Bariatric Surgery

Get the inside scoop on bariatric surgery from Dr. Caroline Cederquist, a board certified bariatric physician. Find out what this group of procedures entail, and receive advice from our world-renowned expert in medical weight loss.

4 Types of Weight Loss Surgeries

While weight loss surgery may not be suitable for all, it can lead to a healthier, happier life for some. But what are different types of weight loss surgery and may one be right for you?

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Also known as bariatric surgeries, weight loss surgeries are performed in hopes to assist in weight loss. 

There are different types of weight loss surgeries, in which a surgeon will make anatomical changes to your stomach, small intestine, or even both. They can be life-changing for some, but also bare life-long adherence to a healthy lifestyle.

4 Bariatric Surgery Types

Identified by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, the four most commonly used weight loss surgeries include gastric bypass, gastric band, gastric sleeve, and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch.

1. Gastric Bypass

Formally known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, the procedure takes out a portion of the stomach to reduce its capacity. The leftover portion is approximately the size of an egg and limits the volume of food it can hold. 

The small intestine is cut below the main stomach area and connected to the smaller food pouch, eventually "bypassing" part of the small intestine. This lessens both the absorption of calories and nutrients, though the remaining portion of the stomach is left to stimulate necessary digestive juices.

2. Gastric Band

Also recognized as lap-band, the gastric band involves an inflatable balloon placed around the upper portion of the stomach. The "banding" ultimately creates a smaller stomach pouch with a much narrower opening to the distal portion of the stomach area. 

Like gastric bypasses, gastric bands restrict food volume held in the stomach but with minimized concern of calorie and nutrient malabsorption. It is considered to be less invasive as well. 

3. Gastric Sleeve

This type of weight loss surgery removes more than half of the stomach, leaving a thin vertical "sleeve" or tube. 

Unlike other the other indicated operations, the gastric sleeve is an invasive and irreversible procedure, as it removes a large part of the stomach. The remaining stomach portion is about the size of a banana, leaving little room to hold food.

4. Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS) Gastric Bypass

Unlike the other three surgeries described, the BPD/DS is comprised of two components. 

It first starts out similar to the gastric sleeve, then a large portion of the small intestine is bypassed. More specifically, the duodenum (the first portion of the small intestine) is connected to the last portion of the small intestine. This lessens food quantity while still stimulating important enzymes for efficient nutrient breakdown. 

And like the gastric sleeve, the BPD/DS may be a more aggressive bariatric surgery.

Weight Loss Surgery Caveats

Although the thought and results of weight loss surgery may seem appealing, there are considerations and requirements that necessitate great attention. And even after accepting the potential outcomes, not just anyone can obtain medical approval for a bariatric surgery. 

Before playing with the idea, perspective participants must meet the following stipulations and guidelines, while considering and adhering to the life-long tribulations:

• Body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater or more than 100-pounds overweight.

• BMI equal to or greater than 35 plus two obesity-related comorbidities, including diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and heart disease.

• Have continued to demonstrate efforts towards weight loss without the physical outcome of gravitating towards a healthier weight.

• Be aware of the potential side effects. Although they may vary based on specific weight loss surgeries, common consequences include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, infection, nutritional deficiencies, and medical complications.

• While you cannot put a price on health, it is important acknowledge the monetary price tag attached. Health insurance and loans are available to assist in healthcare costs, but may not offer full coverage and require tapping into individuals' private wallets. Before jumping into bariatric surgery, weigh out your own personal financial options and have a plan to implement.

•You must be committed to a complete lifestyle change for a lifetime. From meeting to an interdisciplinary team regularly, to receiving lab checks frequently, to taking multivitamins consistently, you still must put in the effort towards a healthy lifestyle for the least health complication risks and greatest success.

If not ready to make the medical plunge and desiring weight loss assistance, bistroMD is inspired and dedicated to your desired success! BistroMD delivers well-balanced meals scientifically-proven to facilitate weight loss. 

And with ongoing support, you will not feel isolated in your journey. But before starting any weight loss program, consult with your primary healthcare provider, as they can also guide you to appropriate methods and answer questions regarding bariatric surgeries.

Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on February 21, 2017. Updated on July 31, 2019.

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