doctors performing surgery

Types Of Weight Loss Surgeries And Possible Adverse Effects

It is no secret that being overweight or obese can bring various health risks, including heart disease and diabetes. For many, bariatric surgery has effectively shed those extra pounds and improved their health.

Bariatric surgery, another word for weight loss surgery, is a medical procedure for people who have become extremely overweight or obese. This procedure can help many people lose weight and reduce the health risks of being overweight.

However, surgery is not easy, and there may be potential risks and side effects. Also, it’s important to look into other options and weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether or not surgery is the best choice. Let’s look at the information on the surgery itself, potential alternatives, and the risks and benefits associated with each option to help readers make an informed decision.

Let’s go over important information you should keep in mind about weight loss surgery and discuss potential alternatives.

What is weight loss surgery, and how does it work?

Weight-loss surgery, or bariatric surgery, is a procedure designed to help severely obese people lose weight by making changes to their gastrointestinal tract. It is typically recommended for those with a BMI of 40 or higher or 35 and above with other obesity-related conditions. Some common forms of bariatric surgery are gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, adjustable gastric band, and duodenal switch. Let’s look into those in detail.

Gastric sleeve

Gastric sleeve surgery reduces the size of the stomach, creating a thin “sleeve”.1 This procedure aims to reduce your hunger hormones and limit how much food you can eat at once, which can help you lose weight. During the surgery, a large portion of the stomach is removed, leaving only a narrow tube-like structure.

person measuring a woman's waist with a tape measurer

This makes your stomach smaller, which helps you control how many calories you eat when you eat. In addition to limiting the calories you can eat, the surgery may also decrease the hunger hormone ghrelin, reducing your appetite and cravings.

Gastric bypass

A gastric bypass is a weight-loss surgery designed to restrict food intake, reduce hunger, and limit the absorption of calories. In this procedure, a small pouch is made at the top of the stomach and connected directly to the small intestine. This means that most of the stomach is skipped over.

doctors performing a surgery

The main goal of gastric bypass surgery is to help people lose weight, be healthier, and have a better quality of life. Even though gastric bypass surgery may have a lot of positive effects, there are also risks and side effects that could happen.

These include infection, nutritional deficiencies, excess bleeding, and anastomotic leaks. Gastric bypass surgery can also result in nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea. Sometimes, a second surgery may be needed to correct any complications. Recovery time is usually between 4 and 6 weeks, and patients must adhere to strict dietary guidelines. Long-term care is also recommended to keep an eye out for any possible side effects or health problems.

Adjustable gastric band

An adjustable gastric band (lap band) surgery is a weight-loss procedure that involves placing an adjustable band around the upper part of the stomach. This makes a smaller pouch at the top of the stomach, shrinks the stomach’s size, and limits how much food can be eaten at one time.

surgeons doing an operation

The adjustable gastric band has the benefit that the stomach or intestines don’t have to be cut, stapled, or changed in any way. This makes it a fairly low-risk, minimally invasive procedure. The adjustable gastric band creates a “restriction” for gradual weight loss. Patients feel full after eating smaller portions, which reduces the urge to eat more. As the person’s weight slowly goes down, the band can be changed to let them eat more.

The band can also be removed or put back on if needed, so the procedure is considered reversible. On average, it takes between one and two weeks to recover after surgery, and there isn’t typically much pain or scarring. Adjustable gastric banding is best for people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more who have tried to lose weight through diet and exercise but haven’t been able to reach their goals.

The procedure is also recommended for those with or at risk of type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. Even though the risks of adjustable gastric banding are usually low, some side effects include feeling sick, throwing up, or having trouble swallowing. Patients may also experience abdominal discomfort, stomach cramps, and constipation. Additional risks associated with the procedure include infection and damage to the stomach tissue or intestines. Even though the risk of complications is low, patients need to talk to a doctor about the risks and benefits of weight loss surgery.

Duodenal switch

Duodenal switch is a complex bariatric weight loss surgery. It involves removing part of the stomach, which reduces its size from about 1 liter to about 150 milliliters. This stomach pouch is then connected to the lower part of the small intestine or duodenum. By rearranging the small intestine, food absorption and hunger levels are reduced.

surgeons performing a surgery

The benefits of the duodenal switch vary significantly on an individual basis. It can be used to achieve long-term weight loss for severely obese people, with some studies showing patients losing up to 80% of their extra body weight due to the procedure. However, as this is a major operation, it has risks.

Side effects can include nausea and vomiting and “dumping syndrome,” when food quickly passes through the digestive system and causes symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, or fatigue after a meal. Before the duodenal switch procedure, patients need to know about the possible risks.

Because a laparoscope is used for the surgery, there is a chance that the intestines could leak or that the abdominal organs could be hurt. Other risks include developing gallstones, not getting enough nutrients, and having a higher chance of getting a hernia.

The time it takes to fully recover from the surgery depends on the person, but it usually takes between 4 and 6 weeks. During this time, patients will require close monitoring by healthcare professionals.

The duodenal switch is best for people who are morbidly obese and have not had success with other weight loss methods, such as diet, exercise, and medications. It may also be suggested to people at risk of getting diabetes or heart disease because they are overweight.

The procedure helps reduce hunger, making it easier to stick to a healthy and sustainable diet while reducing the absorption of calories. The duodenal switch is valuable for people seeking long-term weight loss and improved health outcomes.

Overall, bariatric surgery could improve your health, lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, and help you lose weight. But it’s important to keep in mind that the long-term success of bariatric surgery depends on making changes to your lifestyle, like eating healthy and working out. Any bariatric procedure can help you lose weight with a healthy, balanced diet and exercise.

What are the risks and side effects involved in weight loss surgery?

As mentioned earlier, there are also risks and side effects associated with bariatric surgery. These include:

  • risk of infection
  • blood clots
  • heart arrhythmias
  • nutritional deficiencies

Long-term complications could also happen, like hernias, bowel obstructions, gallstones, and gastric ulcers. Follow-up interventions, surgeries, and hospitalizations for the first five years after surgery may be likely.

It is important to enlist the help of a qualified medical professional with a proven track record in bariatric surgery.

Are there medical alternatives to bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery is a powerful tool that can treat obesity, but it is not the only option. For this reason, enlisting the help of a qualified medical professional is important. They can help educate you about alternative approaches to effective weight loss and help find the best approach with the least amount of recovery and complications. Bariatric surgeries are invasive surgical procedures that may require weeks of recovery. Because of this, all options should be considered.

Working with a medical professional gives you a trusted resource to learn about your options. In addition, they can also prescribe weight loss medication that can help improve your efforts to lose weight before going the surgical route. For example, many find themselves ideal candidates for the weight loss medication Wegovy.


Wegovy is an FDA-approved drug for extended use in treating obesity in adults with a BMI of 30 or higher. Wegovy is a once-weekly injection. It aids weight loss by reducing appetite and promoting feelings of fullness, making it easier to adhere to diet changes.

a picture of a weight scale and written text "DripHydration Wegovy Weight Loss"

It accomplishes this by reducing cravings, increasing feelings of fullness, and slowing stomach emptying.2 Since it is approved for extended use, it can be a major tool that you can use even after you’ve reached your weight-loss goals.

Weight loss surgery is a powerful tool that can help those suffering from obesity, but weighing the potential risks against the benefits is important before making any decisions. Talk to your doctor about your medical options and determine which is best for you.

Wegovy is an example of a prescription weight loss medication with mild side effects that are effective in treating obesity. Overall, it’s best to get clarity from your doctor to help determine whether prescription weight loss medication is right for you.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, it’s important to know about the different options and make an informed choice about how to deal with obesity. Every person’s situation is different. Remember that follow-through and ongoing effort are required to maintain the benefits and results of weight loss surgery. Taking the time to investigate all options, consult a doctor, and develop a plan of action will be critical to achieving desired weight loss results.

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Book a convenient online consultation and health check followed by a lab test. Eligible individuals will receive a medical weight loss prescription with medications delivered directly to your home.

people doing pilates


[1] Seeras K. - Sleeve Gastrectomy.;

[2] Singh G. - Wegovy (semaglutide): a new weight loss drug for chronic weight management.;