History of Weight Loss Surgery

Let's take a look back in time before we had the medical technology of today, and see how society handled weight loss surgery. 

In the past, we used several odd methods to promote weight loss. Products like the vibrating belt machines, fat erasing soap, and others were promoted by celebrities and ad agencies on the small black and white television sets. How did we come up with the idea of weight loss surgery? We took a deep dive into the historical aspect of this medical procedure.

The First Bariatric Surgery

According to the Story of Obesity Surgery, the first form of weight loss surgery was performed in the 1950's at the University of Minnesota. This procedure was studied by doctors and medical professionals alike, it was later developed into a practiced procedure in 1963.

At the time, the first weight loss procedure was called the jejunoileal bypass surgery. Jejunoileal bypass surgery involved bypassing the majority of the small intestine to promote effective weight loss. About 90% of the small intestine was bypassed, preventing food to reach this organ. Preventing nutrients from food to reach the small intestine caused many health issues. The jejunoileal and jejunocolic procedure both involved bypassing the small intestine cause patients to suffer nutritional deficiencies.

Those who underwent the surgery suffered from vitamin deficiencies that doctors did not trace back to their surgeries until it was too late. Common deficiencies included vitamins A, D, E, K caused patients to experience poor eyesight, fatigue, hair loss, and clotting. Eventually, patients would experience organ failure and chronic diarrhea, causing most of the patients to die of malnutrition, dehydration, and deficiency. Soon doctors were able to link the illnesses back to their initial surgery. 

The jejunoileal and the jejunocolic procedures are no longer used today due to the high health risks that occurred post-procedure. 

A Better Way

In 1967, Dr. Edward Manson from the University of Minnesota developed the first successful form of bypass surgery. He noticed patients who underwent partial stomach removal for ulcers lost a substantial amount of weight. With this in mind, he further studied partial organ removal surgery and created a weight loss procedure based on that idea. Patients who had parts of their stomach and intestines removed were able to lose substantial weight and were able to keep it off without experiencing drastic side effects. Manson's procedure involved stapling the stomach and bypassing a portion of the small intestine, it is often referred to as intestinal bypass. 

In the 1970s, Italian surgeon Dr. Nicola Scopinaro developed the biliopancreatic diversion. This procedure involves the partial removal of the stomach, leaving a small pouch and rerouting the intestines. This affects the amount of food your body can digest. According to the Health Partner for Weight Loss surgery, clinical studies have shown that 94% of patients lost up to 70% of excess body weight after a year post surgery. 

Gastric Sleeve

The first gastric sleeve surgery was conducted in the late 1980's by Doug Hess. He studied and evaluated results of a biliopancreatic diversion combined with the duodenal switch procedure. His conclusion showed overweight patients with type 2 diabetes were cured of their disease and their overall lives were "vastly improved."His results showed that patients did not experience ulcers, dumping syndrome, nor did they regain mass amounts of weight. His studies were further developed and used in the medical field, today it is considered one of the most popular weight loss procedures. 

Gastric Band

The gastric band is also popular but a less common practice done today. The gastric band procedure involved placing an adjustable silicone band around the top portion of the stomach. This is designed to restrict food intake, allowing you to feel full longer after eating a small portion of food. Unlike the other procedures mentioned, gastric bands do not require stapling or partial removal of any organs. It can even be removed if need be.

The gastric band procedure was initially developed in the 1980's by Dr. Lubomyr Kuzmak. His design inspired other medical professionals to further develop the gastric band. Today there are several different adjustable bands that are available to patients. The gastric band procedure has minimal health risks and has lower results of weight loss as compared to the gastric procedures. 

Weight Loss Procedures today

Today the most popular forms of weight loss surgery are the gastric bypass, adjustable gastric band, gastric sleeve and duodenal switch. Weight loss surgery and procedures gained popularity during the late 1990s when celebrities publicly admitted to using it. Celebrities like Roseanne Barr, Randy Jackson, and Sharon Osbourne have admitted to using weight loss procedures to turn their lives around for the better.

Weight loss surgery results vary not only on the surgical aspect but on the patient's eating habits and lifestyle. Success rates are dependent on the patient's willingness to exercise regularly and maintain a strict diet plan.

We know the hardest part about weight loss surgery is sticking to a diet. Luckily on our store, we offer a wide variety of bariatric friendly products that will help you during this weight loss journey. We offer meal replacements, vitamins, supplements, even snacks that will keep you on track.

If you are considering weight loss surgery and unsure if you qualify, there are several factors that determine if weight loss surgery is right for you. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, or ASMBS, consider the following qualifications:

A BMI that is equal or greater than 40, or an excess of 100 pounds.

A BMI that is equal or greater than 35, with at least two obesity-related conditions, like type 2 diabetes.

An inability to lose weight through conventional methods in spite of prior weight loss efforts.

If you feel you meet any of these weight loss surgery qualifications, speak with a board-certified bariatric surgeon to determine the next step to take.