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Bariatric surgery helps you lose weight. It is an option when you need to lose a lot of weight, especially when diets, exercise or medications have not worked.

Two of the most common bariatric surgery procedures are gastric sleeve surgery and gastric bypass surgery. These two procedures have similarities as well as key differences. Let’s take a closer look at both surgeries and what they entail including pros and cons and when to consider one over the other.

What’s the Difference Between These Two Surgeries?

Both gastric sleeve surgery and gastric bypass surgery reduce stomach size from its existing size to a smaller pouch. It helps in losing weight in two ways:

#1: the pouch fills up quickly and you feel fuller earlier after eating less food
#2: the amount of ghrelin, also known as the “hunger hormone,” is reduced

Simply put, these two procedures differ in the way the new stomach pouch is created.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

The surgeon removes about 85 percent of your stomach permanently. What remains is sewn into a small banana-shaped or sleeve-shaped stomach pouch. No other changes are made. As a result, the new capacity of the stomach becomes between 60 to 150 cc approximately, which depends on the surgeon’s final estimation. The bariatric surgeon keeps the outlet valves and nerves connecting to the stomach intact, which means the stomach function is not compromised despite the procedure.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric bypass, also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, is performed to cut away a part of the stomach. It is a permanent procedure that helps patients achieve and maintain weight loss goals.

The newly created stomach pouch is reconnected to the remaining small intestine and the bypassed part of the stomach is attached further down the small intestine. This allows for creation of the acid and digestive enzymes there. The portion of your small intestine that’s cut away from your stomach normally absorbs some nutrients and calories. As this section is bypassed, the absorption of those calories doesn’t happen and that contributes to your weight loss.

What about Common Risks and Complications?

Though the risk of major complication is about 4 percent, bariatric surgery is a relatively safe procedure. Surgical risk is much lower than the risk of developing serious obesity-related health complications.

However, there are some factors that tend to complicate any surgery and bariatric surgery is no exception too, which include:

⦁ Blood loss
⦁ Blood clotting in your leg or your lungs
⦁ Side effects of general anesthesia
⦁ Infection of incision
⦁ Postoperative pain
⦁ Injury to nearby organs: spleen requiring splenectomy (<1%), significant liver-bleeding (<1%), or potential for transfusions (<5%)

Complications from Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Gastric sleeve surgery may include the following complications:

⦁ acid reflux
⦁ leakage of stomach fluid
⦁ narrowing (stenosis) along the stomach pouch
⦁ stomach obstruction

Complications from Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery may include the following complications:

⦁ a higher risk of nutritional deficiencies due to bypassing part of your small intestine
⦁ increased sensitivity to alcohol
⦁ stomach ulcers
⦁ bowel obstruction
⦁ stomach perforation

What are the Pros and Cons?

Weight loss surgeries significantly reduce the risk for obesity-related conditions, such as:

⦁ type 2 diabetes
⦁ high blood pressure
⦁ high cholesterol
⦁ heart disease
⦁ stroke
⦁ fatty liver disease

Pros and Cons for Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Gastric Sleeve Pros

⦁ Lose up to 65 percent of your excess body weight
⦁ Faster recovery compared with gastric bypass
⦁ Entail fewer issues with absorbing nutrients and vitamins
⦁ Dumping syndrome is less common

Gastric Sleeve Cons

⦁ Less weight loss compared to gastric bypass
⦁ Slower weight loss
⦁ Irreversible
⦁ Acid reflux propensity

Pros and Cons for Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric Bypass Pros

⦁ Lose up to 80 percent of your excess body weight
⦁ Fewer calories absorption
⦁ Faster weight loss

Gastric Bypass Cons

⦁ Two-step surgery, involving a higher risk of complications
⦁ Longer recovery than gastric sleeve surgery
⦁ Malabsorption of nutrients and vitamins due to intestinal bypass
⦁ Dumping syndrome is more common

Which One is Right for You?

The type of weight loss surgery that will be right for you depends on several factors. Those factors are as follows:

⦁ Your weight
⦁ Your medical history
⦁ Health conditions
⦁ Your weight loss goals

Talk to a bariatric surgeon about these factors. Your doctor will tell you whether bariatric surgery is an option for you or not. Together you can decide if one type of surgery is better suited for you.

Final Thought

Gastric sleeve and gastric bypass are both types of bariatric or weight loss procedures. These two procedures have similarities as well as differences. If you think you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery, talk to your doctor or bariatric surgeon about the risks and benefits of these procedures and others. Your doctor can advise you whether bariatric sleeve or bariatric bypass surgery is right for you.

If you want to consult with one of the top doctors for weight loss surgery options and details, book your appointment with Dr. Ravi Rao, whom you can see at Perth Surgical & Bariatrics.