Friday, September 22, 2023 Sep 22, 2023
87° F Dallas, TX
Ask the Expert i This advertising content was produced in collaboration between D Magazine and our sponsor, without involvement from D Magazine editorial staff.

What Are the Health Benefits of Bariatric Surgery Beyond Weight Loss?

Sachin S. Kukreja, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.A.S.M.B.S. gets down to the details and answers all of your questions about bariatric surgery.
By D Partner Studio |
Will bariatric surgery work best for me?

Each person has unique goals and health concerns that may make them better candidates for one procedure over another. Some operations may be better for patients with greater weight loss goals, such as those suffering from significant diabetes or joint pain, or for individuals who have reflux disease. We tailor the operation to each patient’s needs depending on the individual situation. Only after a comprehensive review of someone’s health history and goals can we assess which procedure is best.

Am I a good candidate?

In general, individuals with a BMI over 35kg/m2 with health problems that are associated with obesity, or individuals with a BMI over 40 are candidates for bariatric surgery. Each insurance plan has its own specific requirements. Most commonly, health problems that potentially make someone a candidate for bariatric surgery are diabetes, sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, high blood pressure, and joint disease.

How can I ensure results will last?

There is no magic to the surgery, as every one’s ability to maintain the weight loss varies. Having good support from friends and family and from your bariatric medical team is critical. Our dieticians are committed to our patients’ success. However, weight loss isn’t the only metric that matters. We also see long-term improvements in our patients’ health, such as no longer having diabetes or other life-threatening health issues. Surgery is the best treatment for obesity when the patients are emotionally and mentally ready to make a change. Surgery isn’t a silver bullet, but when people make a real commitment to changing their approach to their health, the results are life-changing.

Having good support from friends and family and from your bariatric medical team is critical.

What are the health benefits of bariatric surgery beyond weight loss?

Severely diabetic patients often normalize their sugars, sometimes even hours after the operation. At that point, they haven’t lost any weight, but the metabolic benefits of bariatric surgery have already started. We see people free themselves of insulin (or insulin-replacements), stop their blood pressure medications, throw away their CPAP machines, and fatty livers become normal. We have had patients who were pending joint replacement no longer need the operation, and people with declining kidneys prolonging their kidney function improve their eligibility for transplantation. Although many call bariatric surgery weight loss surgery, it really is metabolic surgery.

What should I expect for bariatric surgery preparation and recovery?

We need to ensure people are healthy and prepared for surgery. This may include a cardiovascular assessment, an understanding of their anatomy, and a dietary and mental preparedness assessment. After surgery, most people are in the hospital overnight, and some can go home the same day. Most patients are pain-free and can return to work in a few weeks.

What qualifications should I look for in a bariatric surgeon?

Bariatric surgeons start off as general surgeons and pursue a fellowship in minimally invasive and bariatric surgery. A bariatric surgeon should be able to offer the full range of endoscopic and surgical procedures. They should also be comfortable offering surgical revisions when necessary. This requires a different and more complete skill set. Additionally, a bariatric surgeon should have an understanding of the medical care of obesity.

What is robotic bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery has benefited from minimally invasive approaches for a while, but only recently have some surgeons adopted robotic surgery technology in the care of their bariatric patients. The robot puts a computer between the surgeon and the patient. This helps to increase the precision and visualization of surgery, resulting in improved outcomes.

Dr. Sachin Kukreja has been specializing in bariatric and general surgery for more than a decade. Patients seek his expertise so they can return to the lives they love. Dr. Kukreja is one of only a few surgeons in the U.S. who is board-certified in general surgery (2010) and obesity medicine (2013). He remains one of Dallas’ most active robotic surgeons and teaches other surgeons how to use the robotic platform. He offers comprehensive obesity care, including medication, nutrition counseling, nonsurgical weight loss options (gastric balloons and endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty), and the full range of bariatric surgery options, including revisions. Dr. Kukreja is a medical director at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. He has directed two bariatric surgery programs, has multiple publications in medical journals, and has written many book chapters. Given his vast experience, he is often invited to give numerous presentations on weight loss and general surgery throughout the country and has spoken and consulted for multiple surgical companies. He has also served as an assistant professor of surgery at UT Southwestern Medical School.

Related Articles


Medical City Performed the State’s First Cardiac Death Heart Transplant

In the U.K. the procedure increased heart donations by 30 percent.
Ask SideDish

Ask SideDish: Where to Dine and Drink in Dallas on a Budget?

Cash-strapped 20-somethings just want to have fu-un.