If you’re interested in weight loss surgery, you have probably heard of the two most common procedures performed in the U.S. – gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery. Both procedures reduce appetite and help patients achieve successful long-term weight loss. Yet each surgery involves different benefits and risks, making it important to understand both options. Valeriu E. Andrei, M.D., Bariatric Associates P.A. performs both procedures and can help determine whether you are a better candidate for gastric sleeve or gastric bypass surgery.

Surgical Differences

In a gastric bypass procedure, Dr. Andrei will reduce the stomach’s size by removing its bottom portion that attaches to the small intestine. The new stomach pouch is about the size of a golf ball, roughly one ounce. Next, Dr. Andrei closes off the small intestine, forcing food to bypass a major portion of the digestive system. This means less food can be eaten, and fewer calories will be absorbed.

The gastric sleeve procedure also involves minimizing the stomach, reducing it to about the size of a banana. Dr. Andrei will remove the portion of the stomach that produces ghrelin, sometimes called the “hunger hormone.” The stomach is then reconnected to the small intestine, where food will continue to travel through the digestive system as it did before.

Understanding the Advantages

Gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgeries have both been linked to substantial weight loss, but patients must consider the short- and long-term benefits of each procedure. Research reveals that compared to the gastric sleeve, the gastric bypass offers unique benefits due to malabsorption. Patients often experience higher rates of weight loss and have more control over food intake in the future. In fact, patients typically lose up to 70% of excess weight in the two years following a gastric bypass and continue to feel full after consuming as little as three ounces of food.

At the same time, there are many advantages to choosing the gastric sleeve procedure. For one, it is less complex and can typically be completed in an hour. It also doesn’t affect the small intestine or pyloric valve, meaning food is digested naturally. There are also fewer instances of nutritional deficiencies following surgery, as eliminating ghrelin doesn’t factor into how nutrients are absorbed in the digestive system.

Potential Risks and Complications

Gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgeries rarely cause side effects, but patients should be aware of the risks associated with these procedures. Side effects of both surgeries may include bleeding, blood clots, infection, and stomach leakage near the staples used during surgery. Patients should also keep in mind that gastric sleeve procedures are nonreversible, while gastric bypass surgery may be reversed should complications arise.

Ideal Candidates

Generally speaking, those with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 50 or who are more than 100 pounds overweight are ideal candidates for weight loss surgery. Gastric sleeve procedures are typically reserved for high-risk cases or patients with additional medical issues, like Crohn’s disease, anemia, and more. Gastric bypass is a great option for patients with medical conditions related to their obesity, such as sleep apnea and type II diabetes.

When you’re ready to learn more about weight loss surgery, contact Valeriu E. Andrei, M.D., Bariatric Associates P.A. Dr. Andrei and his team will review your medical history and answer all your questions to help you feel confident and comfortable with your procedure. Contact Dr. Andrei today to schedule a free consultation.