beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

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Surgical Options

Weight loss surgery changes the way your digestive system works by closing off parts of the stomach. Making the stomach smaller means that you feel full after eating a small amount of food. Operations that reduce stomach size are known as restrictive operations because they restrict the amount of food the stomach can hold.

Some operations combine restriction with a partial bypass of the small intestine (the intestines are where food and nutrients are absorbed into the body). By creating a detour around part of the intestine, less food is absorbed. Operations that use this mechanism to enhance weight loss are called malabsorptive operations.

There are a number of different restrictive and malabsorptive operations being done. Three are done at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Three additional surgeries are not done at Beth Israel Deaconess: the vertical banded gastroplasty (stomach stapling, a restrictive operation), the biliopancreatic diversion (a malabsorptive operation), and the duodenal switch (a malabsorptive operation).

Am I eligible for WLS?

Patients must meet specific criteria, based on guidelines established by the National Institutes of Health, before they will be considered for an evaluation with our team.  Most patients who enter our program have a BMI of 40 or greater. Other factors that suggest surgery may be a good option include:

  • Be a minimum of 100 pounds overweight.
  • Serious medical conditions related to weight, such as diabetes, sleep apnea or heart disease. (If these are present, surgery may be considered if the BMI is between 35 and 40.)
  • Age between 18 and 65 years (with some exceptions)
  • A long history of obesity, with many failed formal, structured and/or documented attempts at weight loss
  • No current issues with drug or alcohol abuse
  • No serious psychiatric illness, such as problems that would impair someone's ability to follow a program of lifetime health management and follow-up

Contact Information

Weight Loss Surgery Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Shapiro Clinical Center, 3rd Floor
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215