Bariatric Weight-Loss Surgery

Which of the Three Types of Obesity Surgery is Right For Me?

Dr. Jason F. Moy
Dr. Brian T. Chin
Daniel Roman
December 28, 2022
Which of the Three Types of Obesity Surgery is Right For Me?

Obesity surgery offers life-changing opportunities for patients who have struggled with other weight loss options. But not all obesity surgery options are the same. Some people are more suited for one type of surgery than another. For those considering obesity surgery for themselves, understanding the differences between the options is crucial for their long-term health.

The most common types of obesity surgery offered are gastric bypass, gastric banding, and sleeve gastrectomy. Understanding which surgery is right for you requires some understanding of your health, and the specifics of each procedure.

Obesity Health Risks

Medically, obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Understanding BMI is essential, and it is calculated by dividing your weight in pounds by height in inches squared. While the BMI formula is not universally perfect, it is simple and effective for grouping body weights into categories.

The health risks of obesity are numerous. Obesity is associated with an elevated risk of heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, certain cancers, and various musculoskeletal disorders. These factors inspire many individuals to seek surgery for obesity each year.

Different Types of Surgeries For Obesity

Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass is the oldest surgery for obesity still in use today. The first gastric bypass surgery was performed in the 1950s, although the procedure was quite different than what is performed today. The modern gastric bypass technique began to take shape a little over 20 years ago.

In most modern gastric bypass surgeries, the surgeon makes a small pouch in the patient’s stomach. This changes the way the stomach receives food, so that food bypasses the stomach altogether, going straight to the small intestine. This limits the patient’s portion size when eating, and also restricts potential weight gain.

Gastric bypass benefits are numerous, and it is generally considered a great procedure for weight loss in the short and long term. However, patients undergoing this process must be aware that it comes with permanent lifestyle changes. After gastric bypass surgery, patients need to take vitamin supplements to account for nutrient deficiencies. However, with proper care, these individuals can live long, healthy lives post-surgery.

Gastric Banding

Gastric banding is a relatively new procedure, being invented around the start of the 21st century. In this procedure, an adjustable band is placed around the upper portion of the stomach. This band controls the amount of food a person’s stomach can handle. The band is adjustable means that patients can make changes to their band (with physician assistance) to suit their current nutritional and weight-loss needs.

The benefit of a gastric band over gastric bypass is that it is less invasive and has less risk of complications. However, weight loss with a gastric band is slower than with a gastric bypass. Additionally, if patients are not careful, they might end up regaining weight later on.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

A sleeve gastrectomy is one of the newest surgeries for obesity available. In this procedure, a surgeon removes a large portion of the stomach. The remaining portion of the stomach is stapled shut and resembles a shirt sleeve, which is where the procedure gets its name.

A sleeve gastrectomy surgery reduces the amount of food a person can consume, and also reduces the sensation of hunger. 

The advantage of this procedure is that it offers quick results with little risk of complications. However, the procedure is irreversible, and can often lead to an increase in acid reflux due to the smaller stomach size. Another variation of this procedure is a duodenal switch. This process combines the effects of sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass, resulting in more effective weight loss, but longer recovery.

If you think any of these surgeries for obesity are a healthy option for you, contact BASS Bariatric Surgery Center to learn more.

About The Author

Daniel Roman, Content Writer

Daniel Roman is a Digital Content Writer at BASS Medical Group. He received his Masters in Journalism from UC Berkeley in 2021. Daniel has published multiple newspaper articles covering public health issues. His latest was a magazine cover story on pandemics and diseases that he co-wrote with Dr. Elena Conis, a historian of medicine, public health, and the environment.

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