What is weight loss surgery?

Weight loss surgery, sometimes referred to as bariatric surgery, changes how the digestive system processes food. Surgical weight loss procedures are often used as part of a treatment plan that includes diet, exercise and counseling. Weight loss surgery works by either restrictive or malabsorptive methods. 

Restrictive bariatric surgery 

Gastric bypass and gastric sleeve procedures restrict the amount of food the patient’s stomach can hold. The change in stomach volume means individuals will feel fuller sooner which results in subsequent weight loss. 

Malabsorptive weight loss surgery

The Gastric Bypass uses restriction and malabsorption to help patients lose weight. Malabsorptive weight loss procedures change how food is processed by reducing the overall length and function of the digestive system. A Gastric Bypass will redirect ingested food past a section of the small intestine and reduce the digestion of food and calories. 

Surgical weight loss is often used to treat obesity and morbid obesity. Along with significantly improving chances of weight loss, treatment can improve conditions such as cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes.

Types of Weight Loss Surgery

There are various kinds of weight loss surgery, the three most commonly performed procedures are:

Gastric Sleeve

Gastric Sleeve surgery involves the removal of a large portion of the stomach and is performed laparoscopically. The changes in stomach size and function limit the amount of food that can be eaten as well as the metabolic function of the stomach. Individuals can also expect a reduction in appetite and feelings of hunger between meals.  

Gastric Sleeve surgery is a moderately invasive procedure that offers patients an effective way of losing 65-70% of excess weight. It is also considered to offer patients a very good quality of life following surgery. Unlike Gastric Banding, Gastric Sleeve allows patients to tolerate most food without vomiting or burping which may be associated with gastric banding. 

Gastric Bypass 

Gastric Bypass surgery is considered one of the best-known surgical treatments for rapid weight loss. Gastric Bypass uses a combination of restriction and malabsorption to achieve weight loss. The size stomach is reduced to limit portion size, and the function of the digestive tract is altered to reduce the amount of calories that can be digested. The changes in how food is processed have also been shown to improve and in some cases resolve type II diabetes. 

Gastric Bypass can help patients lose up to 80% of excess weight and is often recommended following unsuccessful weight loss treatments. The procedure does carry some additional risks when compared to Gastric Sleeve but still offers a good quality of life for patients. 

Gastric Banding 

Gastric Banding, also known as Lap Band surgery, is a minimally invasive procedure performed laparoscopically (by keyhole surgery). During the procedure, a surgeon places a silicone band around the upper portion of the stomach. The silicone band is adjusted to reduce the size of the stomach and limit the amount of food that can be consumed. The lap band is intended to stay in place to control food intake. 

Gastric Band surgery does not change the digestive process and is completely reversible. Compared to other weight loss procedures, gastric banding has a much shorter recovery time. Most patients will stay in the hospital for one day and can expect to be off work for 1 week. 

Am I a candidate for weight loss surgery?

Dr Kuzinkovas will assess your circumstances to determine if you qualify for weight loss surgery at one of his conveniently located Sydney offices. During your consultation, your general health will be assessed along with: 

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Suitable candidates generally require a Body Mass Index calculation. A BMI is a calculation of an individual’s weight divided by their height. The calculation is an approximate measure of total body fat and is one of the key measurements used to determine if they qualify for weight loss surgery. Generally speaking, individuals with a BMI over 35, and BMI over 30 with comorbidities will qualify for weight loss surgery. 


Comorbidities are another key criteria used to assess whether an individual qualifies for weight loss surgery. Comorbidity is the presence of more than one health condition and often refers to chronic conditions such as:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Asthma
  • Sleep apnea

Failed previous weight loss attempts

Many people have made substantial efforts to lose weight through diet, exercise, and other methods but have yet to achieve long-term success. 

Commitment to lifestyle changes

Successful weight loss outcomes often depend on an individual’s commitment to significant lifestyle changes. Regular exercise, nutritional counseling and ongoing psychological support are part of Dr Kuzinkovas’ approach to surgical weight loss. 

Psychological evaluation

In some circumstances, a psychological assessment may be required to ensure an individual has realistic expectations for the surgical outcomes. Psychological support may also be recommended to ensure candidates are equipped to navigate any challenges encountered on their weight loss journey. 

Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery offers numerous benefits, including:

Significant weight loss

Depending on the procedure recommended by Dr Kuzinkovas, patients can expect to lose between 40%-80% of excess weight. Like most procedures, the expected results are a guide and will differ from case to case. Achieving optimal weight loss also depends on the post-surgical plan and is improved by following dietary and lifestyle recommendations. 

Resolution of obesity-related health conditions

Many individuals see improvements or remission in conditions such as type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and hypertension after weight loss surgery. 

  • Enhanced mobility – Weight loss can improve mobility and provide individuals with significant improvements in quality of life. 
  • Improved mental health – Many of Dr Kuzinkovas’ patients report improvement in general mental health with some patients reporting a reduction of symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.
  • Long-term results – As a result of most weight loss procedures being permanent, long-term weight loss and maintenance are easier to achieve for many individuals. 

What are the risks involved with weight loss surgery? 

While weight loss surgery can be life-changing, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks. These can include: 

General surgical complications – Like any surgical procedure, there are risks of complications such as infection, bleeding, and adverse reactions to anesthesia.

Nutritional deficiencies – Procedures that involve malabsorption can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which may require lifelong supplementation.

Lifestyle changes – Patients considering weight loss surgery will need to commit to lifestyle changes, including dietary modifications and regular exercise to maintain their weight loss. 

Mental health – Weight loss surgery can have emotional and psychological effects in any individual and a holistic approach to weight loss surgery will provide the necessary support before and after surgery. 

Long-term commitment – Weight loss surgery is not a quick fix. It requires a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle to maintain weight loss.

The Advanced Surgicare Program

Dr Kuzinkovas has been helping people achieve their weight loss goals and appreciates the need for a holistic approach to sustainable weight loss. The Advanced Surgicare Program is a comprehensive approach to weight loss with surgery and places the preparation for surgery and post-surgical follow up as important stages in the weight loss journey. The program includes:

  • Comprehensive screening
  • Patient Education
  • Postoperative follow-up
  • Nutritional advice before and after surgery
  • Psychological counseling 

Start your weight loss surgery journey today

Weight loss surgery has the potential to offer life-changing improvements for individuals struggling to lose weight. A structured approach to surgical weight loss can improve general health and well-being. If you’d like to know about any of the above information, you are welcome to request a free phone consultation. 

Dr Vytauras Kuzinkovas is an Advanced Laparoscopic Surgeon and has performed more than 5,000 weight loss procedures. He is actively involved in the training of medical students and surgical trainees. Please do not hesitate to contact Advanced Surgicare Clinic at 1300 551 533 to address your queries or schedule a consultation. 

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