Understanding the Different
Types of Weight Loss Surgery

There are several types of weight loss surgery (also called bariatric surgery). Understanding the difference between the procedures and the pros and cons of each is essential to making an informed decision.

Weight loss surgery (WLS) is generally classified as either:

  • Restrictive
  • Restrictive/Malabsorptive

Restrictive Procedures

Just as the name suggests, restrictive weight loss surgery alter the amount your stomach can hold. It can normally accommodate as much food as the size of football. After surgery, the capacity is reduced to the size of an egg or a small lemon!

Gastric Lap-Band surgery is considered a restrictive surgery and so is the Gastric Sleeve.

Gastric banding surgery creates a restriction by surgically placing a band around the stomach. The Gastric Sleeve (also called VSG, or "The Sleeve") results in restriction because part of the stomach is actually cut away. The remaining piece of stomach that's left looks like a long tube, sleeve, or banana, and that's where the surgery gets its name.

Obviously there's no sewing the stomach back on once it's been cut away. Gastric Sleeve weight loss surgery is not reversible like the gastric lap band procedure is!

Types of Weight Loss Surgery: Restrictive/Malabsorptive Procedures

Imagine what it would be like to be able to eat only ~1/2 cup of food at one time, and have your body avoid absorbing all the calories from that 1/2 cup!

That's what the gastric bypass (also called roux-en-y) and duodenal switch (also called BPD/DS) weight loss surgeries accomplish.

The stomach is first made smaller in one of a number of ways (stapling, banding, or cutting part of it away) and then the intestines are re-routed in order to alter the way food is normally absorbed.

You should know that if you're malabsorbing food, you're also malabsorbing important nutrients and nutritional deficiencies can result...

...especially calcium, iron, and B12 deficiencies. Lifelong supplementation with bariatric vitamins is therefore necessary after a malabsorptive surgery.

Be sure to discuss the pros and cons of each with your doctor before deciding what's best for you.

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