In the early 1990s, approximately 16,000 people had bariatric surgery in the United States. In 2008, it was estimated that the number of people who had undergone the procedure had climbed to 220,000, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). With obesity rates on the rise, this type of surgery is likely to become more common in years to come.

Bariatric surgery is a general term that refers to any type of weight loss surgery. These procedures are viewed as a last resort for people who are obese, at least 100 lbs. over their ideal body weight, and need to lose a significant amount of weight for health purposes.

One of the most well-known procedures of this type is gastric bypass surgery, which makes the stomach smaller and allows food to bypass part of the small intestine. The operation tricks the patient into feeling full with less food than when their stomach was its original size.

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