Gastric bypass is the most complicated of the three mainstream surgeries but also provides the best weight loss and resolution of weight related medical problems. A surgical stapler is used cut out a small pouch at the very top of the stomach and at the same time separate the stomach pouch from the rest of the stomach. In order to give food a digestion route, a segment of intestine is attached to the stomach pouch. The food then travels from the esophagus, into the stomach pouch, then into the intestine segment. From there, digestion is as it was before surgery. The large, bypassed stomach and the first section of intestine still secrete enzymes necessary for proper digestion, so they are not removed.
Pros: Best weight loss and medical problem resolution of any of the commonly performed procedures. No “maintenance” is required.
Cons: Surgically more complex than the sleeve or band and requires rearranging the intestinal tract.
Also known as “sleeve gastrectomy,” this procedure is much simpler than the gastric bypass, but the results in terms of weight loss and resolution of medical problems are still very good. To perform the procedure, the surgeon uses a surgical stapler and separates the large reservoir part of the stomach from the rest of the stomach, leaving a tube or “sleeve” of stomach for the food to pass through. There is no rearrangement of the intestines or digestive tract as in the gastric bypass. Weight loss and medical problem resolution falls somewhere between the gastric bypass and adjustable band.
Pros: No rearrangement of the intestines is required. Simpler than a gastric bypass to perform. No maintenance or adjustments are required.
Cons: Less weight loss than a gastric bypass.