Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Why It's Preferred Over Gastric Bypass

For years, if someone talked about bariatric surgery or weight-loss surgery, you could assume they were talking about gastric bypass. This was the only common weight-loss surgery for several decades. But that has changed. Now, there are several weight-loss surgeries to choose from, and one that patients are increasingly choosing is called gastric sleeve surgery. Why is this surgery becoming so popular? Well, the main reason is that it offers some distinct benefits over the more conventional gastric bypass.

Gastric sleeve lets food pass through the whole small intestine.

The small intestine is where much of the digestion takes place. Not only is food broken down here, but nutrients are also absorbed from it. Gastric bypass surgery causes the food to bypass a part of the small intestine, which can lead to decreased absorption. Over time, patients may develop several nutrient deficiencies as a result of this. Gastric sleeve surgery, on the other hand, only bypasses part of the stomach. The food travels through the entire small intestine, which helps ensure nutrient absorption is not negatively impacted by the surgery. This is likely better for your long-term health and will reduce your need for supplements.

Gastric sleeve surgery is faster to perform.

The longer someone is under anesthesia for surgery, the greater the risk of side effects. This is especially true of overweight patients for whom general anesthesia is a bit riskier. Gastric sleeve surgery is simpler for the surgeon to perform and requires fewer steps than gastric bypass surgery. This means you won't be under anesthesia for as long, which reduces your risk. Your recovery may also be shorter and more comfortable after gastric sleeve surgery for similar reasons.

Gastric sleeve surgery is less likely to lead to bowel obstructions.

Bowel obstructions are unfortunately common in patients who have had gastric bypass surgery. This is thought to be because the food is less digested when it enters the large intestine since it bypassed part of the small intestine. Since, as mentioned above, gastric sleeve surgery allows the food to pass through the full small intestine, the food is more fully digested when it enters the bowel. This reduces the risk of bowel obstructions, which can be not only painful but also dangerous.

While gastric bypass surgery does still have its place for a few patients, gastric sleeve surgery tends to be the preferred option these days. It's a faster surgery, comes with fewer risks, and allows for more complete digestion.