Duodenal switch surgery is a procedure that physically reduces the size of the stomach by removing the gallbladder and changing the positioning of intestines. It’s a procedure meant for patients who are clinically obese and have failed to achieve meaningful weight loss results through dieting and other means. The purpose of the procedure is to limit calorie intake and fat absorption.
How It Works
Approximately 70 percent of the stomach area that includes the first part of the small intestine is removed with a duodenal switch procedure. After the initial removal of most of the stomach, the remaining section is “stapled,” or separated, to create a 2-4 ounce pouch. Pressure receptor nerves that help create the feeling of being full are left intact. The re-routing discourages excessive absorption and prevents stomach contents from interacting with digestive juices.
The procedure is reserved for patients who are considered morbidly obese, defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an individual over their ideal body weight by at least 100 pounds or having a BMI (body mass index) of 35 or above. Diabetics who meet the weight requirement and are unable to adequately control glucose levels with insulin alone may also benefit from the procedure.
Before and After
Some patients may be asked to lose some weight prior to surgery or make dietary changes to reduce the risk of complications. Potential issues post-surgery includes protein and vitamin deficiencies from reduced absorption. Intestinal blockages sometimes occur, but are often easily treatable. Activities will need to be limited during the healing process.
Most patients can expect to lose about 80-90 percent of their excess weight following the procedure, although results vary. Patients are expected to continue with weight loss efforts after the initial loss of weight, which is often experienced fairly rapidly since calorie intake will be dramatically reduced. Many patients who have type 2 diabetes prior to the procedure see the condition improve.
While a duodenal switch procedure isn’t as common as other weight reduction surgeries, it is noted for having fewer complications for many patients. As with any type of surgery, it’s important to discuss concerns with your surgeon before opting for the procedure and to have a clear understanding of what will be required to encourage a positive outcome.