Bariatric surgeries have become the go-to option for many that suffer from obesity. While surgeries are usually used as a last resort method, weight loss is an issue that needs to be solved immediately before it leads to serious complications. If methods like diet and exercise have been exhausted, the next logical step is to try bariatric surgery. How do the two most common procedures compare against each other?

Gastric bypass surgery

Gastric bypass surgeries are some of the most common bariatric procedures in the world. They have proven themselves to be very effective at helping people reach their desired weight. The operation in question is pretty straightforward.

To start the gastric bypass surgery, the surgeon uses surgical staples to create a small pouch of stomach tissue near the entrance of the esophagus. This part of the stomach will remain somewhat functional and it will produce stomach juices as it normally should. The beginning of the small intestine is cut off from the big leftover part of the stomach and then connected to the upper pouch that the surgeon created. This leaves out a very large part of the stomach from the entire process of digestion and food storage.

The goal of this surgery is to reduce the amount of food that can comfortably fit inside of a patient’s stomach. Less storage space means that the patient will feel full much quicker than they would before the surgery. The great successes of gastric bypass are the reason it has remained a popular bariatric procedure for quite some time now.

Sleeve gastrectomy

Sleeve gastrectomies are a relatively novel form of bariatric surgery. Research is being done to compare them to gastric bypass operations in terms of successful weight loss. So far, they’ve proven to reduce extra weight by at least sixty per cent over twelve months.

The main principle of the sleeve gastrectomy is pretty similar to gastric bypass surgeries. The intended effect is less stomach surface. However, the method used to achieve this is quite different.

Instead of diverting the pathway that food takes through the stomach, the surgeon will simply reduce the amount of stomach surface being used. They will create a tube of stomach lining that normally leads to the small intestine and then cut out everything that is outside of the tube. This process leaves the patient with about fifteen to twenty per cent of their stomach.

The newly created tube-like section will hold a lot less food but it will remain functional in digestion. Fewer cuts are made and the stomach-small intestine connection is not interrupted.

When should you consider these procedures?

Both of these surgeries are effective at reducing weight, but they are used at different stages of obesity. Gastric sleeve surgeries are a great way to start when someone has a BMI of over 50. It’s simple enough to start with, but the patient might require something more complex if it fails to show results.

When it comes to extreme cases of obesity that can quickly become life-threatening, bypass surgery becomes the recommended procedure. It’s often used when patients develop type 2 diabetes.

Complication

There are a lot of risks that are commonly associated with any kind of surgery. It’s important to compare them to the results and the current state of the patient in order to assess whether or not they’re worth doing.

Gastric sleeve complications include things like bleeding, leaking of the stapled edge, and infection. The surgery is non-reversible which means that the patient cannot change their minds if they find that it was ineffective.

Gastric bypass surgeries are difficult because they are extremely invasive and complex operations. Complications like bleeding are relatively common. Infections were found to be three times as common in gastric bypass surgeries compared to sleeve gastrectomies. One of the many issues with removing large portions of the stomach is the fact that it could lead to nutritional deficiency. Ulcers and reflux are also potential risks.

How do they compare?

It’s difficult to assess which surgery will benefit the patient more because they are used in slightly different circumstances. Both have proven themselves to be great examples of effective bariatric surgery.

Gastric sleeve surgeries are much safer, which is why patients that are considered high-risk are recommended this procedure. According to the proffesionals at Central Coast Weight Loss Surgery, If you are morbidly obese and have a body mass index (BMI) of 40, have a BMI of 35 and over, you may be a good candidate for a gastric sleeve. It doesn’t cause nutritional deficiencies because much of the remaining part of the stomach can still produce normal juices and products. Another benefit is the fact that the pyloric valve that connects the stomach and intestine remains intact and functional.

Gastric bypass surgeries are more to the point. They offer long-term results that have been substantiated by years of research. They strongly influence the amount of food one can consume. Malabsorption is not the most desirable result, but it can significantly reduce weight. Most importantly, gastric bypass surgeries sustain long term positive results on weight.

Much of the difficulty when comparing them is due to the fact that gastric sleeve surgeries have not yet been researched enough to reach any significant conclusions.

Results

Both bariatric surgeries have shown great results, but they have some differences among them.

When it comes to the first three months, results are still inconclusive. Sleeve gastrectomies lead to very rapid weight loss, they can even cause patients to lose a pound a day for the first two weeks.  However, when you compare the two procedures over six, twelve, and twenty-four months, gastric bypass surgeries inch ahead by several percentage points.

Once the procedures are done, the patient will only stay hospitalized for a couple of days. They can expect to return to regular activities after as little as a month and a half. The weeks following a procedure have to include diets that start from liquid food and slowly make their way up to solids.

Gastric bypass surgeries seem to be more effective at achieving long-term weight loss while sleeve gastrectomies are usually recommended as a stepping stone to other procedures or weight loss methods. Weighing the results is difficult without taking into account the current state of health of the patient and insurance companies’ willingness to cover the operations.

Conclusion

Doctors will try to avoid surgeries until all other weight loss methods have been exhausted. When it’s obvious that nothing is changing, the procedures become inevitable. Luckily, they are extremely effective at their job and patients can rest easy knowing that their time on the table will be well worth it.