Weight-loss (bariatric) surgery helps you lose weight and lowers your risk of medical problems associated with obesity. Bariatric surgery contributes to weight loss in two main ways:
Four common types of weight-loss surgery are:
In Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, Dr. Alberto Carlos Rivas creates a small pouch at the top of the stomach. The pouch is the only part of the stomach that receives food. This greatly limits the amount that you can comfortably eat and drink at one time.
The small intestine is then cut a short distance below the main stomach and connected to the new pouch. Food flows directly from the pouch into this part of the intestine. The main part of the stomach, however, continues to make digestive juices. The portion of the intestine still attached to the main stomach is reattached farther down. This allows the digestive juices to flow to the small intestine. Because food now bypasses a portion of the small intestine, fewer nutrients and calories are absorbed.
In the laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding procedure, a band containing an inflatable balloon is placed around the upper part of the stomach and fixed in place. This creates a small stomach pouch above the band with a very narrow opening to the rest of the stomach.
A port is then placed under the skin of the abdomen. A tube connects the port to the band. By injecting or removing fluid through the port, the balloon can be inflated or deflated to adjust the size of the band. Gastric banding restricts the amount of food that your stomach can hold, so you feel full sooner, but it doesn’t reduce the absorption of calories and nutrients.
In a sleeve gastrectomy, part of the stomach is separated and removed from the body. The remaining section of the stomach is formed into a tubelike structure.
This smaller stomach cannot hold as much food. It also produces less of the appetite-regulating hormone ghrelin, which may lessen your desire to eat. However, sleeve gastrectomy does not affect the absorption of calories and nutrients in the intestines.
As with sleeve gastrectomy, duodenal switch begins with the surgeon removing a large part of the stomach. The valve that releases food to the small intestine is left, along with the first part of the small intestine, called the duodenum.
The surgeon then closes off the middle section of the intestine and attaches the last part directly to the duodenum. This is the duodenal switch.
The separated section of the intestine isn’t removed from the body. Instead, it’s reattached to the end of the intestine, allowing bile and pancreatic digestive juices to flow into this part of the intestine. This is the biliopancreatic diversion.
As a result of these changes, food bypasses most of the small intestine, limiting the absorption of calories and nutrients. This, together with the smaller size of the stomach, leads to weight loss.
If you have struggled with obesity and are looking into your bariatric surgery options, discuss the various alternatives with your bariatric surgeon before making a decision.
While you may also want to get input from friends, family members and other bariatric surgery patients, it is up to you to make the final decision and choose what is best for you.
The best weight loss surgery for you is not the procedure that works best for someone else, but the one that you and your doctor determine is most appropriate for your personal situation.