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Facts About Weight Loss Surgery

Types of Weight Loss Surgery continued...

Biliopancreatic Diversion

Biliopancreatic diversion is similar to roux-en-Y gastric bypass:

  • Like a roux-en-Y gastric bypass, the surgeon divides the stomach and creates a small pouch.
  • The surgeon then connects the stomach to an even further-down section of intestine, compared with roux-en-Y gastric bypass.
  • After biliopancreatic diversion, the stomach is small, and food bypasses a large amount of intestine. The person both eats less and absorbs fewer calories, causing weight loss.

Only a few weight loss surgery centers perform biliopancreatic diversion. It is highly effective, but is difficult to perform. Also, biliopancreatic diversion frequently leads to nutritional deficiencies. It accounts for less than 5% of all weight loss surgery.

Vertical Banded Gastroplasty

Vertical banded gastroplasty creates a small stomach pouch using staples and a plastic band.

Vertical banded gastroplasty results in less weight loss, compared with other surgeries. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and gastric banding have mostly replaced vertical banded gastroplasty. Only 5% of bariatric surgeons still perform this surgery.

What to Expect From Weight Loss Surgery

For most people, weight loss surgery leads to significant weight loss.

  • Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and biliopancreatic diversion lead to the most weight loss -- about 60% of excess weight. That means that a person who is 200 pounds overweight would lose 120 pounds, on average. This weight loss takes several months to a few years.
  • Laparoscopic gastric banding leads to about 40% excess weight loss. So on average the person above would lose about 80 pounds after gastric banding.

All of this assumes changes in lifestyle that lead to sustained weight loss: eating small meals and regular exercise.

Whether done laparoscopically or open, weight loss surgery is major surgery. As with any surgery, its benefits come with some risk:

  • About 10% of people will have minor complications of weight loss surgery. These include wound infections, minor bleeding, ulcers, or hernias.
  • 1% to 3% of people have major or life-threatening complications. Blood clots, leaks in the new connections made by the weight loss surgery, or major bleeding or infections are examples.
  • Between 0.2% and 0.5% of people (less than one in 200) die from complications of weight loss surgery within the first month.

These risks may be higher at surgical centers that do not perform large numbers of weight loss surgeries. The risk of death is higher for patients older than 65.

Assuming no complications occur, most people stay in the hospital two to three days after weight loss surgery and return to normal activities within two to three weeks.

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Andrew Seibert, MD on February 05, 2012

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