Which Bariatric Surgery Is Right For Me?

Which Weight Loss Procedure Is Suitable For You?

If you’ve tried almost everything and you still can’t manage to lose weight, you might want to consider undergoing weight loss surgery. These procedures are an effective way to combat obesity and achieve weight loss in the longer term. You must realize that the procedure is only a tool, if combined with a commitment to long-lasting dietary change and increased activity it will give you the results that you desire.

The surgeon will make small cuts for keyhole entry into your abdomen and then cut or re-plumb the stomach, intestines, or both to limit the amount of food that can be stored in your body after eating. With some of the more permanent procedures, there is also a significant change in gut hormonal levels which aids your weight loss by dampening cravings and appetite.

There are different types of weight loss surgeries, such as gastric banding,  bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and ballooning. These are the mainstream procedures, however, there are variations of each which tend to cater to more specific needs. Each procedure has different indications and can be tailored to suit the individual’s lifestyle and eating patterns.

It is essential to understand which procedure suits you best before making any decisions about going forward. Here we discuss the pros and cons of each type of weight loss surgery so that you know what’s best for you.

Weight loss surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed by a bariatric surgeon. Keyhole surgery has transformed this particular specialty, as long open cuts are not required any longer and all the procedures can now be performed through 4-5 small incisions. This significantly improves recovery time and discomfort following the procedure which means you will be up and walking soon after surgery.

Drains are no longer necessary in most cases and drinking fluids can commence within a few hours following the procedure. Gastric sleeve is the most common type of weight loss surgery currently, although mini-bypass is starting to gain popularity. This is because it combines some of the benefits of sleeve and bypass into one procedure whilst decreasing the operative time and risk. The conventional gastric bypass is known as a Roux-en-Y bypass.

Gastric Banding

Gastric banding has remained popular for many years although it has now been overtaken by sleeve gastrectomy. The surgeon will place an inflatable band around the top part of your stomach and connect it to tubing which attaches to an accessible port under the skin. This allows the band to be injected through the port with extra fluid that inflates it. It is therefore a flexible procedure.

When the band is inflated, it reduces the amount of food that can be ingested as a result of an hourglass effect on the stomach. This device is placed around the upper part of the stomach and creates a small pouch at the top of the stomach that’s just big enough to hold a few ounces of food. Because the pouch is so small, the person would feel full after eating a small amount of food.

This type of surgery is often used when diet and exercise have failed as a method of weight loss. Gastric banding restricts the amount of food you can eat at any one time, which forces you to eat less throughout the day. Gastric banding is a reversible procedure, meaning that the band can be removed at any point in the future reverting to normal.

It is a good procedure for volume eaters and people who have large portion size meals, however, it is less helpful for “sweet tooth” and people who regularly ingest a large number of high-calorie liquids, as the band can never be tightened to stop liquids from passing through.

Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass is one of the most common types of weight loss surgeries. It is a procedure where a surgeon will cut a pouch of the stomach the size of a boiled egg and attach the small intestine to it to create a diversion that decreases the absorption of nutrients from food. It is used to treat people who are severely overweight and have tried and failed to lose weight through dieting and exercise. Gastric bypass is major surgery and has many health benefits, but it is irreversible.

Apart from being the most powerful and effective tool for long-term weight loss and is considered the “gold standard” against which all other procedures are compared, it is also the operation of choice for “sweet tooth” and can help people who suffer from heartburn.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

Sleeve gastrectomy is currently the commonest weight loss procedure that is used for severe obesity. It entails stapling the stomach after placing a standard-sized tube through the gullet. This leads to a long thin sleeve of the stomach that enters the bowel and approximately three-quarters of the stomach that has been removed from the body.

Effectively restricting how much people can eat and inducing gut hormonal changes which dampen satiety and appetite. Similar to laparoscopic gastric banding, patients who undergo sleeve gastrectomy will experience early satiety and will eat less food. Sleeve gastrectomy is a less invasive operation than gastric bypass and has less risk, although it can cause or make reflux worst.

It is a good procedure for people who need a permanent and powerful tool to lose weight in the long run similar to a bypass, however without the nutritional deficiency that can occur with a bypass.

Pros and Cons of Each Procedure

Gastric banding – The biggest pro of this procedure is that it is a reversible procedure, meaning that patients can have their devices removed in the future for any reason. Gastric banding has a success rate, but it is not suitable for people who ingest high-calorie liquids. Gastric bypass – Gastric bypass is major surgery and is irreversible, but it has a higher success rate than gastric banding.

Gastric bypass patients need to take multivitamins for the rest of their lives however they benefit from diminished reflux and their taste for sweet foodstuffs diminishes. Sleeve gastrectomy – Sleeve gastrectomy is a major surgery that is irreversible with less risk than bypass and the same weight loss outcomes. It remains the most popular procedure.


Weight loss surgery is an effective treatment option for those struggling with obesity. However, it is important to discuss the procedure with your doctor to ensure that the benefits outweigh the risks. The key is to know what procedure is best for you before taking the plunge.

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