Procedures and Associated Risks


There are numerous different surgical weight loss procedures that a patient may pursue. Some are restrictive procedures that reduce the size of a patient’s stomach so that he or she feels full, while eating less food. Other procedures change how a patient’s digestive system works so that fewer calories are absorbed.

You and your doctor will discuss which bariatric surgery procedure is best for you to produce the best results that come with the fewest amount of risks.

The three most common surgical procedures are:

  • Gastric Bypass (also known as Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass)
    A smaller stomach pouch is created by dividing it from the rest of the stomach with your small intestine connected to the new pouch. With this procedure, patients often lose 60 to 80 percent of excess body weight and will experience hormonal changes that further contribute to weight loss.
  • Sleeve Gastrectomy
    With this procedure, about 80 percent of your stomach is removed, leaving behind a pouch in the shape of a banana. The fundus, which produces much of the hunger hormone called ghrelin, is removed along with the stomach, which can help regulate appetite after surgery.
  • Duodenal Switch
    This surgery, also called biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch, is more complex than the others. The duodenal switch involves two separate surgeries. The first is similar to gastric sleeve surgery. The second surgery redirects food to bypass most of your small intestine. The surgeon also reattaches the bypassed section to the last part of the small intestine, allowing digestive juices to mix with food.

Associated Risks

All surgeries, including weight loss surgeries, may potentially impose immediate health concerns and / or long-term health risks, and in some cases, death. It is important to understand those before committing to surgery.

Short-term risks may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia
  • Blood clots
  • Lung or respiratory problems
  • Gastrointestinal system leaks

Long-term risks may include:

  • Bowel obstruction
  • Dumping syndrome, causing diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Gall stones
  • Hernias
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia development)
  • Malnutrition
  • Stomach perforation
  • Ulcers