Gastric Bypass vs. Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Which is the right procedure for me?

Excess weight increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, type-2 diabetes and certain muscular and skeletal disorders and also affects the confidence of an individual. A recent report by Australian Institute of Health and Welfare states that almost 2 in 3 (63%) of Australian adults are obese. Losing weight through diet plans and exercise is time-consuming, frustrating and never successful in keeping weight off long term. An effective way to shed the extra kilos, especially for obese people is undergoing a weight loss surgery. There are many surgeons who specialize in weight loss surgery in Australia enabling you to lose weight and lead a healthy life. The blog post discusses two popular types of weight loss surgery-Gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery- to help you make the right decision.


1. The Procedural Aspect

The outer part of the stomach is removed and the shape of the stomach is changed from a sac to a long narrow tube (sleeve). The gastric volume is reduced from approximately 2L to 100-150 mL. It removes the part of the stomach secreting the appetite-boosting hormone. Resection of this large volume of excess stomach causes a rise in the secretion of Leptin, a hormone that burns the body fat and uses it as fuel thus ensuring automatic weight loss. Gastric bypass surgery is the most common type of weight loss surgery. A surgeon divides the stomach into two parts, sealing off the upper part from the lower section. The upper part of the stomach is connected to the lower section of the small intestine. The bypassing of food through the usual pathway causes an intense metabolic hormonal reaction causing long term sustainable weight loss.

2. Expected Weight Loss

Before undergoing a weight loss surgery, it is necessary to know the amount of weight a person can lose on opting for a particular type of surgery. Individuals also need to know that long-term weight loss depends more on the lifestyle they follow than the type of procedure they choose. Gastric bypass patients can expect 60 to 80% excess weight loss in the first year after surgery whereas gastric sleeve typically shows 50 to 70% results in two years.

3. Selection

Young patients with no comorbidities and not much weight to lose are ideal for sleeve gastrectomy.Obese individuals with a BMI of 45 with T2D, obstructive sleep apnoea, hypertension and other metabolic problems or a BMI 50 or more can opt for gastric bypass surgery. The final decision is, however, made by the surgeon only after analyzing past medical records and current physical condition.

4. Benefits

Surgeons have opinionated statements on the advantages of the weight loss procedures based on their training, ability to do different procedures and their experience.. Gastric bypass is, however the gold standard that all other procedures need to measure up to . Whatever the surgical technique, the benefits far outweigh the risks of surgery. In trained and experienced hands, the risks of both operations are lower than acceptable.

5. Risks and Complications

Potential complications include indigestion, nausea, hernia, ulcers, hemorrhage, leakage etc. Curbing the risk of complications requires a fellowship trained bariatric surgeon who can guide you on the right selection and performing the procedure safely aiding in speedy recovery.

The Way Forward

Sleeve gastrectomy doesn’t change the way your body absorbs food, so chances are lean to fall short of nutrients. The procedure is a low-risk method and people suffering from obesity can also undergo a second surgery after restoring health from the first one. This is currently the most popular procedure in the subset of patients described above. Gastric bypass still remains the gold standard and is also the popular choice for revision of a failed sleeve. While you remain informed about the weight loss procedures, the insights, and the final call lies with the surgeon to select the appropriate method. Post-surgery you need to follow the diet restrictions for the weight loss results you desire in the stipulated time.


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