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Weight-loss (Metabolic & Bariatric) Surgery

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Definition & Facts

Weight-loss surgery, also called metabolic and bariatric surgery, is an operation that makes changes to the digestive system. It is intended for people who have obesity and need to lose weight but have not been able to do so through other means.

Two young people jogging up steps.

Types of Weight-loss Surgery

The type of weight-loss surgery that may be best for you depends on a number of factors. You should discuss surgery options with your doctor.

Weight-loss Surgery Benefits

Weight-loss surgery can help you lose weight and improve many health problems related to obesity.

Weight-loss Surgery Side Effects

Weight-loss surgery can have immediate and later-emerging side effects, and it may require follow-up procedures.

Potential Candidates for Weight-loss Surgery

Weight-loss surgery may be an option for adults who have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more or a BMI of 35 or more with a serious health problem linked to obesity.

Clinical Trials for Weight-loss Surgery

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research into many diseases and conditions.

Your Digestive System & How It Works

The digestive system is made up of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract—also called the digestive tract—and the liver, pancreas, and the gallbladder. The GI tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus.

Related Research

See more about obesity research at NIDDK.

Last Reviewed July 2016

This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.

The NIDDK would like to thank:
Anita P. Courcoulas, M.D., University of Pittsburgh, and Thomas Inge, M.D. Ph.D., Children’s Hospital of Colorado