Weight Loss Surgery… It’s not just about the Surgery

Weight Loss Surgery… It’s not just about the Surgery

Obesity has overtaken smoking as the leading cause of premature death and illness in Australia. Obesity has become the single biggest threat to public health in Australia. The obesity crisis is not on its way – it is already here.
Obesity is no longer considered just a cosmetic issue, brought on by a lack of self-discipline. It is a complex condition with biological, genetic, behavioural, social, cultural, and environmental influences. The human body is made to survive in situations where food is scarce and high physical activity is the norm. However, in this day and age much of humanity is faced with just the opposite. Food is overabundant and physical activity is actually a break from the normal daily routine. As a society, we experience high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, fewer opportunities for physical activity and greater exposure to marketing of obesity-promoting products.


Weight loss surgery, known as bariatric surgery, is recognised by the National Institutes of Health as the only effective long-term treatment for severe obesity. It can reverse related health complications such as diabetes and obstructive sleep apnoea, and improve quality of life.

Bariatric surgeries are designed to impact on true physiological hunger. But internal hunger is not the only trigger for eating. Many external factors trigger a person to eat and influence their food choices and eating behaviour. Weight loss surgery is most effective when combined with nutritional and psychological care, which is sometimes complex, always ongoing and differs from person to person.

Dr Jordaan is an upper gastrointestinal surgeon with over 20 years of experience, who heads the Surgical Weight Loss Centre. He says the key to successful surgical weight loss goes far beyond the surgery itself.

“It is not just the operation that is important; it is about choosing a surgeon with a team of professionals who are dedicated to ensuring you stay on track, reach your goals and sustain your weight loss for life,” says Dr Jordaan.

Dr Jordaan says it’s vital that a team of professionals work together to identify the specific issues that have prevented a person from achieving their weight loss goals to date, and to help them overcome these hurdles for a healthy future.

“A safe and successful procedure is paramount, but it is just the first step in a life-long commitment by the patient and the surgical team to ensure weight loss is sustained long into the future.”

“A good surgical weight loss program takes a holistic approach to treatment and care to ensure patients are guided through the entire process with customised advice for every phase of the weight loss journey,” he says.



Studies show that surgeries performed by an experienced surgeon result in fewer complications. Your surgeon should have extensive experience operating on the upper gastrointestinal tract and performing the specific procedure you are undertaking. No single weight loss surgery procedure is best for everyone. If a surgeon only performs one procedure, ask why.
Weight loss surgery procedures evolve with technology. Your surgeon should actively participate in continuing education specific to bariatric surgery and groups such as the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity (IFSO).

Anaesthetic and perioperative care also contribute to an un-complicated recovery from bariatric surgery. It is essential that the whole team has substantial training and experience specific to the treatment of bariatric surgery patients.


All surgeries have risks and benefits, including bariatric surgery. Obesity related health complications can put people with obesity into a higher risk category for surgery. Pre-operative assessment is key to maximising safety. Your surgeon should rigorously assess and investigate your health. This includes arranging reviews and investigations by other specialists, such as cardiologists or gastroenterologists, to manage any existing conditions before, during and after the operation to ensure your safety.

What often surprises people is that more than a third of candidates for bariatric surgery have ‘high calorie malnutrition’, with vitamin and mineral deficiencies present before surgery. A detailed nutritional screening is required before surgery.


Bariatric surgery reduces the volume of food that can be eaten. The quality of the food consumed and compliance with recommended supplements remains the choice of the patient, making nutritional care and food choice important lifelong. Specialised dietetic advice is essential at each phase:

  • Before surgery: to identify factors that may impact on your long-term success, such as your dietary beliefs and behaviours, cultural background.
    After surgery: to support and troubleshoot your transition from liquids to puree and then back onto solids to ensure your nutrient requirements match your appetite within the texture permitted.
    Over the long-term they monitoring and prevent nutrient deficiencies and maximise weight loss. Symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiency are commonly non-specific, and most characteristic physical findings are seen late in the course of nutrient deficiency.
  • Dr Jacobus (Jorrie) Jordaan MB ChB MMed Surg (Pret) (Hons) FCS(SA) FRACS is a Specialist Upper Gastrointestinal and Endocrine surgeon with 25 years of experience. Having performed many thousands of advanced and complicated surgical operations, he is among Australia’s most experienced specialists in minimally invasive weight loss (bariatric) surgery. Dr Jordaan is professionally known for his meticulous surgical technique and attention to detail, his exceptionally low complication rate, his ethical conduct and remarkable overall patient care.


Emotional support is vital. Most people in society have developed their eating patterns over time to meet more than just their physical needs but also for comfort, for socialisation, to combat boredom or to overcome fatigue. Sometimes, obesity has psychological causes that need to be addressed. A psychologist can assist patients to identify and overcome potential barriers that may hinder their weight loss success.


It is important that the whole treatment process runs smoothly. A bariatric nurse can case manage each patient to coordinate the appointments and information streams involved and ensure nothing is forgotten.


Ongoing coordinated care that links with the bariatric dietitian and others involved in the weight management team maximises the health benefits for the patient by preventing nutrient deficiencies and maximising long term weight loss.

“It is important to take the time to get to know your patients so you can understand their struggles, determine what they need to succeed and make a commitment to supporting them to successful, long-term weight loss.” Says Dr Jordaan.

“We ensure our patients have accesses to lifelong support through wellness workshops, psychology support groups, dietetic reviews and follow-ups with bariatric nurses to monitor nutrition profiles.”

“With the right dedication and support, people can turn their life around and achieve permanent weight control for a healthy future.”

For more information, contact us here or call (07) 5556 8888.