weight loss surgery
You make many decisions everyday. Big ones, small ones, medium ones. But how many decisions are you making for your health? Your health should always be a top priority! For those considering weight loss surgery, there are two major decisions. First, is this really the right time to have weight loss surgery? And second, which surgery should you have?

Making the Decision to Have Weight Loss Surgery

First and foremost, you must be ready to completely change your lifestyle. From what you eat, how you eat, and how often you eat to how active you are and how you structure your days, many things will have to change to achieve long-term success after weight loss surgery. For some people, this drastic change is necessary and helpful. 

If you want to be considered for weight loss surgery at Birmingham Minimally Invasive, we will do a thorough exam and evaluation to find out if you are indeed a good candidate. Here are some of the things we will assess:

  • Previous efforts to lose weight with diet and exercise 
  • Body mass index (BMI) must be 40 or higher or you must have a BMI of 35 or higher combined with serious weight-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or severe sleep apnea
  • Nutrition and weight history, including weight trends, previous diet attempts, eating habits, exercise regimen, stress level, time constraints, motivation, and other factors
  • Other medical conditions that may increase the risks associated with having weight loss surgery or may be worsened by the surgery, such as blood clots, liver disease, heart problems, kidney stones, and nutritional deficiencies
  • Medications you take, how much alcohol you drink, and if you smoke
  • Psychological status since certain mental health conditions may contribute to obesity or make it more difficult for you to maintain health benefits after the surgery
  • Motivation since you need great willingness and ability to follow through with recommendations for lifestyle changes
  • There is no specific age limit for weight loss surgery, but this can impact our recommendations

There may be specific requirements and considerations related to each of our weight loss surgery options.

Which Kind of Weight Loss Surgery is Best For You?

This is a big decision, but not one you will make alone. Our surgeon, Dr. Long, will come alongside you to provide his expertise and experience. He will consider your unique needs and find the right option, and he’s the best when it comes to performing weight loss surgeries. Here’s a look at our three most popular weight loss surgeries.

Gastric Sleeve 

During gastric sleeve surgery, we basically cut away the top and largest part of the stomach called the fundus. This is where the hunger hormone, ghrelin, lives, and that’s why we often hear our post-surgery patients say they’re never hungry. Along with eliminating this hunger hormone, we’re also removing about 2/3 of the stomach, which is why these two combining factors lead to significant weight loss.

Compared to other options, gastric sleeve is considered to be a more simple procedure. We do not reroute the intestines like we do during gastric bypass, and we do not put in a foreign body as we do with the LAP-BAND. It typically takes only about 30 to 45 minutes, and we perform the surgery laparoscopically. This means we avoid the need for large abdominal incisions, which typically results in less pain, shorter hospital stays, and faster recovery.

Gastric Bypass

With the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, we create a very small stomach pouch that restricts food intake. Next, a Y-shaped section of the small intestine is attached to the pouch that allows food to bypass the lower stomach, the duodenum (the first segment of the small intestine), and the first portion of the jejunum (the second segment of the small intestine). This ultimately reduces the amount of food you can take in because you have a very small stomach that holds about one to two ounces. 

The bypass is usually a better option for our heavier patients because most will lose up to 80% of their excess body weight as opposed to about 60% with the sleeve. It’s also going to be the better option for anyone with severe acid reflux or poorly controlled diabetes since the bypass has proven to cure both. For patients with more weight to lose and more comorbidities, like sleep apnea, high blood pressure and/or diabetes, gastric bypass is typically a better procedure overall with more rapid weight loss. 

We sometimes hear that people have the impression that gastric bypass is more invasive than other options, but we take a minimally invasive approach. We typically make six incisions, and it’s done completely laparoscopically. It is a little more labor-intensive because we do change your anatomy. The inpatient surgery takes one to two hours and requires a hospital stay of one or two nights.  


During this procedure, we place the LAP-BAND, a band made of a special material, near the top of the stomach where it meets the esophagus. This creates a very small pouch that empties into the larger remaining portion of the stomach. The band is connected to a port, which is underneath the skin of the abdomen, and this port is how we put fluid in the band, allowing us to make the band opening larger or smaller in size, giving the patient more or less restriction.

We typically perform the LAP-BAND procedure in our outpatient surgery center, and you are usually discharged the same day. Some patients prefer the LAP-BAND because it is not permanent. We are not changing the anatomy of the stomach, and we can take the LAP-BAND out if you choose to do so.

Let Us Help You Decide Which Path to Take for Weight Loss

The goal with all of these procedures is weight loss, but it’s still important to keep in mind that no surgery is a magic fix for permanent weight loss. While it will certainly help, diet and exercise are still going to be important. Eating the right foods, not consuming excess calories, and establishing an exercise routine are essential when you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off.  

Making the decision to have weight loss surgery is huge. But even when you are certain that this is what you need to do, it can be overwhelming to move forward. Our surgeon and staff will be with you every step along the way, but we know that many patients like to be as informed as possible about their options. 

Find out more about the weight loss surgery options at Birmingham Minimally Invasive Surgery.

The caring group of professionals at Birmingham Minimally Invasive Surgery will help you get started on your weight loss journey and stay with you every step along the way. Dr. Long and his team specialize in all types of bariatric surgery, including gastric sleeve surgery, gastric bypass, and the LAP-BAND. Visit us today at http://www.bmisurgery.com/ or give us a call to set up a consultation at 205-833-6907.