Which Type of Weight Loss Surgery Is Right for You?
If you have struggled with weight loss in the past, weight loss surgery is a viable solution that has helped countless others. However, it’s important to know the different types of bariatric surgery available, so you can make an informed decision. The information below will help you choose the type of weight loss surgery that’s right for you.
Types of Weight Loss Procedures
Bariatric surgery procedures generally fall into 2 categories. Restrictive procedures prevent you from eating too much food, while malabsorptive procedures prevent your body from digesting and absorbing much of the food you eat. Some procedures incorporate both methods as a weight loss measure. Here are the types of weight loss procedures in more detail.
Gastric bypass is also referred to as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. It’s both a restrictive and malabsorptive procedure because it converts a small area of the stomach into a pouch that stores and digests foods.
This shrinks your stomach, forcing you to eat less. Additionally, it connects the small intestines directly to that pouch. So, about 90 to 95% of the stomach is bypassed, which reduces the amount of calories and fat your body can absorb.
When a patient eats food, it goes straight to the small intestines. Gastric bypass is one of the most popular types of weight-loss surgery. It’s usually recommended for people with high BMIs. Besides weight loss, rerouting the GI tract can also help improve gut health and conditions like severe reflux disease and diabetes.
A gastric sleeve or a sleeve gastrectomy changes the shape of your stomach, so it resembles that of a sleeve. The procedure removes about 80 to 85% of the stomach and reshapes the remaining portion. It works because the stomach portion that’s removed is responsible for stimulating the hunger signal.
Unlike gastric bypass, the procedure involves operating only on the stomach, and it’s typically less costly. Additionally, it has fewer risks associated with it. Therefore, it’s often recommended for people who have had multiple abdominal surgeries. Because of severe scar tissue, bypassing a large portion of the stomach and operating on the small intestine would be risky or impossible. But since sleeve gastrectomy only involves the upper part of the abdomen, there’s less chance of scar tissue getting in the way. High risk patients, such as those with heart or lung problems can also benefit from a sleeve gastrectomy.
The procedure is not only shorter, but the recovery time is also faster. Last but not least, a gastric sleeve is usually a much better option for people with a very high BMI as well as those who take multiple medications to treat psychiatric illness.
If there’s too much fat inside the abdomen, surgeons won’t have the maneuvering room required for a gastric bypass. Secondly, a gastric bypass can interfere with the absorption and effectiveness of medication, so the patient may become unstable.
Biliopancreatic Diversion/Duodenal Switch
BPD/DS is a combination of 2 weight-loss procedures. These 2 procedures are a bit more complicated because they involve a complete rerouting of the GI tract.
Additionally, the stomach is shaped into a sleeve that’s connected to a small portion of the small intestine. The complete rerouting of the GI tract makes this procedure highly effective. However, it also puts the patient at risk of malnutrition.
On top of that, your anatomy is being altered at a higher level, which increases the risk of complications. Therefore, duodenal switches are rarely recommended as a weight-loss option. Still, and as mentioned, it usually results in more weight loss, which can be a lifesaver for people with severe obesity.
It can also help alleviate the symptoms of diabetes and severe metabolic disease. That’s because the duodenal switch can help promote hormonal balance in the GI tract. If you’re considering undergoing this weight loss surgery, it’s crucial to find a reputable and experienced weight loss surgeon to minimize the risks involved.
Be sure to follow your doctor’s orders as strictly as possible. For instance, you’ll be at less risk of malnutrition if you are compliant with your vitamins and post-op follow-up recommendations.
Adjustable Gastric Band
The adjustable gastric band, aka the Lap-Band, is classified as restrictive weight-loss surgery. Not only is the gastric band adjustable, but it’s also reversible. In a nutshell, getting a gastric band involves putting a band around the stomach that squeezes it and makes it smaller.
The good news is the surgeon can adjust the gastric band in case of discomfort or control the weight loss rate. The band can be adjusted by the removal or addition of fluid that’s in a balloon around the band.
During the laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon makes small incisions in the upper abdomen and places the adjustable band there. Since the patient will now have a small stomach pouch, they will feel full after eating only a small portion of food. This reduces the amount of calories they consume and leads to weight loss.
Like the gastric band, the intragastric balloon is a temporary weight loss measure that restricts the amount of food patients can eat. A balloon gets inserted into the stomach and is then pumped full of a saline solution through a catheter inserted down the throat during the procedure.
Typically, a gastric balloon is only inserted for about 6 months. The endoscopic procedure might not be as effective as other weight-loss options. Instead, it’s meant to jumpstart weight loss, which makes it easier to build momentum.
You’ll find that intragastric balloons are sold under various brand names, but typically they all involve the insertion of a soft but durable balloon that sits comfortably in your stomach. When it takes up space in your stomach, it creates the sensation of being full, so it’s easier to stop overeating. You can stick to smaller portions without having to fight hunger pangs. When combined with exercise and a healthy diet, the procedure can be even more effective.
As mentioned, the balloon can remain in your stomach for up to 6 months, and after it’s removed, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy diet and exercise habits to ensure any weight-loss results are permanent. Your surgeon and his team can provide you with additional support and advice you need to stay on track.
How to Decide Which Procedure Is Right For You?
Now that you know which weight loss procedures are on the table, there are a few factors to consider before deciding what’s right for you.
To recap, the procedures above can be categorized as reversible and irreversible. If you want something temporary, then a gastric balloon or an adjustable gastric band are better solutions.
On the other hand, although a gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, and duodenal switch are highly effective, they are not reversible. You can only get what they call revision surgery if you’re unhappy with your weight-loss results.
When it comes to effectiveness, gastric bypass and BPD/DS surgery are leading options. However, keep in mind that it’s often recommended only for those with a high BMI, since it is a complicated procedure with more risks. So, all in all, you need to decide how much weight you’re looking to lose and whether the procedure can help with other conditions you may have, such as diabetes.
If you’re still unsure about which option to choose, we can help. Our qualified medical experts will recommend a procedure that is best for you based on the information you supply.
If you have any additional questions about weight loss procedures, you can also call us. We will give you comprehensive information that can help you decide with peace of mind.