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Bariatric Surgery Options

Bariatric surgery has become a necessary part of weight loss for many patients in the past several years. The need for bariatric surgery and changes in medical research have brought about several bariatric surgery options to choose from. Not all surgery types are appropriate for all patients and selecting the best surgery for your body and lifestyle can make all the difference. The following is information on the various bariatric surgery options.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Vertical "Sleeve" Shaped Surgery.

Vertical “Sleeve” Shaped Surgery.

Gastric sleeve surgery (also referred to as vertical sleeve gastrectomy) is the process of removing up to 85% of the stomach leaving behind a sleeve-like stomach behind. This remaining sleeve-like stomach makes it more difficult to hold large amounts of food, thereby reducing the food intake of the individual. It also means that the person will feel full faster and will have less of an appetite. This procedure leaves the stomach fully functional except for the reduction in space. The reduced amount of calories and smaller appetite translate into weight loss for most patients. The recovery time for this surgery is between two and three weeks with a 48-hour stay in the hospital. Taking it easy is important after surgery and making sure to seek follow-up care.

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Gastric Bypass Surgery

Pouch Shown, Connected to Intestines

Pouch Shown, Connected to Intestines

A gastric bypass is a bariatric surgery that divides the stomach into two parts, an upper pouch, and a larger bottom pouch. The procedure can be accomplished laparoscopically or through open surgery. Once this part of the procedure is completed the small pouch is connected to the part of the small intestine that is located lower. This process is referred to as Roux –en-Y. The process creates a direct path for the food to the jejunum (lower intestine) preventing much of the calories and nutrients from being absorbed by the body. This is referred to as malabsorptive. Not only will the patient not have enough room in the body to hold a large amount of food, but they will also not get the calories and nutrients from the food that causes weight gain. The recovery time includes two or three days in the hospital and between two and three weeks of easy going. This procedure is not reversible.

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Lap-Band Surgery

Implant restricts the upper portion of the stomach.

Implant restricts the upper portion of the stomach.

Lap-Band, also referred to as laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) is the process of laparoscopically putting a belt around the upper part of the stomach making it smaller and reducing the size o the intake section of the stomach. This means that the patient is not able to take in as much food and also can’t store as much food in the smaller stomach. The band is made from silicone and has a balloon in it that changes the tightness of the belt. The doctor can make adjustments as needed in order to reach the right size for your stomach and your situation. In many cases, several adjustments will be required. This surgery is reversible. The typical recovery time is one week to return to work and six weeks to return to normal activity.

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Duodenal Switch

Duodenal Switch Surgery Shown.

Duodenal Switch Surgery Shown.

A duodenal switch surgery is both a malabsorptive and restrictive bariatric surgery. Through a reduced amount of food brought into the body and a reduced calorie count absorbed from the food that does make it into the body, weight loss is typically reached. During the procedure, a surgeon reduces the size of the stomach by removing a portion of it and sewing up the remaining section. Next, the surgeon creates a bypass from the newly created smaller stomach to the lowest portion of the small intestine. This means that the food that is taken in goes right to the last stage of processing and calories, as well as nutrients, are not as fully absorbed into the body. The recovery time for this surgery is typically between two and three weeks.

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Mini Gastric Bypass Surgery

mini gastric bypass is similar in end results to a gastric bypass or Roux-en-Y procedure but was created to be a faster and less invasive process. Using laparoscopic techniques the surgeon staples a new stomach that is shaped like a tube, from the old much larger stomach. A portion o the small intestine is directly joined to the newly created tube, typically bypassing up to 6 feet of the small intestine. This means that the stomach will have less room than before to hold food and that the food will go directly from the stomach to the small intestine on a much shorter trip. There will be less absorption of the calories and nutrients contained in the food. The hospital stay is only a day or so with this procedure and most people find their recovery time to be only a week or so.

Gastric Balloon Surgery

Gastric balloon surgery is a minimally invasive procedure to help patients lose weight. A silicone balloon is put into the stomach through the mouth of a patient and then either filled with air or saline. The size of the balloon once filled is about the same as a good size orange. The result is that the patient has the feeling of being fuller than they are and will reduce the amount of food that they eat, thereby losing weight. This procedure is popular as a temporary way for patients to get to a goal weight and manage their eating habits. It is reversible and there is virtually no recovery time for the process. This is often a good option for those individuals that are not yet obese, but that are on their way.

Choosing the right bariatric surgery can seem overwhelming and should be carefully discussed with a physician. It is important to remember that in most cases a major lifestyle change is also necessary for complete and long-lasting weight loss success. Learning about nutrition and taking a different approach to food as well as exercise is vital to making headway in weight loss efforts. You may also be asked to participate in some support groups in order to ensure you are getting the most out of your surgery and your efforts.