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What are the Different Types of Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery?

By Amanda Barnhart
Updated May 17, 2024
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Patients who suffer from morbid obesity and fail to lose weight through low-calorie diets and exercise programs may undergo bariatric surgery to help them lose weight. Some weight loss surgeries can be done with a laparoscope, an instrument that shows the surgeon a magnified view of the inside of the abdomen on a screen and allows him to complete the procedure through very small incisions in the stomach. These procedures are desirable for many patients because they have a shorter recovery time and less pain following surgery than traditional open surgical procedures. Roux-en-Y gastric bypasses, gastric banding surgeries, and sleeve gastrectomies are the most common types of laparoscopic bariatric surgery.

During a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, the surgeon separates a small portion of the upper stomach from the rest of the stomach and staples the remainder of the stomach closed. He then attaches part of the intestines to the pouch. After this type of laparoscopic bariatric surgery, the patient is not able to eat as much due to the smaller size of the stomach; thus, less calories are absorbed from the food the person does eat since some of the intestines are bypassed. The procedure takes about two hours, and patients are able to return to normal activities within one to three weeks. Patients who are extremely obese may require open surgery if the surgeon cannot complete the procedure with a laparoscope.

Gastric banding procedures are usually performed as laparoscopic bariatric surgery. During these surgeries, a surgeon places either an adjustable or stationary elastic band around the upper part of the stomach. This creates a smaller portion of the stomach that is able to hold food, and food passes through the digestive system more slowly, helping the patient feel full longer. Adjustable bands can be inflated or deflated to allow for more or less restriction, making them a good choice for women who may get pregnant since they can be adjusted to allow a woman to consume more food during her pregnancy. The procedure is often done in less than an hour, and many patients return home within 24 hours following surgery.

Another common type of laparoscopic bariatric surgery, the sleeve gastrectomy, is often done on patients who have medical problems that prevent them from undergoing gastric bypass surgery. During the procedure, a surgeon removes about 75 percent of the patient's stomach, leaving a small tube to hold food, which he connects to the patient's intestines. Many sleeve gastrectomy patients have a follow-up gastric bypass surgery 12 to 18 months after the initial procedure to help them lose more weight.

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