The duodenal switch is an extreme and effective way for adults to achieve weight loss. But, it is also a very invasive surgery that should only be used after careful consideration by doctors. As such, you should use it under certain circumstances. If you want to find out if the procedure is right for you, then check out our article.

If you have tried every possible method to lose weight, but still cannot get within a healthy range, then you might want to consider a duodenal switch โ€” this form of weight loss surgery the physical removal of a vast portion of the stomach. This form of treatment is very extreme, but many of the results are clear: dramatic weight loss, fewer feelings of hunger and fewer calories absorbed when eating. However, as with any invasive surgery, it does have its risks. Let us find out if this surgery is right for you.


What Is A Duodenal Switch?

duodenal switch

A duodenal switch is a weight loss surgery procedure that involves removing seventy to eighty percent of your stomach and the vast majority of your duodenum โ€” the upper part of your small intestine. The system is prevalent in Europe and has become the preferred method weight loss for many doctors. Many individuals lose hundreds of pounds on the surgery

When this portion of your stomach becomes remove, the remaining stomach lining can only hold a small amount of food. This removal decreases the amount of hunger an individual will feel throughout the day. The individual will also feel fuller much more quickly when eating. This surgery can help with conditions like type two diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and sleep apnea. With this type of surgery you can still enjoy the comfort of a good meal, but in smaller portions than before โ€” usually around eight bites per meal.

During the surgery, the stomach becomes rerouted over a significant portion of the small intestine turning two passageways into one โ€” most of the time the channel that the surgeon removes typically only functions for mixing the stomach contents with bile before passing them on the large intestine. By eliminating this passageway you limit the bodies ability to take up fat and calories.

The duodenal switch is impressive primarily in its ability to help patients keep off the weight they lose. On average an individual who undergoes a duodenal switch will lose around sixty-five percent of their excess body fat within the first year of the surgery. Not only will your body keep this weight off, but it will also usually continue to lose weight. Some people lost up to ninety percent of their excess body fat through a duodenal switch.

Before beginning the procedure, the patient goes on an intensive diet. This diet is crucial because it usually determines how much weight the person will lose. Strict adherence to this diet also helps reduce potential complications during the surgery process. Most of the time this diet consist of some variation of the following diet: sixty grams of protein, sixty ounces of water and sixty minutes of exercise.

Part of the reason a duodenal surgery costs so much is the post-op care that becomes necessary. Following your duodenal surgery, you will need to stay in the hospital for around three days. You will need roughly two to three weeks off from work and four to six weeks before you feel fully recovered. As you can see, this surgery quickly takes up a vital chunk of your time.

The pain from this surgery is intense, but also manageable โ€” usually with medication. Diet following the surgery must consist of liquid with a slow transition to softer foods. While the calorie depleting nature of the surgery might be beneficial for weight loss, it will leave you with a severe vitamin deficiency. As such, you will need to take between ten to fifteen vitamins every day for the rest of your life. Usually, these vitamins consist of:

  • A multi-vitamin
  • A mineral supplement
  • Calcium-vitamin
  • Iron vitamin
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Probiotics
  • Copper supplement
  • Zinc supplement.

Following the surgery, you will need to regularly visit your doctor for blood work to see if you combinations of vitamins and supplements are adequate. Life after surgery can be rough on many individuals physically, but they quickly return to normal.

Many people report that their energy levels feel higher than before the surgery and their self-esteem quickly rises.


How Does Duodenal Surgery Compare With Other Bariatric Surgeries?

Other procedures for bariatric surgery include tying the stomach off with a rubber band and redirecting it, or folding it, to some other part of the intestine. However, out of all of these different types of surgeries, a duodenal switch is currently the most effective at helping individuals lose weight and keep it off.

However, it also is not common because not many doctors are qualified to perform it. As such, you should make sure your surgeon has the necessary skill and recommendations. It also requires a rigorous check up and posts operative treatment. As such, it is usually only recommended to morbidly obese individuals.

However, it also has its positive attributes. Compared to some of the other surgery, nothing is left in the body after a duodenal switch โ€” no plastic bands which might potentially snap. There Is no risk of dumping syndrome with this type of surgery also. Dumping syndrome occurs when food moves too quickly through the organs. More importantly, this surgery falls under many kinds of health care plans. The diet following the surgery is also much easier to bare for a lot of individuals.

Getting rid of the stomach also gets rid of the hunger hormone ghrelin, which stimulates hunger in people.


How Much Does Duodenal Surgery Cost With Insurance And Without It?

A duodenal surgery can be costly without a medical insurance policy. However, if you do have a legitimate medical reason for needing the operation, then insurance can cover the majority of the costs. One way to get on most insurance policy plans is by completing a medically supervised diet.

This way, your doctor knows whether or not the traditional method works with you. Or, if you have a body mass index of over thirty-five with health problems (orforty if you do not), then you can also qualify for many insurance plans. Work with your doctor to find the nearest qualified doctor. This qualification is relevant: the quality of the surgeon can determine the impact of the surgery.

With an insurance policy, the average person usually pays between five hundred and five thousand dollars for a duodenal switch. If you do not have insurance, then the surgery can cost between twenty-five and thirty thousand dollars. WIth a medical loan, this cost usually averages out to around five hundred and fifty dollars per month. In many areas, individuals can also be eligible for tax benefits and other savings.


What Are Some Of The Risks Associated With A Duodenal Switch?

While almost one hundred percent of patients survive a duodenal switch, there can be complications that arise with the surgery โ€” both minor and significant. In most cases the higher the weight of the individual, the greater the possibility of issues arising during or after the surgery. Some people also experience digestion issues, droopy skin, and weight regains following the surgery.

Digestion issues include trouble swallowing food, acid reflux, significant changes in bowel movements, diarrhea, throwing up, indigestion, smelly stool, and constipation. Gallstones also occur in many individuals. The stomach also expands naturally again over time which may result in weight gain in some individuals.

Since weight loss with a duodenal switch is so extreme many larger individuals often experience saggy excess skin after the surgery, sometimes a plastic surgeon can remove this skin, but most of the time it stays behind on the body and can get in the way of exercise and daily routines.

You will also need to spend time with support groups. Losing a lot of weight can be an incredibly isolating experience. Often friends and family might treat you negatively for losing weight, so it is essential to feel solidarity by visiting with other people like you. In some extreme cases, instances of suicide have occurred by individuals who had a duodenal switch performed โ€” however, there is no evidence that these are specifically related.

We hope this article was helpful during your decision to get a duodenal switch. We recommend seeing your doctor before your final decision. That way you can apply for medical benefits if you qualify for them and be sure that you made the right choice. The duodenal switch is a permanent surgery โ€” there is no going back, and there is potential for there to be significant complications involved. But for many individuals, it has given them a fresh start at a healthy life. Good luck on your weight loss journey!

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