Four Common Weight Loss Procedures To Consider

October 26, 2016
Weight Loss Options

Trying to picture your path to a new, healthier, thinner, body can be frightening. After all, what happens when people opt for a surgical solution to their weight problems? How do they do it, and – more importantly – how will you?

Finding a Medical Catalyst for Change

First of all, weight loss surgery is a medical procedure performed to improve a patient’s long-term health outlook. The focus is not on achieving immediate cosmetic effects like those of liposuction or a tummy tuck. Instead, medical weight loss procedures focus on the root issues of appetite by offering permanent ways of addressing challenges that span a lifetime. The following four weight loss procedures have become quite common. 

1. Gastric Bypass

Available since the 1970s, gastric bypass is the most frequently performed weight loss procedure. It’s especially beneficial to patients who suffer from diabetes or gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD). For diabetics, the new physiology does not tolerate concentrated starches or sweets. For people with GERD, stomach acid can no longer back up into the esophagus. For all patients, people feel genuinely satisfied on very small portions of food, resulting in consistent weight loss.

A gastric bypass does two things. First, it reduces the size of your stomach by about 90 percent. The end result is a small, thumb-sized pouch that will hold less than an egg yolk. Second, it reroutes the food that you eat by connecting the bottom of the stomach pouch to the Roux limb – a portion of mid-abdomen small intestine sensitive to simple sugars and starches. For decades, this procedure required open surgery. However, the new millennium marked a change to laparoscopic techniques. Today, 99 percent of gastric bypasses can be performed laparoscopically.

2. Gastric Sleeve

If you ever wished you could edit your stomach, you were perhaps visualizing a gastric sleeve. The sleeve lets you lose weight as quickly as you would with a gastric bypass, but it reduces stomach capacity without a foreign device and without disturbing or rearranging your intestines. Your digestive and absorptive processes for nutrients remain essentially the same.

Also known as a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, the term gastric sleeve refers to the tubular shape of your stomach once the procedure is complete. The goal is to reduce a stomach’s capacity from 1 to 1.5 liters or more to being satisfied with just 50 to 150 milliliters, again reducing size by up to 90 percent. Your surgeon uses a stapling device to form your new, sleeve-like stomach and then removes the excess portion. The whole process is done laparoscopically, with only a few small incisions.

3. Duodenal Switch

While a complex procedure with some drawbacks, the duodenal switch is typically most effective for individuals battling extreme obesity – those with body mass indexes of 50 or greater. It addresses both stomach capacity as well as the intestines’ function of absorbing digestible food. The result is rapid loss of excess weight, often at the rate of nearly 75 percent within the first year and up to 80 percent within two.

A duodenal switch is a simpler term usually used for a biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch or gastric reduction duodenal switch. It sounds like a two-step process, and it is. The first component is a gastric sleeve, with stomach capacity reduced by only about 75 percent. The second component has two elements:

  • First, a portion of intestine is severed and rerouted to accept bile.
  • Second, the remaining section of intestine is attached to the base of the stomach sleeve to carry away essentially undigested food.

The two intestinal portions intersect at a later point so that the contents of both can be excreted. Patients lose weight rapidly because the intestines are unable to absorb calories from undigested food. Aftercare for this procedure requires close supervision and supplementation for critical nutritional elements.

4. Gastric Banding

If you’re looking for a minimally invasive procedure that is so quick that you just might be able to return home the same day, gastric banding is that low-impact. While the original LAP-BAND® became available in the United States in 2001, the REALIZE™ Band has offered an alternative since 2007. Both operate on the premise of gradually decreasing your appetite while providing you with that important sense of satiety – of having eaten enough.

The band device is actually an inflatable ring that encircles the upper part of your stomach to form a small pouch. When the band is first placed, it’s barely inflated. Over time, periodic adjustments gradually expand the band. As a result, each expansion reduces the amount of food needed to produce satiety. The beauty of banding is that it allows adjustments and a customizable approach that keeps patients and their surgeons in sync.

Making the Right Decision for You

Each of these weight loss procedures has its pros and some cons as well. The weight loss procedure that will serve you best may be quite different from the one that would benefit someone else. So, if you’d like more complete information on gastric banding, gastric bypass, gastric sleeve or duodenal switch options, call us at 337-233-9900, or visit our website.