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How Weight Loss Surgery Can Change Your Life

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Choosing a Type of Weight Loss Surgery

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Biliopancreatic Diversion

What it is: This is a more drastic version of a gastric bypass. The surgeon removes as much as 70% of your stomach and bypasses even more of the small intestine.  

A somewhat less extreme version is biliopancreatic diversion with a duodenal switch, or “the duodenal switch.” It's still more involved than a gastric bypass, but this procedure removes less of the stomach and bypasses less of the small intestinethan biliopancreatic diversion without the switch. It also makes dumping syndrome, malnutrition, and ulcers less common than with a standard biliopancreatic diversion.

Pros: Biliopancreatic diversion can result in even greater and faster weight loss than a gastric bypass. Although much of the stomach is removed, what's left is still larger than the pouches formed during gastric bypass or banding procedures. So you may be able to eat larger meals with this surgery than with others.

Cons: Biliopancreatic diversion is less common than gastric bypass. One of the reasons is that the risk of not getting enough nutrients is much more serious. It also poses many of the same risks as gastric bypass, including dumping syndrome. But the duodenal switch may lower some of these risks.

Risks: This is one of the most complicated and riskiest weight loss surgeries. As with gastric bypass, this surgery poses a fairly high risk of hernias, which will need more surgery to correct. But this risk is lower when the doctor uses minimally invasive procedures (called laparoscopy).

Which Weight Loss Surgery Is Best?

The ideal weight loss surgery depends on your health and body type.

For instance, if you are very obese, or if you have had abdominal surgery before, simpler surgeries might not be possible. Talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of each procedure.

If possible, go to a medical center that specializes in weight loss surgery. Studies show that complications are less likely when weight loss surgery is done by experts.

No matter where you are, always make sure that your surgeon has had plenty of experience doing the procedure you need.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on May 29, 2014
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