Weight Loss Surgery Options; How They Work, Side Effects, and Cost

Weight loss surgery is a sensitive medical procedure that is aimed to treat overweight patients (those who their weight can endanger their life) which is also known as bariatric surgery. Although this surgery can lead to a drastic weight loss, this surgery is not recommended for patients who want to do it only for beauty purposes, as it can lead to serious risks and complications.

This surgery works by limiting the amount of food that the body can consume. How could? However, this is the last option when surgical and other non-surgical actions are not able to lose weight.

Who Needs This Surgery?

Patients who can undergo weight loss surgery are those who meet the following criteria:
  • Have a body mass index of 40 or more. For women, this means they must have 80 pounds of overweight, while men around 100 pounds.
  • Suffer serious health disorders related to their excess weight, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, gout, respiratory problems, and others. 
  • Have tried other ways to lose weight but not succeed. 
  • Commit to drastic lifestyle changes after surgery (healthy diet, regular exercise, etc.). 
  • Know and understand the risks of weight loss surgery. 

Weight Loss Surgery
Weight Loss Surgery

How Does Weight Loss Surgery Work?

There are so many weight loss or bariatric surgery option, but any types of weight loss surgery will be done with different techniques. Bariatric surgery then is divided into three main types of approaches:

Restrictive Surgery - As can be understood from its name, this type of weight-loss surgery aims to limit the body's ability to eat food; this is done by shrinking the size of the stomach. This surgery limits the amount of food that the patient can consume, from a normal amount as much as 3 pints (about 1704 ml) to be 2 or 3 ounces. This surgery can also slow down the digestive process so that the patient's satiety can last longer.

Malabsorption Surgery - This type of weight loss surgery aims to change the way of the body in absorbing food. Like restrictive surgery, malabsorption surgery can also shrink the size of the stomach. However, this surgery also lifts certain parts of the gastrointestinal tract, so this surgery can also limit the body's ability to absorb calories. This type of surgery is also known as the intestinal bypass.

Installation of Electrical Devices - This technique is a relatively new technique that works by blocking the nerve signals from the stomach to the brain. Electrical pulses can help patients withstand hunger.

Types of Weight Loss Surgery

Gastric Bypass Surgery - Gastric bypass is the most common type of weight loss surgery that combines restrictive and malabsorptive techniques. This surgery aims to make a shortcut from the top of the stomach to the bottom of the intestine, without having to pass through the inside of the stomach and small intestine. This surgery can prevent the body from absorbing too much food nutrients, which can lead to drastic weight loss.

Adjustable Gastric Band - This surgery is a type of weight loss surgery that only uses restrictive techniques. The surgery is done by installing a pumping tool that can be pumped and can push the stomach to be smaller so that patients can only consume less amount of food.

This surgery is usually more desirable because it leads to smaller scars, faster recovery time, and can be canceled; even when a band tool has been installed, the patient can ask the doctor to change its position or take it back, if they change their mind. However, weight loss is not too drastic and the band tool can also be released or leaked.

Sleeve Gastrectomy - One type of restrictive surgery, sleeve gastrectomy is a surgery to remove about 75% of the patient's abdomen. The only remaining part of the abdomen is a small tube connected to the intestine. In some cases, this surgery can be immediately successful, but there are also patients who re-need surgery after 12-18 months.

However, this surgery is a simple and low-risk surgery, so that makes it the perfect choice for patients who are overweight or suffering from an illness that can be very harmful to them in other surgeries. The advantage of this surgery is that it does not affect the gut, so the body can still absorb the nutrients optimally.

Duodenal switch surgery

Duodenal switch is the most complex, the highest-risk form of weight loss surgery. The operation combines a sleeve gastrectomy, with a bypass. Instead of joining the bypass to a small gastric pouch, in a duodenal switch, it is joined to the end of the sleeve gastrectomy. Along bypass is used, so that fat absorption is minimized.

Weight loss is due to malabsorption of fat, with very few calories being absorbed from any fat eaten. Weight loss is greater than the other procedures, but it comes at a price. Not only is less fat absorbed, but post-DS, protein, vitamin, and mineral absorption is affected too. Patients have to consume large amounts of vitamins, minerals, and protein each day to avoid malnutrition and need annual blood tests for life, to avoid fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies.

Side effects of the Duodenal switch, include offensive flatulence and patients have a characteristic sweet, ketotic smell, like patients on the Atkins diet have. In our opinion, the small additional weight loss from the duodenal switch compared to the gastric bypass is not sufficient to justify the increased peri-operative risks and long-term risk of malnutrition. It is for this reason that Streamline Surgical does not offer the duodenal switch.

Possible Bariatric Surgery Complications and Risks

All surgical procedures have their own risks, depending on the type of bariatric surgery the patient undergoes. Malabsorption surgery is known to cause many side effects, so doctors usually do not recommend this action.

Adjustable Gastric Band is also a risky surgery because it can cause vomiting if the patient eats too much in a short time; patients also occasionally have to undergo additional surgery to fix a positioning or loosening band tool. In addition, any type of weight loss surgery is also at risk of causing infection or blood clots.

Cost For Weight Loss Surgery

The cost for weight loss surgery varies and depends on how you choose the procedure and it also depends on the insurance you have. Here is the average cost for weight loss surgery in 2017.

  1. Gastric Sleeve. With Insurance, it is about $ 3,500. Without insurance, it is about $ 19,228.
  2. Gastric Bypass. With Insurance, it is about $ 3,500. Without insurance, it is about $ 24,228.
  3. Duodenal Switch. With Insurance, it is about $ 3,500. Without insurance, it is about $ 27,324.

There is a quite big gap between the one with insurance and the one without insurance. However, the costs above are just the average cost. Some things like hospital, discounts, tax saving, financing, insurance plan and etc may lead you to a more different cost.

Weight Loss Surgery Options; How They Work, Side Effects, and Cost