Weight Loss Surgery Definitions:
American Board of Surgery
This is the official certifying agency for American
surgeons. A surgeon who is "Board Certified"
has completed a recognized residency program in general
surgery and passed extremely rigorous written and oral
exams. Surgeons who have recently graduated from residency
or fellowship programs are usually "Board Eligible,"
meaning they are eligible to take the Board certifying
exam. You can find out more about the Board at their
web site: www.absurgery.org
for Bariatric Surgery
This is the largest bariatric surgery society in the
world. It was created in 1983 to "advance the art
and science of bariatric surgery." Most surgeons
who have committed a major portion of their practice
to weight loss (bariatric) surgery are members of this
society. You can learn more about the society at their
web site: asbs.org.
See American Society for Bariatric Surgery.
Incomplete expansion of the lung. This is very
common after abdominal surgery and is one of the most
common sources of fever in the immediate postoperative
The word "bariatric" comes from the Greek
word baros, meaning weight. Bariatric surgery is another
word for weight loss surgery, which is surgery designed
to treat severe obesity.
Body Mass Index
Also called BMI. It is equal to your weight (in kilograms)
divided by the square of your height (in meters). You
can figure out your BMI using the BMI Calculator at
this web site.
An abbreviation for A BiPAP machine is a breathing assist
device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides
nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep
Apnea. See also CPAP.
An abbreviation for Constant Positive Airway Pressure.
A CPAP machine is a breathing assist device which is
worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief
for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea. See also
Deep Vein Thrombosis
(Also called DVT)
This is another name for blood clots that form in the
deep veins of the legs and pelvis. People recovering
from abdominal surgery are at increased risk for these
clots, as are overweight individuals.
High blood sugar. Also called diabetes mellitus. Diabetes
can occur when your body doesn't make enough insulin
to keep your blood sugar controlled. This is called
Type I diabetes. In overweight individuals, diabetes
is often caused by insulin resistance, where insulin
levels may be elevated, but the body's tissues are resistant
to its effects. This is also known as Type II diabetes.
This occurs to gastric bypass patients after eating
sweets or carbohydrates. They may feel queasy and sweaty,
and may suffer from diarrhea afterward. This is an intentional
side-effect of the operation which has been called the
"postop police officer," since it discourages
sweet eating, and encourages weight loss.
See Deep Vein Thrombosis.
A restrictive operation in which a plastic band
is placed around the upper portion of the stomach. Recently,
adjustable gastric bands have become available that
can be placed laparoscopically.
Also called the "Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass."
This operation is considered by many to represent the
"gold standard" weight loss operation. It
involves the creation of a small stomach pouch which
is connected to a Y-shaped limb of small intestine.
It causes weight loss through a combination of restriction,
malabsorption, and dumping syndrome.
Heart disease takes many forms. Usually, heart
disease occurs due to inadequate blood flow to the hear
muscle. This occurs when the arteries that supply the
heart muscle (the coronary arteries) become partially
or completely blocked. Obese people are at increased
risk of heart disease due to their higher rates of hypercholesterolemia,
diabetes and hypertension.
The medical term for high blood cholesterol.
Many patients find that their blood cholesterol decreases
significantly after weight loss surgery.
The medical term for high blood pressure. Hypertension
is associated with severe obesity. Many individuals
requiring medication for hypertension are able to decrease
or eliminate these medicines after surgically-assisted
After surgery, you will be given a small plastic
device with a flexible hose attached to it (kind of
like a snorkel). The nurses will teach you how to suck
air in through the device to exercise your lungs. This
will help you to avoid atelectasis and pneumonia following
surgery. You should take you incentive spirometer home
with you, so that you can continue your breathing exercises
When an abdominal incision does not heal properly,
a defect in the fascia (the strong tissues that surround
the abdominal muscles) may form. The intestine, or other
abdominal organs, may then protrude through this defect.
This may cause pain or discomfort, in addition to a
visible bulge. If the intestines become stuck in the
hernia, this is called an incarcerated hernia. If the
edges of the hernia squeeze the blood supply to the
intestine, the intestine can become strangulated; this
is a surgical emergency!
A narrow surgical telescope, usually 5 mm (1/4")
to 10 mm (1/2") in diameter, that can be inserted
into the abdomen through a very small incision. A small
video camera is usually attached to the outer end of
the scope, so that the image may be viewed on a TV monitor.
Surgery performed through multiple small incisions (1/4"
to 1/2" long) using specially-designed surgical
instruments and viewed through a laparoscope, or surgical
An operation, such as the biliopancreatic diversion,
which causes weight loss by decreasing the number of
calories your body absorbs from the food you eat. Different
procedures may cause varying malabsorption of fats,
carbohydrates, and protein.
Surgery done through a large incision in the abdominal
wall, using traditional surgical instruments. In heavy
patients, these large incisions are at risk of infection
and hernia formation.
Infection in the lung. Patients who are recovering
from abdominal surgery are at risk for this problem.
Walking, and the use of incentive spirometry, can substantially
reduce this risk.
A weight-loss procedure which works primarily
by decreasing the functional size of the stomach. This
decreases the amount of food which can be eaten at one
time. Examples include gastric banding and vertical-banded
gastroplasty (VBG). The LAP-BAND® is the newest purely
Apnea is the medical term for "stopping
breathing." Many obese people have difficulty breathing
when they sleep. The fatty tissues in the pharynx and
neck can compress the airway and block it. When this
occurs, the body's carbon dioxide levels rise to uncomfortable
and unsafe levels. This may cause you to wake up many
times throughout the night. For this reason, patients
with sleep apnea sleep very poorly, and wake up in the
morning still feeling tired. They remain tired throughout
the day, sometimes falling asleep in the middle of a
conversation or while driving. Sleep apnea may be relieved
by using a CPAP or BiPAP device at night. These are
breathing assist devices that are worn over the face
to help with breathing at night time. After weight loss
surgery, sleep apnea usually gets much better. Most
patients who needed to use CPAP or BiPAP machines before
surgery are able to stop using them within several months
This procedure, also known as VBG, involves the
creation of a vertical pouch in the upper stomach. While
it is a safe procedure, the amount of weight loss achieved
is typically less than that of other procedures such
as gastric bypass or biliopancreatic diversion with
Q. How can I find out the meaning
of a word that's not listed in the glossary
A. Feel free to submit a new question to one
of the surgeons at the Mount Sinai Program for
Surgical Weight Loss. Click
here to submit a question.