Metabolism is a process by which the body breaks down food to be used as energy or stored in the tissues. A metabolic disorder occurs when this process is disrupted by abnormal chemical reactions resulting in too much or too little of a substance in the body.

Being obese increases the risk of metabolic disorders such as diabetes, hypertension and abnormal cholesterol which can lead to heart disease. These risk factors, called metabolic syndrome include:

  • Increased abdominal girth
  • Increased triglyceride levels
  • Low HDL level
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased blood sugar levels

Weight loss surgery has been shown to dramatically improve or cure these metabolic risk factors, especially diabetes. This fact was first published in 1995 in an article called “Who would have thought it? An operation proves to be the most effective therapy for adult-onset diabetes mellitus” by Dr. Walter Pories and his team. After overwhelming evidence, the American Society of Bariatric Surgery (ASBS) changed its name to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) to make the point clear.

Today, we use the term metabolic surgery when weight loss surgery is performed to address metabolic disorders such as adult-onset diabetes mellitus. Well-established metabolic surgeries include gastric bypass surgery, gastric band and biliopancreatic diversion. Metabolic surgery may also be used to treat people with metabolic disease who are not obese by modifying certain weight loss surgeries. Established procedures include the vertical sleeve gastrectomy. Experimental procedures include ileal interposition, duojejunal bypass and intraluminal duodenal sleeve, a minimally invasive procedure. Your doctor will discuss the appropriate metabolic surgery for you.