Types of Weight Loss Surgery: Gastric Sleeve vs Gastric Bands and more

If you’re suffering from health conditions relating to obesity, which types of weight loss surgery in Australia are you able to choose from?  First, read REASONS WHY you might want to explore having weight loss surgery (click here).   Then continue reading this helpful blog about the different types of weight loss surgery available in Australia, as well as how to choose a Surgeon.

Types of Weight Loss Surgery in Australia

Gastric Sleeve vs Gastric Band vs Mini-Gastric Bypass – which is better?

The answer is that not every type of surgery will suit all patients, and not all great Surgeons perform all procedures.  It’s recommended to meet with at least 2 bariatric surgeons before deciding which to choose; and it’s also important to do good research into your procedure before you proceed.  Remember, surgery is serious and carries risks – and it’s not a replacement for a healthy lifestyle. But if you’re willing to make the necessary life style changes, weight loss surgery CAN be the solution for chronic obesity and related health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular illness and stroke risks.

Types of Weight Loss Surgery: Definition of Bariatric Surgery (and Types)

 First, What is Bariatric Surgery?

 Weight loss surgery, known as bariatric or metabolic surgery, is one of the most effective treatments for obesity. The right weight loss procedure can lead to significant weight loss and help to improve many obesity-related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. However, it does require lifestyle changes and a dedication to following the right food choices and eating patterns after having the procedure.


There are many types of weight loss surgery, such as, Gastric Bypass, Sleeve Gastrectomy, Duodenal Switch and Gastric Lap Band.

When is weight loss surgery considered to be the answer or solution to chronic obesity or uncontrolled weight gain?

Given the serious nature of major surgical procedures for weight loss, they are in most cases only considered:

  • AFTER trying to lose weight consistently through various non-surgical means such as diet and exercising changes
  • not being successful in reaching and sustaining a healthier BMI
  • when you have serious or life-threatening health problems BECAUSE of your weight.

Do I Need Weight Loss Surgery? Reasons and Risks

How does Weight Loss Surgery work? Bariatric Procedures and Effectiveness

Changing your Digestive System and BMI

  • Bariatric surgery involves creating changes to your digestive system in order to help you lose weight.
  • This is achieved by limiting how much you can eat or by reducing your absorption of nutrients (such as fat and carbohydrates), or both.

Bariatric Surgery Risks

  • All forms of weight-loss surgery are major procedures that can pose serious risks and side effects.
  • If you are considering bariatric surgery, you must also be willing to make permanent healthy changes to your diet and eating behaviours.
  • You must also perform regular exercise after your operation.
  • This helps ensure the long-term success of your procedure as well as minimising future complications.
  • If you do NOT follow post-operation guidelines, you can be seriously increasing your risks.

TYPES OF WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY: Details and Medical Definitions

Gastric Bypass Surgery – Roux-en-Y

The most common type of Bariatric Surgery for weight loss is the GASTRIC BYPASS.

  • A gastric bypass surgery combines both restrictive and malabsorptive approaches.
  • This means the amount of your food intake is LIMITED, as well as the ABSORPTION of foods in your intestinal tract.
  • This is achieved by both reducing the size of the stomach, and ‘bypassing’ a portion of the small intestine to varying degrees.

During a gastric bypass procedure for weight loss, your stomach is surgically stapled into two sections.

  • The top section becomes a small pouch that serves as your “new” stomach.
  • The small size of this newly formed stomach is so reduced that it limits the amount of food intake.
  • It also provides a feeling of fullness and satisfaction with smaller portions of food.
  • The lower section of the stomach no longer receives, stores, and mixes food but remains functional by continuing to secrete digestive juices.
  • Read more on Gastric Bypass Surgery here.

Biliopancreatic diversion (BPD) as a Bariatric Procedure

 A biliopancreatic diversion is primarily a malabsorptive method.

  • It is a more complicated surgical procedure than the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.
  • In this approach, a part of your lower stomach is removed.
  • The part of your stomach that remains is connected DIRECTLY to the last part of your small intestine.
  • During digestion AFTER having this procedure, your food completely bypasses a larger section of your small intestine than it would if you had the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.
  • This surgery may result in a greater degree of malabsorption than the Roux-en-Y, resulting in greater nutritional deficiencies.
  • It is not as commonly performed and malabsorption can lead to other concerns.

Duodenal Switch Method of Weight Loss Surgery

  • A variation of the biliopancreatic diversion is a procedure called the duodenal switch (BPD-DS).
  • This operation shares some features in common with the gastric bypass, in that both operations rely on surgically separating food from the digestive juices, thereby preventing calorie absorption.

This Duodenal Switch procedure retains the part of the stomach, including the valve that controls the release of food into the small intestine. A small part of the upper intestine (duodenum) is also retained. Most of the weight loss after a duodenal switch procedure is thought to be due to reduced calorie absorption.

Mini Gastric Bypass

 The mini gastric bypass may be an attractive alternative to a standard gastric bypass.

  • The mini bypass works by both restricting the amount of food that can be eaten at one time AND by altering your gut hormones involved in appetite
  • In a mini-gastric bypass, your stomach is divided; the “new” stomach is much smaller and shaped a bit like a small tube.
  • Your food then flows into the small tube-like stomach; which essentially bypasses between 2 to 7 feet of intestines, where it resumes the normal digestive process in your remaining intestine.

The mini gastric bypass involves vs a standard Gastric Bypass procedure (Weight Loss Surgery):

  • a shorter operating time
  • less re-routing of the intestines
  • one fewer connection of the intestine

Otherwise, a similar surgical recovery and weight loss result is generally expected.

Remember, no matter WHICH type of weight loss surgery you have, each patient can have a varying result. Additionally, all surgery has risks, and bariatric surgery is no exception. In fact, due to the delicate nature of these procedures and the intricate workings of your digestive system and absorption capacities, these surgeries can have high levels of complication risks. That’s another reason to consider these carefully AND to be sure you are committed and ready to follow all post-operation instructions precisely.  People who have weight loss surgery and try to ‘get around’ these post-op instructions or eating plans can end up with very serious complications and a failed weight loss surgery result.


Sleeve Gastrectomy for Weight Loss

  • A sleeve gastrectomy is another form of bariatric surgery.
  • This approach removes about 75-80% of your stomach.
  • It leaves a thin tube or “sleeve” (about the width of your thumb).
  • The remaining stomach “sleeve” holds about 50-100 ml of fluid.
  • The digestive tract remains intact BELOW your stomach, but the procedure helps to restrict the VOLUME or QUANTITY of food you can actually eat.

Hunger Control & Hormones after having a Sleeve Gastrectomy or Gastric Bypass Surgery for Obesity

During the procedure, stomach cells that produce hormones that control hunger are also removed; so that you often won’t feel hungry even after eating (lack of hunger control is one of the problems leading to ineffective weight management prior to surgery).

This also may have a positive effect on diabetes risks for some patients.

Gastric Lap Band – a formerly popular procedure

  • Gastric lap band surgery is among the least invasive bariatric treatments
  • . An inflatable band is used to squeeze your stomach into two sections.
  • They’re still connected, but the channel between them is very small.
  • This slows down the emptying of the upper stomach pouch.
  • It aids weight loss by physically restricting the amount of food you can take in at a meal.

Gastric Balloon

  • The bariatric technology, known as a gastric balloon, involves inserting a small silicon balloon into the stomach.
  • The insertion is performed through an endoscopic procedure, usually with robotic instruments and cameras.
  • The balloon is filled with a saline solution to create a feeling of fullness, resulting in a loss of urge to overeat. After six months, the gastric balloon is deflated and removed.
  • Read more on the gastric balloon procedure here.

Why might I need Bariatric Surgery?

As bariatric surgery can have serious side effects, the long-term health benefits must be considered and found greater than the risk.

Despite the fact that some surgical techniques can be done laparoscopically (performed through small incisions with the aid of a camera) with reduced risk, all bariatric surgery is considered to be major surgery.

Phone us on 1800 03333 for information or to order a free PDF guide to Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery procedures.

Visit our Directory of Australian Bariatric Surgeons for Obesity Surgery

Need skin reduction after surgery? Visit our Plastic Surgeons page for Body Contouring surgeons in Australia.

Read more about Weight Loss procedures here:




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