There are several weight loss surgeries currently approved by the FDA. Although the overall goal of all weight loss surgeries is weight reduction, there are a couple of ways that this is achieved. The most popular surgeries are either restrictive or malabsorptive.
Restrictive surgeries have the goal of limiting the amount of food that the stomach can tolerate. This causes the patient to feel more full even when less food is consumed. These procedures include gastric sleeve, gastric banding, and intragastric balloon.
The gastric sleeve is a permanent procedure during which the surgeon will remove more than half of the stomach and reattach the remaining pieces. The surgery itself should only take about an hour, but there will likely be several days of hospital recovery.
Gastric banding is one of the more commonly discussed surgeries in media. Physicians use a small camera on a tube and a few small incisions to place a band around the stomach. This creates a smaller stomach pouch that helps the patient feel full. The band can be adjust at subsequent visits using a port that is placed under the skin that allows the physician to add or reduce fluid in the band. This surgery also typically takes about an hour, but usually the hospital recovery time is shorter.
Intragastric balloon is a silicon balloon filled with saline. The physician will place the balloon inside the patient’s stomach. This will aid by making them feel full and reducing the amount that they can eat. This surgery is usually only suitable for candidates with a BMI between 30 and 40.
Malabsorptive surgeries remove part of the digestive system, which reduces the number of minerals or calories absorbed. These types of surgeries are considered to be more invasive because there are multiple organs and larger incisions involved. The two main types of malabsorptive weight loss surgeries are gastric bypass and duodenal switch.
Gastric bypass is a procedure in which the physician creates a small pouch out of the stomach and connects it to the small intestine. This allows the food to pass by the majority of the stomach. This surgery is considered mineral malabsorptive.
On the other hand, duodenal switch is typically only recommended for candidates with a BMI of 50 or more because it has more risks associated. It is both mineral and calorie malabsorptive, so part of the risk is malnutrition. In the procedure, approximately 80% of the stomach is removed.