Bariatric Surgery: What are the Differences in Surgical Options?

bariatric-appleLosing weight with diet and exercise can work for many individuals. However, for some, diet and exercise may not be enough causing individuals to be at high risk for disease-related complications due to obesity. In these cases, weight loss surgery may be an option.

The decision to have weight loss surgery should never be taken lightly. Contrary to popular belief, it is not “the easy way out” and won’t instantly cure the emotional and physical issues which lead one down the path to obesity.

Emory Bariatrics performs three types of weight loss surgery. Below is a brief description of each type offered.

  •  Roux-en-Y, also know as “gastric bypass”, is a combination procedure. It is a restrictive procedure and a malabsorptive procedure. The surgery reduces the size of your stomach, therefore limiting the amount of food you can eat at one time. A malabsorptive procedure means your intestines are rerouted so that your body does not absorb as much nutrients from food. Lifelong vitamin and mineral supplements must be taken to avoid deficiencies.
  • Sleeve gastrectomy, also known as “sleeve”, is a restrictive procedure. About 80% of your stomach is removed, leaving a tube-like pouch that resembles a banana. The stomach and intestines are not rearranged, but since you are eating less, there may be vitamin & mineral deficiencies if the recommended supplements are not taken throughout life.
  • Adjustable gastric banding or “band” is a restrictive procedure. An inflatable band is placed around the upper portion of the stomach, therefore making you feel full on less food. Tubing connects the band to a port under the skin, and the band is inflated or deflated using a needle, as needed. You may have to visit your physician’s office several times for as long as you have the band. Vitamins & minerals must also be taken when you have the band to prevent malabsorptive issues.

All three procedures have pros and cons. Your doctor will recommend a procedure based on many things such as your medical history, your weight, and past surgeries. The most important thing to remember is that weight loss surgery will help you lose weight, but maintaining this loss for years to come is up to you. Weight loss surgery is a tool. Making healthy food choices and exercising regularly are essential to maintaining weight loss. If behavior changes are not embraced, weight loss is not guaranteed. Attending support groups and seeing a psychologist or mental health counselor will help you with these behavioral changes. Remember, it is a “journey”, not a sprint.

For more information about bariatric surgery options offered at Emory Bariatrics, call 404-778-7777 or visit emoryhealthcare.org/emorybariatrics.

Recommended readings:

  • “Weight Loss Surgery for Dummies” by Mariana S. Kurian, Barbara Thompson and Brian K. Davidson
  • “The Emotional First Aid Kit – A Practical Guide to Life After Bariatric Surgery” by Cynthia L. Alexander, PsyD
  • “Eat It Up! by Connie Stapleton
  • “Emotional Eating Toolbox” by Melissa McCreery, Ph.D
  • “Dying to Change” by Katie Jay
  • “Eating Well After Weight Loss Surgery Cookbook” by Patt Levine, Michele Bontmpo-Saray, William B. Inabnet and Meredith Urban-Skuros

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  • Medora Centre

    Thanks for posting Barithnatric Surgery. This is very informative.

  • Edwina P Ware

    I wish to discuss these options with a medical care person. Between joint pain and deterioration, I want to compare surgeries. Personally, quick weight loss would seem to relieve pressure on various joints and save what is left of my natural hip and knee cartilage.