Posted - June 21, 2011

What is the Best Type of Bariatric Surgery for You?

When considering bariatric surgery, there are several procedures to choose from. Your physician or surgeon will help guide you through the process of choosing the correct weight loss surgery for your needs, but it is recommended that you have an idea which is best for you before going into your doctor’s office. The most common bariatric surgery in the past has been a gastric bypass procedure. Gastric bypass is a surgically invasive procedure that requires the detachment of the stomach from the intestines. It creates a direct route for food to bypass a large portion of the intestines reducing the amount of fat and calories being absorbed. In addition to significant weight loss, people who choose this type of weight loss surgery must take certain dietary supplements to make up for the nutrition they are missing out on. Gastric bypass surgery can be reversed, but reversal is problematic so the necessity of supplements may be lifelong. Gastric bypass requires a body mass index of 35 or higher.

Another weight loss surgery procedure that many people may consider is the Duodenal Switch. This procedure combines two aspects of the body’s ability to hold and absorb food. The Duodenal Switch involves resecting the stomach to reduce the capacity of food it is able to hold as well as detach a portion of the small intestine that is responsible for absorbing nutrients and calories. This type of bariatric surgery procedure is also very invasive and involves a decreased absorption of nutrients into your body naturally, meaning you will be required to take daily vitamins and nutrient supplements for the rest of your life. Also, the DS procedure cannot be fully reversed, as a portion of the stomach is completely removed. Those with a body mass index of 30 or higher may qualify for this procedure.

The Lap Band procedure is a minimally invasive weight loss surgery that involves a restrictive adjustable band being placed around the stomach to reduce the capacity of food the stomach can hold. The band is adjusted in a physician’s office over several visits and has shown beneficial results for many patients. Because the procedure only reduces the capacity of the stomach, and not absorption properties of the body, nutrient supplements may only be required for a short time. Recovery time is substantially shortened and the procedure is fully reversible. People with a BMI of 40 or higher qualify for this procedure and the FDA has recently recommended reducing the requirements to a BMI of 30 or higher.

Whichever procedure is right for you, all will require dedication to a diet and exercise plan that will help promote weight loss and increase physical health.