Most people who are searching for weight loss surgeries will be pointed to one of a few options. Gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy (or the gastric sleeve), and gastric bands tend to be the most popular procedures.
However, some patients are looking for a more permanent and drastic measure to help them lose weight. Gastric bypass and gastric sleeve are powerful surgical procedures, but the heaviest patients with the most dire situations will need something a bit more intense.
What Is The Duodenal Switch?
The duodenal switch is an improvement on another procedure called the biliopancreatic diversion. This procedure is technically two procedures in one and is made to cause the most drastic weight loss results in extremely obese patients.
The procedure is formed in two steps. The first step is essentially a sleeve gastrectomy, where the stomach is pared down to the shape of a small tube. The stomach becomes 20% of its original size. The second step is to divide and redirect the duodenum to reduce total caloric absorption.
As a result, patients who undergo this procedure end up with a heavily altered digestive system that is able to eat and digest much less food than before.
How Much Weight Can You Lose With Duodenal Switch?
Weight loss results are astonishing, with patients losing up to 80% of their excess weight in two years after surgery. Excess weight is simply current weight minus goal weight.
That means, a patient who is 500 pounds with a goal weight of 200 pounds (excess weight 300 pounds) could be 240 pounds down at the two year mark, with the help of the duodenal switch procedure.
Average weight loss for duodenal switch after one year is about 64% of excess weight.
What Are The Benefits of Duodenal Switch Surgery?
As shown above, duodenal switch patients lose much more weight than a typical gastric bypass or gastric sleeve patient. Gastric bypass and sleeve patients can expect to lose around 50% of their excess weight after one year post-op. This is excellent, particularly for individuals with very high BMIs.
According to the National Library of Medicine, 98% of duodenal switch patients find that their Type 2 diabetes goes into remission. This is powerful, as it could give obese diabetic patients a new lease on life!
Who Qualifies For Duodenal Switch Surgery?
Generally, patients don’t opt for duodenal switch surgery if a simpler procedure will suffice. Most surgeons recommend that patients choose the gastric bypass, mini gastric bypass, or the gastric sleeve instead if they have a BMI under 50.
Patients generally qualify for duodenal switch surgery if:
● They’ve had persistent weight problems for two years or more
● They suffer from weight-related diseases such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, or sleep apnea
● They have a BMI of 50 or above
The biggest risk of duodenal switch surgery is nutrient malabsorption, which could cause nutrient deficiencies in patients who opt for this surgery. As a result, patients who choose this surgery do so because their weight problems (and their comorbidities) are severe enough to warrant this risk.