The 4 Types of Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery is a common practice now in the US, and many people have made the decision to change their lives and go under the knife in hopes of losing weight. While the outcome of any weight loss surgery is typically the same, the actual procedure used may vary.

When you choose to get weight loss surgery, your surgeon will be making changes to your stomach or small intestine, or both depending on the surgery you chose.

Here are the four methods surgeons typically use:

Gastric Bypass

This is probably the most popular of the four surgery types, also known as the “Roux-en-Y” gastric bypass, or RYGB. In this procedure, the surgeon leaves behind only a very small part of the stomach called the pouch. That pouch can’t hold a lot of food, causing you eat less. The food you eat bypasses the rest of the stomach, going straight from the pouch to your small intestine. This surgery can often be done through several small incisions using a laparoscope camera to see inside.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

Adjustable Gastric Band

In this less common but still popular version of weight loss surgery, the surgeon puts a small band around the top of your stomach. The band has a small balloon inside it that controls how tight or lose the band is. The band limits how much food can go into your stomach. This surgery is also done using a laparoscope.

Gastric Sleeve

This version of surgery removes most of the stomach and leaves only a narrow section of the upper part of the stomach, called a gastric sleeve. The surgery may also curb the hunger hormone ghrelin, so you eat less.

Gastric Sleeve

Duodenal Switch

Of all the four, the duodenal switch is the least popular and most risky weight loss surgery. This is complicated surgery that removes most of the stomach and uses a gastric sleeve to bypass most of your small intestine. It limits how much you can eat. It also means your body doesn’t get as much of a chance to absorb nutrients from your food, which could mean you don’t get enough of the vitamins and minerals you need.

Duodenal Switch