How Does Gastric Sleeve Compare to Other Bariatric Surgeries?

Obese patients who solemnly decide to seek bariatric surgery often do not realize they have another big choice to make: namely, which surgery to get. Gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and gastric band are all popular weight loss surgeries. While I, Dr. Guillermo Alvarez, specialize in gastric sleeve surgery, I feel it is important for prospective patients to understand the full range of options so they can make an informed decision. I offer this quick breakdown of the three top bariatric surgeries:

Gastric Bypass
In gastric bypass, the doctor staples the stomach to create a smaller upper pouch where the food will go. Due to its small size, patients feel fuller sooner. The name “bypass” refers to the second step in the surgery which connects some of your small intestine to this pouch. The food will then travel directly from the pouch to the small intestine.

Gastric bypass typically takes the weight off quicker than other options; you should see significant weight loss, particularly in the initial months. Because the food goes directly from the pouch to the small intestine, fewer calories are absorbed by the body overall.

Gastric bypass carries greater risk of infection and blood clots than other bariatric surgeries. Furthermore, the accelerated pace at which food passes through the digestive tract can mean that there is insufficient time for your body to absorb nutrients like vitamins, iron and calcium.

Gastric Band
For this surgery, your doctor will place an expandable band around the stomach to portion off the stomach into two sections. Although the smaller upper section will eventually pass the food to the lower section of the stomach, your body will stop feeling hungry more quickly when the upper part of the stomach has food in it.

This option is attractive to patients who are less confident about committing to a low-calorie lifestyle, because the band can be removed through a reasonably straightforward procedure. The recovery period is also less involved than it is for gastric bypass.

Banding patients generally see their weight come off at a slower pace than with the other procedures. Complication risks are significantly higher than other surgeries due to the chance that the band slips out of place — when this occurs, it is quite painful and requires surgery to fix.

Gastric Sleeve
With gastric sleeve, your doctor removes the majority of the stomach leaving a smaller sleeve-like shape that connects the esophagus and small intestine.

Gastric sleeve takes the weight off efficiently, though not quite as quickly as gastric bypass. But this slower rate of weight loss lowers the risk for certain side effects like diabetes and higher blood pressure. Additionally, while gastric bypass may not be safe for people who are too obese, gastric sleeve is suitable for people with BMIs over 40.

Unlike gastric band, gastric sleeve cannot be reversed. Moreover, patients should be aware that regain the weight after surgery if they do not maintain a reasonable diet.

Discuss Gastric Sleeve with Me
After considering the pros and cons of each type of bariatric surgery, I decided to focus on offering sleeve surgery to my patients as I feel it provides the most benefits with the fewest risks. If, through your research, you decide that sleeve surgery may be the right choice for you, schedule a consultation with me at my internationally renowned practice by calling 1-800-381-8115.

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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.