If you are like most people, when you are looking for information on a subject you are interested in, you spend a good deal of time doing internet research. The internet is the information highway and you can find data about almost anything under the sun. This is an amazing advantage over the manual process of going to the library and gathering details from several different sources from only three decades ago!
As wonderful as it is to have information at our disposal 24/7, the internet does have its drawbacks. Some of the information that is circulating is outdated and some of it is inaccurate.
If you have been online seeking help to lose weight or looking for information about weight loss procedures, it would not be surprising if you found yourself confused. The sheer amount of information that exists is mind-boggling and it is often hard to tell the updated or newer information from older or outdated information.
We get questions all the time from people who run across information about endoscopic surgery for weight loss and the more they research, the more confused they get. Today, we are going to shed some light on why they become confused and why using “weight loss surgery” and “endoscopic” together is misleading and not accurate.
Surgery vs Endoscopy
Each word we use has a meaning and some words have more than one meaning, which can make things confusing at times, but the two words we are going to look at today have entirely different meanings. The words surgery and endoscopy refer to two different procedures but their meanings are often confused.
- When looking up the definition of the word surgery in the Oxford Dictionary, the description says that surgery is the practice of treating a disease, injury, or deformity with a repair, physical removal, or relocating of tissues or organs and normally requires one or more incisions.
- This is a term that indicates a procedure that employs the use of a medical device called an endoscope. Endoscopes are designed for different purposes, but they allow doctors to investigate and sometimes treat or biopsy internal organs or structures inside the body without having to make any incisions.
To keep it simple, if incisions need to be made, it is considered surgery. If a special tool is used to access the treatment area via a normal opening already existing on the body, it is an endoscopic procedure and not surgery.
So, What Is Endoscopic Weight Loss Surgery?
We have determined as described above, that unlike surgery, endoscopy does not require any incisions. So when the phrase endoscopic weight loss surgery is used, what the author actually means is a procedure that is used for weight loss and offers similar results as surgery, but it is completed without the use of incisions. Endoscopic procedures are not surgical procedures.
Which Weight Loss Procedures Are Endoscopic And Which Require Surgery?
Knowing the difference between endoscopic weight loss and surgery that is done to promote weight loss is pretty straightforward once you understand that surgery requires incisions.
- Surgical Weight Loss Procedures
- Gastric sleeve
This is the most commonly performed type of bariatric weight loss surgery and is normally done using laparoscopy. It is called by a few different names, but they all refer to the same surgical procedure – vertical sleeve gastrectomy, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, VSG, or LSG;
- Gastric bypass (Roux-en-y);
- Duodenal switch (biliopancreatic diversion with a duodenal switch);
- Gastric lap band or gastric band;
- Gastric sleeve
- Endoscopic Weight Loss Procedures
If Endoscopic Procedures Do Not Use Incisions, How Are They Done?
Endoscopic procedures are done through a pre-existing natural opening on the human body instead of through incisions created by a surgeon. A bariatric endoscopic procedure for weight loss uses the patient’s mouth and throat as the entrance point.
The endoscope is a thin, flexible tube that has a light and a tiny camera on one end. This camera streams real-time video to a nearby monitor and helps guide the doctor during the procedure. The endoscope is lowered down the patient’s throat into the stomach and the weight loss procedure is performed without any incisions or removing any portion of the digestive system.
What Kind Of Doctor Performs Surgery vs Endoscopy?
Surgeons are medical professionals who have completed not only the requirements to become a doctor but have also met the qualifications to become a surgeon. Many surgeons pursue specialties, which means they are exceptionally skilled at performing a specific type of surgery.
- A Bariatric Surgeon
- All surgeons are doctors, but not all doctors are surgeons. A bariatric surgeon specializes in surgeries that help promote weight loss in obese patients. Surgical intervention is often required to mitigate an individual’s risk of developing one of the various life-threatening conditions that are associated with obesity. A bariatric surgeon may also be trained in endoscopy but most are not.
- A Gastroenterologist
- A doctor who performs endoscopic procedures is a gastroenterologist. They receive the most extensive amount of training on endoscopy while in medical school and beyond. A gastroenterologist treats issues related to the digestive system, and one might specialize in the upper GI tract (stomach, esophagus, intestines) or the lower GI tract (pancreas, gallbladder, liver, etc).
When you are looking for a gastroenterologist to perform an endoscopic weight loss procedure, you need to ensure their area of expertise and experience with endoscopic weight loss procedures. Less than 1% of the doctors in the United States are trained in obesity management, which is vital to a patient’s success when attempting weight loss.
Choose Your Doctor Carefully
Finding a gastroenterologist who is experienced in performing the Orbera balloon or ESG procedure and who is also trained in obesity management may be a bit tricky but is critical to ensuring patient safety and procedure results.
Dr. Okeefe Simmons of Simmons Advanced Weight Loss Solutions in Miami has completed thousands of endoscopic procedures and is this nation’s first doctor to be triple fellowship-trained in obesity medicine, bariatric endoscopy, and gastroenterology. As an expert in his field and with his proven track record, he is worth traveling to see if you are not in town.
Set up an appointment with Dr. Simmons today and find out how an endoscopic weight loss procedure can help you. He and the professional experts at Simmons Advanced Weight Loss Solutions can answer your questions and clear up any confusion about endoscopic weight loss and why it is not surgery.