Gastric bypass pros and cons

Weigh the Pros and Cons of Gastric Bypass Surgery

By Gaurav Sharma, MD, Bariatric Surgeon, Virtua Bariatric Weight-Loss Surgery

There are 4 types of bariatric surgery procedures: laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (gastric sleeve), gastric bypass, gastric band and duodenal switch. Of all of these, gastric sleeve and gastric bypass are top choices by patients looking to lose weight through surgery.

Gastric sleeve surgery (sleeve gastrectomy) is now more popular than gastric bypass for weight loss. In fact, gastric sleeve surgery is now the most common bariatric surgery in the US. In this surgery, the stomach is reduced to about 15% of its original size—giving it a sleeve-like structure. Patients lose weight because they feel full from smaller food portions, eat less and have a significantly decreased feeling of hunger.

In contrast, gastric bypass is a more aggressive option than sleeve gastrectomy, but it typically provides greater weight loss. Gastric bypass can reduce excess body weight by an average of 75 percent in one year. In addition to helping you lose weight, gastric bypass can resolve Type 2 diabetes in nearly 90 percent of cases, as well as reduce cravings for unhealthy foods, decrease feelings of hunger and even alter food preferences.

During gastric bypass surgery, the surgeon reduces the size of the stomach by using staples to create a small section that holds the food you eat. The doctor then connects the small intestine to a hole in the section of your stomach that holds the food, essentially bypassing the larger section of your stomach. While gastric bypass typically provides greater weight loss, the popularity of it has decreased due, in part, to an increased risk of complications like small bowel obstruction, internal hernia and ulcers where the stomach connects with the small bowel.

Your surgeon can help you choose the best surgery for you, but if you’re considering gastric bypass, here’s some important information to know.

What are the weight loss benefits of gastric bypass surgery?

Gastric bypass promotes weight loss by restricting the amount of food your stomach can hold and changing the way your stomach and small intestine absorb calories and nutrients from food.

Studies have shown that gastric bypass surgery also affects hormone levels that regulate feelings of hunger and fullness and changes your brain’s response to eating. As a result, patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery feel full most of the time, experience less pleasure from eating and are less susceptible to emotional eating and external eating cues.

As an added bonus, people who have had gastric bypass surgery often report changes to their food preferences, including:

  • Fewer cravings for foods that are high in fat and sugar
  • Decreased preference for sugary foods and carbohydrates
  • Decreased tolerance for specific foods/beverages, such as meat, dairy, carbohydrates, water or sweets

Some gastric bypass patients find that foods they previously enjoyed now taste bitter, have an unappealing consistency or smell bad. Hormonal changes also cause some gastric bypass patients to experience rapid gastric emptying, or “dumping syndrome,” a condition that causes food to travel to the small bowel too quickly after eating meals that are high in carbohydrates and/or sugar. Dumping syndrome can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, including:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

Patients who experience dumping syndrome quickly learn what foods their bodies can and can’t tolerate. They also use the way they feel after eating to help them regulate what and how much they eat.

How can I prepare for my diet after gastric bypass surgery?

Most candidates for bariatric surgery begin working with a registered dietitian 3 to 4 months before surgery. A dietitian can help you change your portion sizes and the types of food you eat so you don’t become overwhelmed in the months following your bariatric surgery.

Although bariatric surgeons recommend following a high-protein, low-sugar, low-carbohydrate and low-fat diet after surgery, working with a dietitian can help you cope with changes to food preferences and achieve maximum weight-loss results.

After bariatric surgery, you should see a dietitian every 4 to 6 weeks for at least 6 months. Your dietitian will be sensitive to any food preference changes you may experience while providing recipes and food substitution options to help you get the nutrients you need. Your dietitian also will show you how to track your calorie and nutrient intake and work with you to establish weight-loss goals.

Is it possible to regain weight after bariatric surgery?

Some patients who undergo bariatric surgery regain weight in the years following the procedure because they return to unhealthy eating behaviors. Although many patients experience dumping syndrome soon after gastric bypass surgery, some patients discover that unhealthy foods cause less discomfort over time and eventually start eating these foods again.

To minimize the risk of regaining weight after bariatric surgery, Virtua offers a monthly support group so you can learn from others and share helpful advice. There’s also a supportive, private Facebook page where Virtua bariatric surgery patients share success stories, challenges and advice (patients can join by request).

Call 1-888-VIRTUA-3 (1-888-847-8823) to schedule a consultation with a Virtua bariatric surgeon, or attend an information session to learn more.

Updated May 15, 2018

Risks of Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery carries real risks. As many as 40% of people have complications afterward. These complications can occur soon after surgery or in the long term, and they vary based on the type of weight loss surgery you have.

While some complications are unpleasant or inconvenient, others may cause pain and discomfort or require additional surgeries, including:

  • Short-term complications:
    • Wound infections
    • Excessive bleeding
    • Breathing problems
  • Long-term complications:
    • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
    • Abdominal hernias
    • Malnutrition

Serious complications can happen, too. Those are rare, happening about 3% of the time. Some can be life-threatening:

  • Blood clot to the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
  • Leaks in the new surgical gut connections
  • Bleeding ulcers
  • Heart attacks

The risk is higher for people over age 60. Having weight loss surgery at a center with very experienced surgeons reduces this risk.

Even after successful weight loss surgery, other problems are common:

  • Gallstones, often requiring gallbladder removal
  • Vitamin deficiencies or malnutrition, from poor absorption of nutrients
  • Sagging skin, requiring body contouring surgery

Pros And Cons Of Gastric Bypass Surgery For Severe Obesity

The number of patients suffering from high blood pressure fell by 76 per cent, diabetes fell by 90 per cent and cases of dyslipidaemia – abnormal concentrations of lipids or lipoproteins in the blood – fell by 77 per cent.

However 29 complications were reported in 27 patients, including minor wound infections and narrowing of the anastomotic suture, and ten patients had to be operated on again in the four-year period after surgery.

Surgeons at the University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland, carried out the study to compare two techniques and find out whether varying the length of the small bowel limb during surgery could offer superior weight loss.

It had been suggested by several studies that a longer length would reduce the body’s ability to absorb certain sugars and fats.

As a result of the four-year study, they now perform proximal gastric bypass as the operation of first choice, having decided that the distal gastric bypass technique, with its longer alimentary limb, doesn’t offer any significant advantages but does have a number of drawbacks.


“There has been an ongoing debate about whether having a longer limb offers the patient greater weight loss and we decided to compare both techniques” explains Dr Markus Muller from the University’s Department of Visceral and Transplant Surgery.

Fifty patients having laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery were match-paired, with 25 undergoing the proximal technique and 25 undergoing the distal technique. The alimentary limb length in the proximal surgery group was 150cm and this increased to between 200cm and 400cm in the distal group.

The study subjects’ BMIs averaged 45.9 in the proximal group and 45.8 in the distal group. All had been obese for more than five years and had failed to lose weight using conventional methods for at least two years. Forty were female, their average age was 38 and their average weight was 126kg.

Key findings included:

  • BMI decreased from 45.9 to 31.7 in the proximal group (31 per cent) and from 45.8 to 33.1 in the distal group (28 per cent).
  • Average operating time was significantly longer in patients undergoing distal than proximal bypass surgery (242 minutes versus 170 minutes) and distal patients stayed in hospital longer (nine days versus eight days).
  • Over the four-year follow-up, 29 complications were reported in 11 patients in the proximal group and 16 patients in the distal group. 12 repeat operations were necessary, four in the proximal group and eight in the distal group. Two patients – one in each group – had two operations for both early and late complications.
  • Sixteen early complications were reported in the first 30 days after surgery – eight in each group. Eight of these were wound infections, there were two cases each of internal hernia, narrowing of the anastomotic suture and pulmonary embolism and one case each of staple-line bleeding and intra-abdominal abscess. Three reoperations and two endoscopic dilatations were required.
  • Thirteen late complications were reported 48 months after surgery, including seven internal hernias and three cases where the anastomotic suture had narrowed. There was also one case each of anastomotic ulcer, foreign body (part of a suction drain) and severe malnutrition. Nine reoperations and three endoscopic dilatations were required.
  • Before they received their gastric bypass, 29 patients had been suffering from high blood pressure. Two years after surgery this had dropped to seven patients (from 14 to two in the proximal group and 15 to five in the distal group).
  • Diabetes declined from 19 patients to two (from ten to two in the proximal group and nine to zero in the distal group).
  • The number of patients with dyslipidaemia – abnormal concentrations of lipids or lipoproteins in the blood – fell from 39 to nine (from 20 to four in the proximal group and 19 to five in the distal group).

“Our study found that both laparoscopic and distal bypass operations were feasible and safe with no deaths” says Dr Muller. “There were no significant statistical differences between the two techniques when it came to weight loss or reducing health issues such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

“However, we were very concerned that one of the distal patients developed severe protein malnutrition, because malnourished patients have high complication rates after surgery. A further operation was carried out to convert the distal bypass to a proximal bypass.

“As a result we now perform proximal gastric bypass surgery as the operation of first choice in morbidly obese patients.”

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Gastric Bypass Surgery

Heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes are just a few of the life-threatening reasons people consider having weight-loss surgery. But gastric bypass can bring complications of its own. That’s why doctors always have patients weigh the pros and cons of their decision carefully.

For Iowan Penny Wheeler, gastric bypass surgery was a way to hit her target weight-loss goal after gaining a lot of weight following successful cancer treatment. At her peak of 330 pounds, all dieting solutions had failed and doctors gave her a dire warning.

“If you don’t have this surgery, you will die within a year. That was an eye opener right there,” says Wheeler.

Mayo Clinic gastrointestinal surgeon Michael Sarr, MD, performed a Roux-en Y procedure on Wheeler, which decreased the length of her intestine where food is absorbed, minimizing the amount she could eat after surgery. When Dr. Sarr agreed to do the surgery, he told Wheeler everything else was up to her. She followed his advice and radically changed her lifestyle, starting an exercise program and making drastic dietary changes.

She found that she also had to appease a newly sensitive digestive tract. “Milk gets me sick,” says Wheeler. “I was not lactose intolerant before the surgery, but I am now.”

To fill nutritional deficits, gastric bypass patients need to take vitamins and calcium supplements, and patients on heart medications or immunosuppressive drugs need to be monitored closely, according to Sarr. He says that nearly half his pre-bypass patients struggle with depression, and even successful weight loss can create emotional strain.

“Spouses may have trouble. You get comfortable with your spouse and then one of them loses weight and the other doesn’t,” says Sarr. “There can be some jealousy there.”

There can also be side effects from the surgery. Scarring from Wheeler’s bypass contributed to an intestinal blockage, which required follow-up surgery. But Sarr says there are major benefits as well. Diabetic patients often see their insulin usage or medication needs decrease dramatically. Likewise, high pressure becomes easier to control. “We expect 80-percent of people to decrease the amount of medicines they’re on, 50-percent to get off their anti-hypertensive,” Sarr notes.

Despite complications and side effects Wheeler endured, she doesn’t regret having gastric bypass surgery. The benefits were life-saving – and life-changing.

The pros and cons of gastric bypass surgery – The role of the Roux-limb

The prevalence of overweight and obesity has exploded in the post-industrial era. Life style interventions like dieting and exercise can induce a marked weight loss, but the main problem for most patients is to maintain the reduced body weight over time. Gastric bypass surgery is a commonly performed and very effective method for achieving a pronounced and sustained weight loss including metabolic improvements in obese patients. Despite the therapeutic successfulness there are known side-effects like chronic postprandial nausea and pain that in some patients become intractable. The pathophysiology is complex and partly unexplored. The physician or surgeon handling a patient with “post-bariatric symptoms” must be aware of the risk for symptom aggravations due to iatrogenic opioid-associated intestinal dysmotility. The present paper gives a brief overview of obesity surgery and its associated postsurgical conditions with a focus on the unexplored role of the Roux-limb following gastric bypass surgery.

Gastric sleeve surgeries continue to grow in popularity, so it’s no surprise that many of the patients at Oregon Weight Loss Surgery (OWLS) have questions about it.

gastric sleeve pros and cons

We’ve found that the most effective way of presenting information on this topic is to list the pros and cons of gastric sleeve surgery. But before we get to that, let’s briefly answer another common question: What is gastric sleeve surgery?

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

The Mayo Clinic defines sleeve gastrectomy (also called a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, vertical gastrectomy, or gastric sleeve) as “a surgical weight-loss procedure … which involves inserting small instruments through multiple small incisions in the upper abdomen. During sleeve gastrectomy, about 80 percent of the stomach is removed, leaving a tube-shaped stomach about the size and shape of a banana.”

Gastric sleeve surgery uses surgical staplers (similar to a gastric bypass), but the procedure does not involve rearranging the gastrointestinal anatomy.

Gastric sleeve surgery has become relatively common in recent years. The procedure involves removing most of the stomach and leaving a thin section of the upper stomach, called the gastric sleeve.

Pros and Cons of Gastric Sleeve Surgery


  • It’s highly effective. Gastric sleeve surgery has a success rate of about 85 percent. Gastric sleeve surgery helps severely obese people lose about 60 percent of excess body weight within 12 months of surgery.
  • Patients undergo anesthesia so they can be completely asleep during the surgery. Sleeve gastrectomy is a simpler procedure than gastric bypass and is a minimally invasive procedure when performed laparoscopically. This type of surgery uses very small instruments. Patients recover quickly because the surgical incisions are tiny.
  • Many comorbidities, such as diabetes, cholesterol and sleep apnea, improve soon after surgery.
  • There are fewer dietary complications than gastric bypass, which causes some people to become ill when they eat sugars or refined carbohydrates.
  • No Dumping syndrome.
  • Less risk of vitamin deficiencies post-surgery.
  • No foreign objects implanted in the body like there is with gastric banding.


  • When patients wake up after bariatric surgery, they will likely feel thirsty, but will not be able to drink — or take anything by mouth right away. Furthermore, only liquids and soft foods can be consumed in the first few weeks of surgery.
  • The patient’s throat may feel sore due to the breathing tube used during surgery.
  • Similar to the gastric bypass, there is a risk of leaking and bleeding at the staple lines.
  • The patient’s abdominal area will be sore, requiring the short-term use of pain medications.
  • The procedure is permanent and irreversible.
  • Post-op> patients will be unable to participate in any physical activities until the surgeon determines it’s OK.
  • The procedure permanently removes about two-thirds of a patient’s stomach.
  • Carbonated beverages are off limits for people who undergo gastric sleeve surgery. The carbonation reacts with the stomach’s digestive enzymes, which causes gas. This can lead to a stretching of the stomach pouch.

Oregon Weight Loss Surgery

Are you a candidate for weight-loss surgery? Contact Oregon Weight Loss Surgery today. We perform a variety of surgical procedures, including gastric sleeve. We’re happy to work with you to consider options and to determine the most appropriate course of action for your weight-loss needs.

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, also known simply as gastric bypass, is one of the bariatric surgeries performed in the United States for the treatment of obesity or morbid obesity. While the adjustable gastric band, sleeve gastrectomy, and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch are also conducted, gastric bypass is the most common procedure. Bariatric surgery is only indicated for patients who failed to lose weight with other methods, and like any other type of surgery, there are pros and cons of undergoing a gastric bypass.

During the procedure, surgeons start by creating a small pouch in the upper part of the stomach and stapling it to reduce the size of the organ. Next, the pouch is connected to the second part of the small intestine to provoke malnutrition of nutrients and calories. The surgery will facilitate weight loss, but does not cause direct loss of weight, which means that it is only a part of the treatment that includes life-style alterations, an healthy diet and regular exercise.

Gastric Bypass Pros and Cons: Advantages

Gastric bypass is considered the “gold standard” of bariatric surgery, which means not only that it the most commonly performed bariatric procedure worldwide, but also that it has been widely experimented and studied, leading to most effective results. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), it is not uncommon for a bariatric surgery to reduce the size of the stomach, restricting the amount of food it can hold, but a gastric bypass also alters the food course, so that it won’t pass through a segment of small intestine that would normally absorb calories and nutrients.

Patients are proven to suffer alterations in gut hormones that promote satiety, suppress hunger, and reverse one of the primary mechanisms that cause obesity-related type 2 diabetes. In addition, the surgery causes on average 60 to 80% long-term excess weight loss, which is superior to adjustable gastric band, while typical maintenance is higher than 50%. Other advantages include improvements in overall health, comorbidities, mobility, and increase in energy expenditure and quality of life.

Gastric Bypass Pros and Cons: Disadvantages

However, there are not only advantages associated with gastric bypass. The surgery is technically a more complex operation than the adjustable gastric band or laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, which can possibly result in greater complication rates. Patients submitted to Roux-en-Y gastric bypass have an approximate mortality rate of 2.5% 90 days after the procedure. Despite the fact that comorbidities like diabetes and high blood pressure may be minimized or cured, the worse they are prior to the surgery, more likely it is for the patient to suffer further complications.

Unlike the gastric band, but similarly to the other procedures, it is an irreversible surgery. Other disadvantage shared with biliopancreatic division with duodenal switch is that it is highly likely to cause long-term vitamin or mineral deficiencies particularly in vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and folate. In addition, it generally has a longer hospital stay than the AGB and it requires adherence to dietary recommendations, life-long vitamin/mineral supplementation, and follow-up compliance, as explained by the ASMBS.

Note: Obesity News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

For a country obsessed with losing weight, spending more than $60 billion a year trying to shed pounds, Americans are failing miserably. Even though we know the health risks that come with being too overweight, almost 78 million adults and 13 million children are obese — that’s one in three adults. (1, 2) It’s obvious that people are trying, but what happens when all the diets, food plans and exercise don’t seem to make a difference? For many people, the answer is bariatric surgery.

What Is Bariatric Surgery?

So what is bariatric surgery? For starters, bariatric surgery isn’t a specific type. Instead, it’s an umbrella term used to describe an operation that helps people lose weight by altering their digestive systems in some way. Most people who are obese are likely eligible candidates, and the procedure is becoming more common. In 2011, 158,000 adults had a type of bariatric surgery. In 2015, that number swelled to 196,000. (3)

There are actually four types of bariatric surgery, but only three are widely used. They include laparoscopic adjustable gastric band, usually referred to as just gastric band; gastric sleeve surgery, also known as sleeve gastrectomy; and gastric bypass, or Roux-en-Y. (4)

With gastric band surgery, a ring with an inner inflatable band is place around the top of a patient’s stomach, creating a small pouch. In effect, this reduces the size of the stomach, so less food is required to feel full. Inside the band is a balloon filled with a saline solution. A surgeon can increase or decrease the size of the pouch’s opening by either injecting or removing solution.

In gastric sleeve surgery, most of the stomach is actually removed, making it easier to feel full after eating as well. What’s left behind is a small, banana-shaped section.

Gastric bypass surgery is more complex, because it actually makes your stomach smaller while rerouting digestion. How it works is that a surgeon staples the stomach, creating a pouch in the upper section that effectively works as your stomach — you eat less because you’re satiated more quickly.

Next, a surgeon will cut the small intestine, attaching it directly to the stomach pouch. When you eat, food ends up actually skipping most of the stomach and the upper small intestine. This move means your body absorbs fewer calories from food since it’s not digesting as much.

The part of the stomach that’s been skipped will then be connected to the lower part of the small intestine. This bypassed section remains attached to the main part of your stomach, allowing digestive juices to still reach it.

Pros and Cons of Bariatric Surgery Types

Gastric Band: Using a band, the stomach’s size is reduced so you’ll feel full with less food


  • The band can be adjusted or removed.
  • There’s no change to your intestines.
  • It’s a short hospital stay.
  • You have the lowest risk of vitamin and nutrient shortage.


  • You might lose less weight than with other types of surgery.
  • Follow-up visits to adjust the band happen frequently. There’s also a chance your body won’t adapt to the band.
  • Eventually, you might have to replace or remove the band. In fact, a recent study showed that 1 in 5 older gastric band patients will require further operations.

Gastric Sleeve


  • You’ll lose more than the gastric band.
  • There’s no change to your intestines.
  • No bands or foreign objects in the body.
  • Short hospital stay.


  • Can’t be reversed.
  • Higher risk of surgery-related problems than gastric band.
  • There’s a chance of vitamin shortage.

Gastric Bypass


  • More weight loss than with the gastric band.
  • No foreign objects in the body.


  • Difficult to reverse.
  • Highest chance of vitamin shortage.
  • Higher risk of surgery-related problems than gastric band.

Who Is Bariatric Surgery For?

Clearly, bariatric surgery is not a low-maintenance, temporary fix. It’s a major procedure and intrusion on the body, with both physical and emotional effects. So who can undergo it?

The general guidelines for being a candidate for bariatric surgery are that you have tried to lose weight through diet and exercise, including a medically supervised program, and haven’t been successful, and also fall into one of the following categories:

  • Your body mass index, or BMI, is 40 or higher, which denotes extreme obesity.
  • You have a BMI in the 35 to 39.9 range, which is considered obese, but you have at least one more health problem that’s related to your weight and could be improved with weight loss, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • You’re at least 100 pounds over your ideal body weight. (5)

These are the basic things a doctor would consider, but just meeting one of those criteria doesn’t mean you’ll automatically find yourself on an operating table. There are other things to consider, such as the following:

Medical condition: Your medical condition pre-surgery plays a role on whether you’re a good candidate for bariatric surgery. A medical team will evaluate what risks are involved, whether you’re on medications, if you drink or smoke, and your overall physical health.

Mental health: Issues like substance abuse, binge eating and anxiety could have an effect on how well you can maintain the health benefits of surgery.

Age: There is no age limit for bariatric surgery, but the risks increase with age. For people under 18, the procedure remains controversial. (6)

Does Bariatric Surgery Work?

If nearly 200,000 people are operated on annually, surely bariatric surgery works, right? It’d be nice to just say “yes” and leave it at that, but the answer is a little more complicated.

First, let’s look at the positives. For morbidly obese candidates, weight-loss surgery has been shown to significantly decrease overall mortality along with the development of new health-related conditions. (7)

Another recent study of nearly 49,000 obese patients found that, five years later, those who’d undergone bariatric surgery were much less likely to die from any cause than those who hadn’t. In the group of patients who hadn’t had surgery, cardiovascular disease was the most common cause of death. (8)

And a review of 136 separate studies found that morbidly obese patients successfully lost weight after surgery and a majority of patients experienced total resolution of health problems like diabetes and hypertension. (9)

But bariatric surgery doesn’t come without its risks.

Risks of Bariatric Surgery

Weight Gain After the Honeymoon Period

It’s pretty hard not to lose weight after bariatric surgery, particularly in the beginning. But hunger isn’t just a biological process — it’s also an emotional one as well. That’s why people eat when they’re bored, stressed out or upset. If you’re someone with underlying issues surrounding food, surgery won’t fix that. In fact, after the “honeymoon period,” you might actually gain weight.

A study published in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association found that there was a significant amount of weight gain in patients who underwent gastric sleeve surgery. (10) That’s why making lifestyle changes is critical.

Dumping Syndrome

This condition, also known as rapid gastric emptying, can develop after bariatric surgery. When food, particularly sugar, goes from the stomach to the small bowel too quickly, “dumping” symptoms like cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea occur.


Bariatric surgery can increase the risk of gallstones, small “stones” found in the gallbladder. They’re formed when cholesterol, calcium and other particles bind together and get stuck in the gallbladder, causing pain and problems like indigestion and back pain.

Changes in Gut Bacteria and Metabolism

Two types of bariatric surgery, gastric bypass and gastric sleeve, can actually change gut bacteria and hormones, since the procedures remove part of your stomach. Messing with the human microbiome can lead to things like leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune diseases and disorders like arthritis, dementia and heart disease. Fertility and longevity also rely on the right balance of bacteria in our guts.


Bariatric surgery decreases the amount of food a person can eat while also limiting how many nutrients the body can absorb from the food. That’s why patients are at high risk of malnutrition after their procedures. (11) Malnutrition happens when there’s a lack of micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, or macronutrients, like fats, carbs and protein. The most common deficiencies are B12 and iron. (12)


A recent study published in JAMA Surgery found that 1 in 5 older gastric band patients needed further gastric band surgery within five years of their original surgery. Researchers studied the Medicare claims data of 25,000 adults who had gastric band surgery from 2006 to 2013. They found that during an average follow-up of 4.5 years, 19 percent of patients required further gastric band surgeries, with an average of four surgeries per patient. (13)

Better Natural Options

For some people, bariatric surgery might be the best — or even last — option to transform their lives, lose weight and address the other health issues that go hand-in-hand with obesity. For other people, however, there might be other options.

Work with a professional. A nutritionist who focuses on whole foods and natural healing can help design a weight-loss menu and plan of attack that can help you lose pounds safely. While my healing foods diet is an excellent start, a nutritionist can design specific menus and recipes to keep you on track.

Working with a psychologist can be extremely helpful as well. Because many problems with food are actually rooted in other psychological issues, working with a therapist can assist in getting to the cause of the problem and make your weight loss efforts more successful.

Try a low-carb diet. The American Diabetes Association and 45 international medical and scientific societies have called for bariatric surgery to be a standard treatment option for diabetes. But as noted in a New York Times piece, there’s another option that’s seen significant success in treating or even reversing diabetes: the low-carb diet. (14) Until pharmaceutical insulin became available in the 1920s, reducing carbohydrates was actually standard treatment for diabetes.

A two-week study of 10 obese patients with type 2 diabetes had impressive results after a low-carb diet. Their glucose levels were normalized while their sensitivity to insulin improved by 75 percent. (15)

Final Thoughts on Bariatric Surgery

For some people, bariatric surgery might really be the only way to a healthier lifestyle. It’s important to remember, however, that surgery is simply a tool — it will not cure all problems.

Patients still need to be active participants in reforming their own lifestyles; a procedure alone won’t cure all. Additionally, bariatric surgery is a major procedure that should be examined with a medical professional to ensure it’s the best option, but for everyone, an improved diet combined with exercise is the best route for maintaining a healthy weight and healthy body.

Read Next: 3 Essential Oils for Weight Loss

In recent years, bariatric surgery has become an increasingly popular option for those seeking weight loss solutions. However, like other surgeries, there are potential risks and it is important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision. Let’s take a look at several different types of bariatric surgeries and the pros and cons of each.

Gastric Bypass

There are many different types of weight loss surgery. One of the oldest and most common is gastric bypass, in which food is diverted from a large portion of the stomach and the first part of the intestines. This prevents both overeating and reduces absorption of any food that is consumed.

One of the biggest advantages of gastric bypass surgery is that it has the quickest and most dramatic results of any weight surgical loss solution. Some patients lose over half of their body weight within the first six months after the surgery, and significant weight loss can continue for up to two years. This means that there can also be rapid relief for weight related conditions such as sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and even diabetes. Plus, the results from gastric bypass surgery tend to be more or less permanent.

However, there are a few downsides to having gastric bypass surgery. For one, it is a permanent procedure that cannot be reversed. The effects of gastric bypass surgery last for a lifetime. For another, gastric bypasses make it much more difficult for the body to absorb nutrients; while absorbing fewer calories is desirable for weight loss, the reduction in essential vitamins and minerals can cause significant bodily problems unless supplements are added to their daily diet.

In addition, gastric bypass is a major form of surgery, which requires a great deal of time to recover. Patients are also potentially susceptible to complications. Issues such as infections, blood clots, or slow healing can occur, all of which may require treatment at an emergency room such as GTEC.

Gastric Banding

Another common type of weight loss surgery is gastric banding. This process involves an inflatable band being placed around the stomach. The band can be adjusted to change the size of the stomach, causing patients to eat less and feel fuller faster.

One significant benefit of gastric banding is that it is not permanent. The results of the procedure can be adjusted by changing the size of the band, or even completely reversed by having the band removed. Additionally, gastric banding patients tend to have fewer dietary restrictions and lifestyle complications than those who opt for gastric bypass.

On the other hand, gastric banding does not produce results that are as rapid as some other bariatric surgeries. Weight loss and relief from obesity-related conditions can take significantly longer with a gastric band. Also, the fact that a foreign device is left within the body means that a number of complications can arise; gastric banding patients can be prone to infection as well as serious issues caused by the band slipping or leaking. In these cases severe pain might result, which can only be remedied by having another surgery so that the band can be adjusted or removed entirely.

A third common type of bariatric surgery is sleeve gastrectomy, also called a gastric sleeve. In this procedure, most of the stomach is removed, and the remaining stomach is stretched out to form a sleeve-like shape.

There are a number of advantages to having a gastric sleeve surgery. For one, this procedure does not have the potential complications of a gastric band, and is less risky than a gastric bypass. In fact, some patients that are too obese to undergo gastric bypass without complications may have a gastric sleeve surgery first, and then the bypass later. Generally, patients with a gastric sleeve can lose thirty to fifty percent of their weight in the first year.

There are downsides to this surgery, however. For one, part of the stomach is removed, making this surgery irreversible, although the stomach sleeve can be stretched out by poor dietary choices. Also, this surgery involves stapling the cut part of the stomach together, and serious problems can occur after the surgery if those staples leak.

Potential Problems

Any weight loss surgery can be subject to complications such as infections or trouble healing. If you have recently undergone weight loss surgery and experience sudden abdominal pain, bleeding, vomiting, or other unexpected symptoms, then it is imperative that you go to an emergency room for immediate medical assistance. Golden Triangle Emergency Center provides prompt, professional treatment with short wait times in a comfortable, state-of-the-art environment.

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