What weight loss procedure should I get? This is one of the most common questions I hear in my office when meeting new patients. It may sound simple but after hearing about the advantages of each operation from multiple sources (the bariatric surgeon, internet, television, friends and family, etc.), this decision can seem overwhelming.
It is important to remember that you are not alone and it is normal to feel anxious when deciding what bariatric procedure to get. Sometimes our patients may say “doc, can you pick the operation for me?”
I could not further disagree with that approach. At the end of the day, it should be your decision!
The following tips can help you decide which type of bariatric procedure to have.
Questions to ask yourself when choosing your bariatric procedure
1. What kind of tool do you need?
Do you need a “stop sign” or a “yield sign”. Stop sign = gastric bypass; Yield sign = sleeve gastrectomy. I tell my patients that the sleeve gastrectomy is more patient-behavior driven than a gastric bypass. However, by no means am I saying that you do not have to put hard work into using your tool after undergoing a gastric bypass. All bariatric procedures require continued effort through the years to ensure weight maintenance.
2. What are your weight loss goals?
How much weight do you want to lose? What weight did you feel your best and healthiest at? Generally speaking, procedures that offer more malabsorption will often experience greater long-term weight loss (i.e. the gastric bypass and duodenal switch).
Although these procedures offer more weight loss, they are also more complicated. The gastric bypass can be revised to a duodenal switch, yet it can not be reversed. Similarly, the duodenal switch can not be revised or reversed.
3. What type of comorbidities do you have?
For example, if you are suffering from diabetes or reflux, the gastric bypass would be more likely to resolve these issues. If you have a Crohn’s disease, then the sleeve gastrectomy might be a better fit for you. This is an important discussion to have with your surgeon because everyone has a different medical history.
4. Have you done your research?
Gather information from reputable websites, articles or books? Our website is a safe place to start. Other websites to visit include The American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and Obesity Action Coalition.
5. What do your family and friends think?
This is an important question to consider. When deciding what bariatric procedure to have, you want to take into account what your friends and family have to say, yet you want to filter out the bias. This is your decision and you should do what feels best for you.
Unfortunately, family and friends can offer their opinions about the different procedures that might not be factual. Sometimes, these opinions can be rooted in fear or misinformation about a certain procedure.
At the end of the day, I recommend choosing the operation that you are the most comfortable with. The surgeons in our practice will gently guide you if you feel a little indecisive. Do not fret about this decision. I have complete confidence that you will pick the best operation for yourself!