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Robotic Bariatric Surgery


If you suffer from severe obesity, and have been unable to lose weight, your doctor may recommend robotic bariatric surgery.

Your digestive system, or gastrointestinal tract, includes your mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.

Your pancreas, liver, and gallbladder squirt digestive juices into your small intestine to help breakdown the food you eat.

Your doctor may recommend bariatric surgery if you: are unable to lose weight and keep it off through diet and exercise alone,

have a body mass index, or BMI, above 40,

have a BMI above 35 and you have a life-threatening condition, such as heart disease or diabetes,

or weigh more than 100 pounds over your ideal body weight, or IBW.

Bariatric surgery helps you lose weight by

decreasing the size of your stomach so that it holds less food and makes you feel full more quickly.

Your procedure may include bypassing some of your small intestine to decrease the length of the path of food

through your digestive system, as well as the amount of calories absorbed from the food.

Before your procedure, an intravenous line will be started.

You may be given antibiotics through the IV to decrease your chance of infection.

You will be given general anesthesia.

A breathing tube will be inserted through your mouth and down your throat to help you breathe during the operation.

Your surgeon will make a small incision near your belly button and insert a plastic tube, called a port.

Carbon dioxide gas will be pumped into your abdomen through this port.

The gas will inflate your abdomen, giving your surgeon more room to see and move the surgical tools.

After your abdomen is inflated, a high-definition camera will be inserted into this port.

Your surgeon will make additional port incisions for robotic instruments as well as for instruments used by patient-side assistants.

An assistant will insert all of the robotic tools through these ports.

Unlike standard laparoscopic instruments, these tools can rotate 360 degrees, and have more flexibility than the human wrist.

Seated at a special console,

your surgeon will operate the robotic arms and the camera with “joystick-like” controls, and foot pedals.

A computer will translate the exact movements of your surgeon’s fingers into precise movements of the surgical tools.

At the same time, a high definition vision system will provide a magnified three-dimensional stereoscopic view of the surgical area.

Two common robotic bariatric surgical procedures are adjustable gastric banding and gastric bypass.

If you are having an adjustable gastric banding procedure,

your surgeon will apply a restrictive band around your stomach to limit the amount of food your stomach can hold.

Tubing will connect the band to a port just beneath the skin of your abdomen.

Your surgeon will inject saline solution into the tubing to adjust the band’s tightness, as needed,

to hasten your weight loss or reduce side effects.

If you are having a gastric bypass procedure, your surgeon will create a small pouch in your stomach

and separate the rest of your stomach and upper section of your small intestine.

The lower section of your small intestine will be attached to the stomach pouch.

Then, your surgeon will reattach the upper section of your small intestine to a different part of your lower small intestine,

which will allow digestive juices from your pancreas, liver, and gallbladder to help digest your food.

At the end of either procedure, the tiny incisions will be closed with stitches, staples, surgical glue, or closure tape dressings.

After your procedure, your breathing tube will be removed and you will be taken to the recovery area for monitoring.

You’ll be given pain medication as needed. You may continue to receive antibiotics through your IV.

Most patients are released from the hospital one or two days after the procedure.