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Different Weight Loss Surgery Procedures

What are the Surgical Procedures that can Help you Lose Weight?

Bariatric surgery, metabolic surgery, more commonly known as weight loss surgery, is a complex, medically necessary procedure performed to treat obesity and reduce the risk of becoming obese again. These procedures target your stomach and the first part of your small intestines, removing parts of them such that the overall capacity of the organs decreases. This results in early satiety or fullness and helps you lose weight.

Types of Weight Loss Surgery

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Weight loss is a journey that is different for everyone mainly because of the differences in BMI and basal metabolism rate. If you have chosen to undergo a weight loss surgery to help you on your journey, you will have a wide variety of surgeries to choose from. Depending on your specific case, and the extent of your obesity and related medical conditions, you may choose to undergo any of the following six weight loss surgery procedures.

1. Sleeve Gastrectomy Procedure

A sleeve gastrectomy procedure, also known as a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, is a surgical procedure that includes the removal of a portion of your stomach. The aim of the procedure is to reduce the overall size of your stomach, resulting in decreased food intake, and eventually, management of obesity.

The procedure is performed laparoscopically and removes anywhere from 60 to 80% of your stomach. The first step of the procedure is to insert probes for the surgery. After that, the stomach needs to be separated from other organs to allow easier removal of a portion of the organ. Once a certain part of the stomach has been removed, the rest of the stomach will be stapled back.

2. Gastric Bypass Procedure – GBP

A gastric bypass procedure is like a sleeve gastrectomy procedure but with an extra step. It includes the removal of most of the stomach content and attaching the remaining stomach pouch directly to the second part of the intestines. In this procedure, the food bypasses, as the name suggests, most of the stomach and the first part of the intestines.

Also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, which is just French for ‘in the shape of Y’, the procedure alters the anatomy of your gastrointestinal system. This helps you lose weight directly by reducing the amount of food your stomach can hold, and by decreasing the absorption of food in the small intestines.

During this procedure, your surgeon will first separate the stomach from other organs as they are all closely located in your abdominal region. Once separated, a small pouch of the stomach will be created which will then become your newly-sized stomach. This pouch is completely separated from the rest of the stomach and is attached to the second part of your small intestines.

The remaining part of the stomach and the first part of the intestines are then attached further down your small intestine. This whole connection looks like the letter, Y, hence the name of the procedure.

3. Duodenal Switch with Biliopancreatic Diversion – BPD/DS

Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch or BPD/DS is a complex procedure, much like its name. This procedure is much like a combination of a sleeve gastrectomy procedure and a gastric bypass but includes a greater portion of the stomach and intestines not being used.

The BPD/DS weight-loss procedure, due to its intensive nature, has a greater effect on reducing hunger, increasing satiety or fullness, and decreasing the level of hormones responsible for the stimulation of hunger, obesity, and obesity-associated complications.

During this procedure, a huge part of your stomach is removed creating a sleeve. This sleeve is then attached directly to the lower parts of your small intestine, so the food bypasses most of the stomach and intestines. The first part of the intestine is attached further below.

4. A gastric balloon

A gastric balloon includes the placement of a balloon in the stomach. The balloon is filled with saline and is inserted into your stomach using an endoscope (a thin, flexible tube with a camera attached). The whole procedure takes approximately 20 minutes to 30 minutes to complete.

The balloon inserted is adjustable like the adjustable gastric band and has a retractable inflation tube attached to it which helps your doctor adjust the balloon and remove the balloon. The placement of a gastric balloon helps you lose weight by increasing the feeling of fullness, as most of the stomach space is occupied by it.

5. Single Anastomosis Duodenal Ileal bypass with Sleeve Gastrectomy

This weight loss procedure is a relatively new addition to the list of bariatric procedures by the American Society for Biliary and Metabolic Surgery. This procedure includes a sleeve gastrectomy which is also the first step of the procedure. Once that step is completed, the newly formed pouch of the stomach or sleeve of the stomach is then attached to the distal part of your small intestines.

To choose the right type of weight loss surgery for you, you should have a consultation with the surgeon about the specific benefits and side effects of each procedure. While you will be making the final decision, it is important to keep an open mind about your surgeon’s suggestions.

6. Gastric Band or Lap Band Procedure (Not often used now)

The gastric band procedure is a surgical, open weight loss procedure, performed with the purpose of reducing the stomach size without removing portions of the stomach. For this procedure, a gastric band is placed around your stomach with the intention that it would limit the size of the abdomen and eventually affect the amount of food you consume. With several advancements in techniques for the procedure, the intervention has been upgraded to be called an adjustable gastric band procedure.

This procedure creates small incisions in the abdominal region. After the probes are in place, a specific piece of instrument is used to place the gastric band around your stomach, creating a small pouch. However, it doesn’t have a huge effect on obesity or the management of any obesity-related medical conditions.

Ideal Candidates for Weight Loss Procedures

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Weight loss surgeries are complex procedures that have certain side effects associated with them. The complexity of the procedures along with the potential complications are responsible for the strict rules and eligibility criteria to undergo the procedures. To be eligible to undergo a weight loss procedure:

  • You must have a BMI of more than 40, classified as morbidly obese and suffer from complications of obesity.
  • Your BMI ranges from 35 to 39.9, which is moderately obese, and you suffer from diabetes mellitus type 2, GERD, or cardiovascular health problems as a result of your obesity.
  • Your BMI is 30 to 34, or you are obese with either comorbidities or the potential to develop severe health complications.
  • Your BMI puts you in the overweight category but you are already suffering from metabolic, cardiac, and neurological complications of obesity.

Recovery after Weight Loss Procedures

The recovery period after a weight loss surgery, regardless of the type, is usually 4 weeks to 6 weeks, almost all of which you should spend resting. It is important to spend at least the first week with minimal movements to avoid any complications of the procedure.

Even though you can return to light physical activities during the second and third weeks, it is important to note that the first three weeks should be free of any sort of physical exercise, especially the strenuous kind that puts pressure on your incisions. This is to avoid any complications such as wound separation caused by too much effort. After these three weeks, you can start performing light exercises and resume your daily activities, just making sure to never put direct pressure on your incisions.

You should also refrain from smoking or drinking alcohol during this period. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics and pain management medications to help you during the recovery period. You should avoid drinking while you are on these medications. Read our blog about Smokers & Surgery – Impact of Smoking.

Risks and Complications of Weight Loss Procedures

Some of the common risks and complications associated with weight loss procedures are:

  • Acid reflux
  • Anaesthesia-related risks
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Widening of the oesophagus
  • Inability to eat certain foods
  • Infection at the site of incision
  • Stomach obstruction
  • Weight gain or inability to lose weight
  • Revision surgery

The severe side effects of the weight loss procedure are:

  • Dumping syndrome, the symptoms of which include nausea, dizziness, weakness
  • Hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Obstruction of the bowel
  • Hernia
  • Malnutrition

Excess Skin Removal after Post-Weight Loss Surgery


Losing weight is quite a challenging task. However, even after losing weight, you may develop excess skin. There is no treatment for excess skin except surgery where this skin would just be removed. If you are suffering from excess skin in different areas of the body, then a post-weight loss procedure might be suitable for you.

Dr Scott Turner is a specialist plastic surgeon who performs abdominoplasty and post-weight loss surgery.

NOTE: Dr Turner only performs post-weight loss procedures on patients who are 18+ months post bariatric surgery and have a stable weight for 6+ months. The patients should also not smoke and have a BMI smaller than 30.

Excess Skin Removal Procedures

Medical References – Further Reading

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Next Steps

Always Do Your Research

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Making the Most of Your Consultation

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