What Is the Difference Between Gastric Bypass and Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

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The evolution of weight loss surgery during the past few decades has led to advanced techniques that include gastric bypass and gastric sleeve procedures. These popular options, along with the mini gastric bypass performed by bariatric surgeons at SmartShape™ Weight Loss Centre, offer unique benefits. If you’ve been researching bariatric surgery, you may be curious about the differences between a gastric bypass and a gastric sleeve.

In this blog post, we’ll describe the differences and how to determine which one is right for you.

Similarities Between Gastric Bypass and Gastric Sleeve

Before exploring the difference between gastric bypass and gastric sleeve, let’s first look at how the procedures are alike. They both aim to provide sustained weight loss for women and men who have tried to lose weight through lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise.

Both procedures are performed as laparoscopic surgeries, which are less invasive than traditional surgical methods. This surgical technique involves making small incisions and inserting a laparoscope, a thin rod with a camera attached, to visualize the abdominal area through keyhole incisions. It’s associated with faster recovery times and better outcomes for patients.

Each procedure involves reducing the size of the stomach to minimize how much food you can eat during a meal. Both require patients to spend the night of the surgery in the hospital and then return home the following day.

The recovery times for the mini gastric bypass and gastric sleeve procedures are essentially the same. Most patients can return to work and resume participating in normal activities within about 10 days of the surgery but should postpone more strenuous activities for 3 to 4 weeks.

Differences Between Gastric Bypass and Gastric Sleeve

The two weight loss procedures differ in significant ways. Let’s take a closer look at each of the techniques:

Gastric Bypass

The traditional gastric bypass was one of the first bariatric surgery techniques. The mini gastric bypass involves many of the same surgical techniques, but it is less complicated and can be performed more quickly than a traditional bypass, with the surgery taking less than an hour.

During a mini gastric bypass, the surgeon separates about 25% of the stomach from the remainder of the stomach. That is the first step in what is a 2-step process. After dividing the stomach into 2 parts, the surgeon connects the smaller portion—called a “gastric pouch”—to the small intestine. This results in most of the stomach and about one-third of the small intestine being bypassed in the process of digesting and absorbing the food you eat.

In some cases, surgeons can reverse gastric bypass procedures with revision surgery.

Gastric Sleeve

Unlike the mini gastric bypass procedure, gastric sleeve surgery involves removing a portion of the stomach. A banana-shaped pouch, or “sleeve,” remains. After having gastric sleeve surgery, patients feel full after eating much smaller portions than before the procedure. In addition, removing part of the stomach reduces the amount of a hormone that is responsible for feeling hungry.

Because gastric sleeve surgery removes a portion of the stomach, surgeons cannot reverse it but can revise it.

Which Option Is Best for You?

Once you’ve chosen to get bariatric surgery and your physician has cleared you medically to undergo the operation, you’ll consult with your bariatric surgeon to decide whether gastric sleeve or gastric bypass surgery is your best option. Some factors that may influence your choice include:

  • Your weight: In general, gastric bypass is typically recommended for patients who are severely obese. The more complicated procedure is a powerful weight loss tool that can result in dramatic weight loss. A gastric bypass also tends to help improve diabetes more than the gastric sleeve, although both are effective.
  • Risk: Patients who are at higher risk of experiencing complications during surgery may opt for the gastric sleeve procedure. It is less complicated, and the risk of complications is slightly lower than gastric bypass.
  • Previous surgery: If you’ve already undergone abdominal surgery, the build-up of scar tissue makes the gastric bypass procedure impossible.

Whether you undergo gastric sleeve or gastric bypass, you must be prepared to alter your eating and lifestyle habits and avoid excessive alcohol consumption. We provide a 5-Year Aftercare Success program to help you navigate these lifestyle changes after weight loss surgery.

The best way to determine which option is right for you is to discuss the procedures with one of our experienced weight loss surgeons. You can call us at (888) 278-7952 to schedule an appointment or request a consultation using the online form.