Exploring Types of Weight Loss Surgery Options

WRITTEN BY: Craig Sturgill


If you’re considering weight loss surgery, you’re not alone. The journey to a healthier you often begins with exploring various surgical options. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll review different types of weight loss surgeries, eligibility criteria, surgical procedures, pre-surgery preparations, post-surgery expectations, and weight loss outcomes to help you decide on your path to a healthier lifestyle.

Determining your eligibility

Before diving into the details of weight loss surgery, it’s essential to understand the eligibility criteria. Weight loss surgery is typically recommended if:

  • You have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or above.
  • Your BMI is between 35 and 39.9, and you have co-morbid conditions like heart disease.
  • You’ve tried other weight loss methods without long-term success.
  • You’re committed to making significant lifestyle changes after surgery.

Now that you know the basics, let’s explore the various weight loss surgery options.

Types of weight loss surgeries

  1. Gastric sleeve:
    • Procedure: Removes a significant portion of the stomach, leaving a banana-shaped section.
    • Pros: Limits food intake, may affect appetite and metabolism.
    • Cons: Cannot be reversed.
  2. Gastric bypass:
    • Procedure: Staples the stomach, creating a small upper pouch, and reroutes the small intestine.
    • Pros: Restricts portion size and reduces calorie absorption.
    • Cons: Challenging to reverse.
  3. Adjustable gastric banding:
    • Procedure: Place an adjustable band around the upper part of the stomach.
    • Pros: Adjustability, smaller scar, and faster recovery.
    • Cons: Slower weight loss and a risk of band-related complications.
  4. Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD/DS):
    • Procedure: Two-step process involving sleeve gastrectomy and small intestine modification.
    • Pros: Potential for significant weight loss.
    • Cons: Higher risk of complications and nutrient deficiencies.

Surgical procedures

Weight loss surgery is typically performed laparoscopically, involving small incisions and minimal scarring. Laparoscopic surgery offers fewer risks and faster recovery than open surgery, reserved for specific cases, such as high obesity levels or complex medical issues.

Pre-surgery preparation

Before undergoing weight loss surgery, you’ll go through a thorough preparation process. This includes consultations with healthcare professionals:

  • Internist: Assessing medical history and conducting physical exams.
  • Dietitian: Explaining post-surgery dietary changes and preparing you for lifestyle adjustments.
  • Psychiatrist/Psychologist: Evaluating readiness for the challenges of weight loss surgery.
  • Bariatric surgeon: Providing detailed information about the chosen procedure and post-operative care.

Healthcare professionals may also recommend quitting smoking at least six weeks before surgery to improve your outcomes.

Post-surgery expectations

After surgery, a gradual transition to solid foods begins, starting with liquid diets and progressing to soft foods like cottage cheese and yogurt. Small, well-chewed meals are essential. You’ll need dietary supplements to ensure you receive adequate vitamins and minerals.

Regular follow-up visits are crucial to monitor your progress and make necessary adjustments. Remember, your commitment to a healthy lifestyle significantly affects your long-term success.

Weight loss outcomes

The weight loss surgery results vary among individuals and depend on the chosen procedure. Studies have shown that, on average, one year after surgery, individuals undergoing gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or adjustable gastric banding lost between 38 and 87 pounds. While gastric bypass produced greater initial weight loss, most people experienced some weight regain over time. The key to maintaining success is adherence to a healthy lifestyle.


Which weight loss surgery is most effective?

Each procedure yields varying results. Gastric bypass typically leads to an average weight loss of approximately 70% of excess body weight, while a duodenal switch can result in around 80% weight loss. On the other hand, sleeve gastrectomy offers a weight loss range spanning from 30% to 80%.

What are the 3 types of weight loss surgery?

In the United States, there are currently three main bariatric surgeries in practice: Gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding, and sleeve gastrectomy. Each of these procedures has its advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to note that none provides a rapid, effortless solution for weight loss.

What is the least aggressive weight loss surgery?

Laparoscopic surgery is among the least aggressive. Patients undergoing laparoscopic procedures experience shorter recovery periods, less discomfort, fewer complications, and a decreased mortality risk.

What is the least painful weight loss surgery?

Laparoscopic surgery, which involves only a few small incisions, provides a swifter recovery, reduced discomfort, and minimized scarring compared to open surgery. In certain instances, robotic technology can also be employed, ensuring a high level of precision under the expert guidance of a bariatric surgeon.

Which weight loss surgery has the least recovery time?

Gastric Banding, often known as Lap-Band surgery, is a minimally invasive procedure typically occurring as an outpatient. The surgery usually takes less than an hour, and patients typically recover in less than a week.

What is the cheapest and most effective weight loss surgery?

The laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, the least complex and straightforward among the weight loss surgical options, is also the most cost-effective bariatric surgery available.

Find health insurance that covers weight loss treatment

Weight loss surgery is a significant decision on your path to a healthier life. By understanding the types of surgeries available, eligibility criteria, surgical procedures, and what to expect before and after surgery, you’re better equipped to make an informed choice. Remember that weight loss surgery is a tool to assist your journey, and success ultimately hinges on your commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Simply call or fill out our online rate form to compare health insurance to cover your treatment.

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