Bariatric surgery for weight loss is becoming a common option for those who are obese or morbidly obese.

This type of surgery has several different procedures that all fall under the category of Bariatric surgery – all of which are performed on the stomach and/or intestines in order to help you lose weight.

If you’re thinking about weight loss surgery, you need to be aware of your options. Then you can make an informed choice for your health and your weight loss goals.

4 Common Types of Bariatric Surgery You Should Know About

The goal of every type of bariatric surgery is to change the way your digestive system works so you have an easier time losing weight.

However, each procedure is done very differently. Below are some of the most common surgeries:

1. Gastric Bypass (Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass)

Perhaps the most commonly-known Bariatric surgery is the Gastric Bypass, which is also called the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

During this procedure, a surgeon will use the top part of your stomach to create a small pouch. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), this pouch will be about one ounce in volume, or 30 milliliters. The rest of your stomach will be closed off and will not receive food.

Next, the surgeon will divide the top part of your small intestine and connect the bottom end to the newly-created stomach pouch. The top end will get reconnected to a lower part of your small intestine.

So, after a gastric bypass, your digestive system and processes will be completely different:

  • Food will enter your new, smaller stomach pouch from your esophagus.
  • From there, it will travel straight to your small intestine.
  • Your remaining stomach will still produce digestive juices, though it will no longer directly digest food. It will release these juices into the small intestine channel between it and the main small intestine.
  • From there, the digestive juices will mix with the food digested by your stomach pouch. After that, the nutrients and food waste will continue through your digestive tract normally.

2. Gastric Sleeve Surgery

In contrast to Gastric Bypass, Gastric sleeve surgery is relatively simpler in nature.

During this type of Bariatric procedure, the surgeon will completely remove about 80% of your stomach. What’s left is a banana-shaped “sleeve” that will serve as your new stomach.

This designer stomach will obviously will be much smaller, which means you’ll have to drastically change your eating habits.

Also, just like with Gastric Bypass, the smaller volume of your stomach and small intestine also means you won’t absorb as many calories and nutrients. This will be a big factor in helping you lose weight.

3. Adjustable Gastric Band Surgery

The third type of Bariatric surgery, Adjustable Gastric Band Surgery, is completely different from the other types in that it doesn’t permanently alter your stomach or small intestine.

Instead, a surgeon will place an inflatable band around an upper portion of your stomach. When the band is inflated with a sterile saline solution, it constricts to create a smaller pouch at the top of the stomach. Depending on how much the band is inflated, the size of the opening between the pouch and the rest of the stomach can be narrowed or widened.

The smaller volume of the stomach pouch means that you will be able to ingest less food overall. It will still pass through to the rest of your stomach normally, but you’ll feel full quicker.

4. Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (ABD/DS)

The final option for Bariatric surgery is a procedure called a Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (also known as ABD/DS or just plain “duodenal switch,” according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases).

This surgery alters your digestion via bypassing a portion of the small intestine. Here is a basic run-down of what happens:

  • The surgeon first creates a smaller stomach pouch by removing a large portion. This is very similar to a gastric sleeve surgery, as the remaining stomach is banana or sleeve-shaped.
  • The surgeon also alters your small intestine so your digestion bypasses much of it.
  • The small intestine is reconnected in a way that allows it to transport bile from your liver and enzymes from your pancreas to aid in digestion, without food ever passing through it.

Undergoing Bariatric Surgery Is a Big Decision

Every type of Bariatric procedure is different, with varied complications, considerations, and recovery time.

If you’re considering undergoing weight loss surgery – talk with your doctor and do your homework. Consider the risks versus the benefits and decide if you’re really ready for such a drastic life change to lose weight.

Surgery is a weighty decision, but plenty of people have undergone the above procedures with amazing results.

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