Gastric Bypass vs. Gastric Sleeve

January 11, 2014

Many of our patients ask us about the difference between the gastric bypass and the gastric sleeve. They wonder which procedure is better. As is the case with most decisions in bariatric surgery, it is not necessarily which procedure is better, but which procedure is better for their particular circumstance. Gastric bypass and gastric sleeve have significant differences that ultimately create a much different patient experience.

The biggest difference between the two procedures is how the procedures are performed. The gastric bypass is a relatively complex procedure that both cuts away about 85% of the existing stomach pouch – to limit the amount of food the patient eats – and bypasses the small intestine to reduce the number of calories that are absorbed into the blood stream through the intestinal walls. No part of the stomach is removed during this procedure. During the gastric sleeve, about 75 to 80% of the stomach is cut away along the greater curvature, which leaves a long banana-shaped stomach pouch versus the more circular stomach pouch created by the gastric bypass. This time, the portion of the stomach cut away is removed from the body entirely. The small intestine is not touched and therefore food is digested normally after it passes through the stomach.

Both procedures offer qualified patients significant potential for weight loss and disease resolution. Though, on average, the gastric bypass allows for greater potential excess weight loss, there are some drawbacks as compared to the gastric sleeve.

  • Sleeve patients will not experience dumping syndrome, a common and not life threatening condition associated with gastric bypass patients who eat high fat or high sugar foods.
  • Generally speaking, gastric bypass patients will have greater nutritional restrictions and will likely have to take a higher dose of vitamin supplementation after surgery.
  • The gastric sleeve, in removing the fundus – where much of the hunger hormone ghrelin is produced – of the stomach, may also help a number of patients reduce their hunger cravings.
  • Gastric sleeve patients will also, on average, experience fewer operative and post-operative complications, however it is important to bear in mind that the patient’s particular health circumstances as well as a surgeon’s experience in the procedure makes each and every surgery unique.

Ultimately, the gastric bypass and gastric sleeve achieve similar goals of exceptional and rapid weight loss, with different means of getting to that point. We hope that prospective patients reading this post understand that there is no one procedure that is right for everybody. Patients need to attend a weight loss surgery seminar to begin to understand their options in bariatric surgery. Then over the course of several consultations before surgery, they should understand exactly what each procedure entails. At that point, with the help of their surgeon, they will be able to make informed decisions as to which procedure is right for them.

We look forward to seeing you at our next bariatric surgery seminar, where we hope you will learn more about the bariatric surgery options available for your particular circumstance.

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Advanced Surgical Associates is one of the first exclusively surgical groups practicing in Union County New Jersey. And that is just the first of many firsts for ASA. For over 40 years, we have pioneered breakthrough surgical patient care in North Jersey in both general and weight loss surgery. ASA also offers gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and gastric banding to those suffering from obesity in New Jersey.
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