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Gastric Bypass vs. Gastric Sleeve: Which Is Best for You?

Jul 06, 2023
Gastric Bypass vs. Gastric Sleeve: Which Is Best for You?
When you’re obese and your health is at risk, your doctor may recommend gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery so you can lose weight quickly and safely. Both also help you keep the weight off long-term. But which procedure is best for you?

Although the validity of the body-mass index (BMI) is sometimes called into question because it doesn’t account for muscle-bound or heavy-boned adults, when your BMI is over 40, you’re severely obese. You probably don’t need to calculate your BMI to confirm it, and your degree of being overweight has already made your life more difficult than it should be.

You’ve probably already tried more diets than you can count, yet you still can’t reliably and sustainably lose enough weight. Your doctor may recommend bariatric surgery so you can quickly and safely lose the excess pounds that endanger your health and increase your risk of:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Stroke
  • Many types of cancers
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

At Slim Vegas Bariatric & General Surgery in Las Vegas, Nevada, our fellowship-trained bariatric specialist, Jon Williams, MD, expertly performs both gastric sleeve and gastric bypass to help you attain and maintain a healthy weight. Our team also helps you choose the right procedure for your needs.

What’s the difference between gastric sleeve and gastric bypass? Here’s a brief description, including the pros and cons of each procedure.

Gastric bypass surgery

Gastric bypass surgery, sometimes called Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, is the gold-standard for bariatric surgery. It’s the most commonly performed bariatric surgery in the world, and about 70% of bariatric weight-loss surgeries in the United States are gastric bypasses. 

When you undergo gastric bypass, your surgeon creates an egg-sized pouch out of the top of your stomach, which is where your food goes after you’ve chewed and swallowed. Because this portion of your stomach is now so small, you feel full sooner and can’t overeat.

The small stomach pouch is connected to a portion of your small intestine, which has also been divided. Once your stomach pouch has finished its portion of digestion, the food then passes into the small intestine.

However, the rest of your stomach still has a role to play. We leave it in place and connect it to the other portion of the intestine that we divided. In this way, you get the advantage of all of the stomach acids and enzymes to help you digest and process the food as it moves through the rest of your system.

Pros of gastric bypass

  • Can lose 31% of total body weight 
  • Works very quickly
  • Long-term maintenance of 50% of weight loss, up to 20 years 
  • Provides excellent resolution of obesity-related complications

Cons of gastric bypass

  • More involved surgery than gastric sleeve
  • May trigger dumping syndrome, in which food moves from your stomach pouch into your small intestine without being digested
  • Slightly higher complication rate
  • Can’t take aspirin or NSAIDs after surgery
  • Must take vitamins for the rest of your life

Gastric bypass is the preferred surgery when severe obesity affects your day-to-day life. It helps resolve metabolic syndrome. It’s also the best surgery to help you become ambulatory again if your weight has made it difficult or impossible to walk without assistance.

Gastric sleeve surgery

Gastric sleeve surgery is a simpler procedure. Instead of rerouting your stomach and intestines, your doctor staples off a small section of your stomach and removes the portion of the stomach that you’ll no longer use. 

The area of your stomach is drastically reduced — like a narrow sleeve — so you can’t overeat. You also feel full and satisfied with smaller portions.

Pros of gastric sleeve

Cons of gastric sleeve

  • May cause reflux or gallstones
  • Weight loss takes longer
  • Must take vitamins the rest of your life
  • Doesn’t resolve metabolic syndrome
  • Doesn’t resolve lifestyle issues

We can help you decide which is right for you

If you’re not sure which type of surgery would be best for you, there’s no need to stress. During your consultation, we look at your overall health as well as any other medical issues or concerns you may have. We recommend the surgery we think matches best with your needs.

Are you ready to lose weight safely, effectively, and permanently? Contact the Slim Vegas team for gastric bypass or gastric sleeve. Just call or use our online scheduling form today.