As is the case with any surgery, the risks of the operation need to be weighed against the benefits before making a decision. Duodenal switch bariatric surgery is an effective procedure for permanent weight loss, but there are many duodenal switch risks, as well.
How Duodenal Switch Works
Malabsorptive weight-loss surgeries are procedures that generate weight loss by decreasing the amount of nutrition the body absorbs from the intestinal tract. This is done by bypassing part of the small intestine so that it cannot access digested food.
Restrictive weight-loss surgery generates weight loss by decreasing the capacity of the stomach.
These two approaches are combined in duodenal switch surgery, a weight-loss surgical procedure where the amount of food that can be absorbed by the stomach is decreased along with the number of calories that can be absorbed and used by the body. The duodenal switch consists of a moderately sized gastric sleeve and the bypassing of part of the small intestine.
How do you know if duodenal switch is the right weight loss surgery for you? Let’s take a look at the results, benefits and duodenal switch risks.
Duodenal Switch Results
With duodenal switch surgery, the patient is able to lose weight without too much of a change in eating habits. Whereas the body is no longer able to digest all the food taken in after the duodenal switch, long-term positive results can be had without the type of lifestyle changes required by other bariatric surgeries. Patients also are able to have larger portions than those who have had different types of weight-loss surgery.
Duodenal switch weight loss surgery has had great results. In the two years after the operation, the average excess weight loss is 70 to 80%.
Duodenal Switch Risks
Potential short and long term risks of duodenal switch surgery are many. Duodenal switch complications may include bleeding and blood loss, blood clots, infection, leakage, difficulty consuming liquids immediately following the surgery, nutritional deficiencies, osteoporosis, night blindness because of malabsorption of Vitamin A, malabsorption of protein, chronic diarrhea, and foul-smelling stools and gas.
Bleeding, infection, and blood loss are all risks of bariatric surgery. The stomach or intestines might be perforated, and the contents will then spill into the surrounding tissues. This can result in infection and the need for additional surgery.
The rerouting of the digestive tract can cause chronic diarrhea.
The duodenal switch operation also lessens the body’s ability to absorb nutrients in the intestines and can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Bariatric nutritional supplements must then be taken daily for the duration of the patient’s life. Vitamin A, vitamin D and calcium will be needed, and your bariatric surgeon may also recommend supplements of potassium and iron. Specially formulated bariatric supplements are available through online specialty retailers.
Compliance with duodenal switch nutritional guidelines is critical. Failure to meet the nutritional demands following duodenal switch surgery can result in malnutrition and undesirable bowel changes. Patients must go on a high protein diet and have yearly blood tests. Failure to take vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium, and protein can result in osteoporosis and anemia. Consuming fatty foods can cause foul-smelling gas or diarrhea, and some starchy foods can cause gassiness.
Duodenal switch surgery is one of the most complicated of the weight loss surgeries and may not be suited for higher risk patients with heart failure or sleep apnea.
Duodenal Switch Benefits
Despite the duodenal switch risks, the procedure does have advantages over other types of weight loss surgery.
Larger meals can be had following duodenal switch surgery because the remaining stomach is bigger than it is after gastric bypass surgery. There also is less risk for developing ulcers, and the intestinal bypass portion of the procedure is partially reversible if there are malabsorption complications.
Weight loss is quicker with a duodenal switch surgery compared to the gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, and gastric band (Lap-Band, Realize Band). The possibility of permanent weight loss is also greater with less chance of regaining the weight.
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Photo: Sacramento BMI