95 percent of bariatric surgery patients lose 50 percent of their excess weight, and about 85 percent of patients lose at least 75 percent of their excess weight. For nearly everyone, these results mean greatly improved quality of life.

Another benefit of bariatric surgery is it helps patients avoid moving from diet to diet. The cycle of severe and continuing weight loss and gain, called "yo-yo dieting," is associated with numerous health risks.

Risks of bariatric surgery

As with any surgery, there are potential risks and complications with bariatric surgery. The more obese the patient, the higher risk of complication. The immediate risks are leaks, infection, pneumonia, blood clots of the legs or lungs and, rarely, death. Long-term risk for all procedures may be weight regain if diet changes and increased exercise are not maintained.