Pros & Cons of Different Bariatric Surgery Methods

Pros & Cons of Bariatric Surgery

Pros & Cons of Different Bariatric Surgery Methods

Before you commit to any kind of weight loss surgery, you need to weigh (pun intended) the pros and cons of bariatric surgery and its different methods. What types of bariatric surgery exist? How do they differ from one another? And most importantly, what are the pros and cons of each? In this article, we will answer all of these questions so you have all the information you need to decide which is the best bariatric surgery method for you.

But First, What Is Bariatric Surgery?

We’ve already defined bariatric surgery in previous articles, like our Bariatric Surgery 101 Pocket Guide article. Bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, is a surgical procedure that makes changes to the digestive system. These adaptations are what help patients lose weight by restricting the amount of food they can ingest and/or limiting the number of calories their bodies can absorb.

Types Of Bariatric Surgery

There are four main types of bariatric surgery: gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bands, and Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS). Below, we’ll explain a little more about each of them, outlining the pros and cons of each bariatric surgery procedure. 

Gastric Bypass

This procedure consists of creating a small pouch for the stomach, which is then attached to a piece of the small intestine. This way, food comes out of the pouch and directly into the small intestine, bypassing a part of the stomach and intestine. This helps patients lose weight by restricting the amount of food that can be eaten, as well as restricting the body’s ability to absorb calories.

Now, let’s discuss the pros and cons of the gastric bypass procedure.

Gastric Bypass Pros

  • Lose up to 80% of excess body weight
  • Absorb fewer calories through intestinal bypass procedure
  • Weight loss can be faster than with a sleeve gastrectomy

Gastric Bypass Cons

  • The surgery consists of two steps, so the risk of complication is higher
  • Nutrient malabsorption can lead to deficiencies
  • Dumping syndrome is a more common side effect
  • Recovery time is longer than a sleeve gastrectomy

According to Healthline, you can expect to lose up to 80% of the excess body weight, as well as losing weight faster than with a sleeve gastrectomy. However, the recovery time can be slightly longer than compared to other methods, and nutrient malabsorption can lead to deficiencies. At Colorado Bariatric, we perform Robotic Gastric Bypass surgery with a state-of-the-art Da Vinci robot. You can learn more about this procedure and whether you qualify for it here.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

A sleeve gastrectomy is a surgical procedure that permanently removes a large portion of the stomach. This leaves it at around  15% of its original size. It encourages weight loss by drastically reducing the amount of food that can be ingested, as well as removing the part of the stomach that produces the “hunger hormone”, called ghrelin.

What are the pros and cons of sleeve gastrectomies?

Sleeve Gastrectomy Pros

  • You can expect to lose up to 65% of your excess body weight
  • The surgery consists of one step, so the risk of complication is lower
  • Recovery time is usually faster than a gastric bypass
  • Dumping syndrome is less common

Sleeve Gastrectomy Cons

  • The weight loss expectancy is lower than gastric bypass
  • Weight loss can happen at a slower pace
  • Acid reflux is a common side effect 

So as you can see, a sleeve gastrectomy is a simpler, one-step procedure that can aid tremendously in weight loss. However, the results are not as fast as a gastric bypass. At Colorado Bariatric, we provide Robotic Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery with a state-of-the-art Da Vinci robot. You can learn more about this procedure and whether you qualify for it here.

Gastric Bands

An adjustable gastric band is a procedure that involves placing an inflatable band around the upper portion of the stomach. This divides the stomach into two parts, which aids weight loss efforts by using the smaller pouch on top to receive food first. This means a smaller amount of food will be able to satisfy hunger and provide fullness.

So, what are the pros and cons of adjustable gastric bands?

Gastric Band Pros

  • You can expect to lose up to 50% of your excess body weight
  • It’s less invasive than other bariatric surgery procedures
  • There are no wounds to heal
  • It’s reversible
  • No dumping syndrome

Gastric Band Cons

  • Less weight loss than other methods
  • It requires a foreign object to remain in the body
  • It’s less effective than other bariatric surgery procedures
  • The stomach reduction needs to be done gradually, which means several fills are needed over time
  • Weight regain is more common
  • Band slippage or erosion may occur

A gastric band is a procedure that requires no incision, meaning that the recovery times are better, has no dumping syndrome, and is reversible if necessary. However, it is less effective at promoting weight loss, requires a foreign device to remain in the body, and weight regain is more common. 

Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS)

Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (or BPD/DS for short) is a type of bariatric bypass that requires two steps. In fact, it’s a mixture of both a gastric bypass and a sleeve gastrectomy. First, a piece of the stomach is removed (like a sleeve gastrectomy), and second, a large portion of the intestine is bypassed (like a gastric bypass). It aids in weight loss by reducing the amount of food that can be ingested (thanks to a smaller stomach), as well as the amount of calories that can be absorbed (thanks to the bypass).

Let’s discuss BPD/DS’s pros and cons.

Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS) Pros

  • You can expect to lose up to 70% of excess body weight
  • It’s the fastest weight loss surgical procedure
  • Most effective treatment for diabetes

Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS) Cons

  • It’s the most invasive out of all bariatric surgical procedures
  • Longer hospital stay and recovery times
  • Requires long-term vitamin and nutrient supplement intake
  • Can cause frequent and smelly diarrhea
  • Has the most aggressive follow-up procedure

The combination of both a gastric bypass and a sleeve gastrectomy means that this procedure yields the most effective weight loss results, with patients being able to lose  60-70% of excess body weight during the first year. But it’s the most invasive out of all the procedures, which implies a longer hospital stay and recovery times, as well as requiring an aggressive follow-up with the surgeon due to the calorie and nutrient malabsorption.  

So, Which Bariatric Surgery Method Is Better?

Now that we’ve delved deep into the pros and cons of bariatric surgery, it’s clear to see that each procedure has its advantages and disadvantages. The procedure you choose will depend on your qualifications, your needs, and the recommendation your surgeon provides. At Colorado Bariatric, we focus on Robotic Bariatric Surgery, including both Robotic Gastric Bypass and Robotic Sleeve Gastrectomy procedures, both of which are undergone through a state-of-the-art Da Vinci robot. To find out whether bariatric surgery is right for you or learn the exact questions you need to ask your surgeon when considering weight loss surgery. If you want to check if your insurance will cover bariatric surgery, you can get in touch with us here

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