Weight loss requires hard work, patience, and time. For many, the journey requires medical intervention to aid personal efforts. But which weight loss surgery is right for you? Two of the more well-known weight loss surgeries you may be considering are gastric sleeve vs gastric bypass. Both are bariatric surgeries that are widely used in the medical community to treat obesity.
If you’re considering this option, it is important to understand the different types of bariatric surgeries and how they affect the body long-term. Discussing the benefits, recovery, and outcomes with your doctor ensures the best choice for your body. Below we have outlined two of the most successful types of surgeries: Gastric Sleeve and Gastric Bypass.
Gastric Sleeve Vs. Gastric Bypass
The word “gastric” is just a fancy term used to indicate the stomach. If choosing a bariatric surgery procedure, all involve altering the size and function of the stomach. While similar, the Sleeve and Bypass procedures do have subtle differences in the way they accomplish this alteration.
Gastric Sleeve surgery reduces the size of the stomach by removing part of it, leaving a pocket or “sleeve” that is roughly the size of a small banana. Gastric Sleeve surgery does not involve the intestines.
This type of bariatric surgery produces weight loss in two ways:
- The stomach produces a hormone called ghrelin (pronounced grell-in) which stimulates hunger. When removing part of the stomach, your doctor is also removing the part that produces this hormone. Decreased ghrelin production gives a person better control over hunger and fullness cues.
- By creating a smaller stomach, the person will feel full faster. This prevents overeating and controls calorie intake. It is overconsumption of calories that lead to obesity, as many people eat more than their bodies need. Portion control is an important component of most weight loss procedures.
Gastric Bypass surgery also reduces the size of the stomach, but in a different way. Instead of surgically removing part of the stomach, your doctor will divide it into two parts: one small and one large. Both portions are sewn shut to create two stomach pouches. Your doctor will then detach part of your small intestine and reattach it to the smaller stomach portion. This way the food will bypass the larger stomach pouch which remains attached to the duodenum, where most digestive juices collect and flow downstream.
Bypass Achieves Weight Loss By:
- Reducing the size of the stomach to prevent overeating. People will feel full faster with the smaller stomach pouch.
- Bypassing parts of the stomach and intestine that absorb calories. Nutrients are broken down and absorbed in various places in both the stomach and the intestines. By skipping parts of these organs, full absorption of calories and weight gain can’t take place. This, however, can lead to malabsorptive diarrhea, malnutrition, and/or protein and vitamin deficiencies, which are frequently seen after the gastric bypass.
Gastric Sleeve Vs. Gastric Bypass: Similarities
- Both procedures can be done laparoscopically. This is less invasive, carries less risk for complications, and allows for a faster recovery time.
- Weight loss occurs rapidly after both procedures.
- Both require a short hospital stay, but then recovery takes place at home.
- A return to solid foods takes time. Both require a liquid diet post-surgery and then slowly reintroduce solid foods.
- Both surgeries require a BMI of 40 or a BMI of 35 in addition to health problems related to obesity for insurances to approve the procedures.
- Both procedures require counseling involving diet, lifestyle, and health conditions.
Gastric Sleeve Vs Gastric Bypass: Differences
Gastric Sleeve: Gastric Sleeve surgery does not reroute the intestines or severely alter stomach function. Because of this, Sleeve surgery allows:
- Consumption of most of the same foods as before but in smaller portions.
- Pre-surgery absorption rates and amounts of vitamins, minerals, and protein.
- A low risk of “Dumping Syndrome“, described below in association with Gastric Bypass.
Gastric Bypass: While Gastric Bypass surgery does not remove any parts of the stomach from your body, it does severely limit function and absorption. Diet and nutrition counseling is very important, as you need to learn what to eat, how to eat, and when to eat to maximize health and reduce complications. Bypassing parts of the stomach and intestine to reduce calorie absorption leads to:
- Malabsorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and protein. Supplements are often needed.
- “Protein wasting” and muscle loss. Some of the weight lost after Bypass surgery comes from the breakdown of muscle. This is because of protein malabsorption, forcing the body to break down muscle tissue to get what it needs. Other signs of protein loss include dry skin, brittle hair, and water retention.
- “Dumping Syndrome” or the rapid movement of food from the stomach into the small intestines. Symptoms usually occur within thirty minutes of a meal and include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, flushing, rapid heart rate, and dizziness.
Weight loss surgery carries the potential to greatly improve a person’s life, increasing mobility and reducing health issue severity. However, it does come with risks and possible side effects, warranting careful thought and discussion.
If you want to lose weight and regain your health, and you’re interested in bariatric surgery, Dr. Davtyan and his caring staff are here for you! With four convenient locations in Beverly Hills, Glendale, Rancho Cucamonga, and Fountain Valley, The Weight Loss Surgery Center of Los Angeles offers some of the finest weight-loss treatments in the area. Call us today at 877-9-BE-SLIM (877-923-7546) and schedule your initial complimentary consultation. Today is the day to take the first step on a journey to a whole new you!
Posted on behalf of Dr. David G. Davtyan MD, FACS, FICS