Key differences between gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgery

June 15, 2020

Key differences between gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgery
Key differences between gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgery
When considering bariatric surgery, there is not a one-size-fits-all option. Your bariatric surgeon will create a personalized plan to help you safely achieve your weight loss goals. Along with diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes, the bariatric surgery itself is a key component in helping patients lose the weight and keep it off. There are two types of bariatric surgery commonly done today: gastric sleeve and gastric bypass. While your surgeon will determine which is best for you, it is important to go into your appointment prepared with an understanding of both surgeries so you can ask questions and feel comfortable with your decision.  
Who is eligible for bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery is an option to treat obesity and combat obesity-related health problems in those with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 of higher. However, patients with a BMI between 30-35 may also be considered eligible for bariatric surgery if weight loss is not achieved through lifestyle changes, such as exercise and diet. A consultation with a bariatric surgeon is the best way to determine eligibility and which surgery is right for you.
To determine your body mass index, try out BMI calculator.

What is gastric sleeve surgery?
Gastric sleeve surgery is also known as vertical sleeve gastrectomy and is the most common option currently. The surgeon narrows the stomach into a thin vertical sleeve and removes the remainder of the stomach. This is a restrictive surgery, meaning the patient’s stomach is now smaller. Because the patient’s stomach is now smaller, they will be satisfied with smaller portions of food. Because no segments of the gastrointestinal tract are bypassed, malabsorption tends to not be an issue and the patient should not need additional vitamins or supplements.
Ask Saint Peter’s – What is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
What is gastric bypass surgery?
Gastric bypass surgery involves the surgeon dividing the stomach into a small upper section and larger bottom section. Food goes into the top section, and because the stomach is now smaller, patient feel satisfied eating smaller amounts. However, this surgery is both restrictive (because the stomach is smaller) and malabsorptive, meaning patients absorb less nutrients. The malabsorption is due to bypassed segment in the gastrointestinal tract - that bypassed segment will not absorb any nutrients. To compensate, patients must take vitamins and other nutrients.
Ask Saint Peter’s – What is Gastric Bypass Surgery?:
Let’s compare gastric bypass vs. gastric sleeve
There are many similarities between these two surgeries including:
  • Recovery period of both surgeries tends to range from 2-4 weeks
  • Patients can expect to see significant weight loss in 12 months from both surgeries when following post-surgery plan.
  • Both surgeries can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, sleep apnea and diabetes.
 Key differences between the two surgeries:
  • Patients of gastric bypass surgery need to take vitamins and nutrients due to the bypass in the gastrointestinal tract, leading to malabsorption. Patients of gastric sleeve surgery do not have this bypass and do not need to take additional vitamins or supplements.
  • Gastric bypass is usually recommended for patients with a BMI over 45.
  • Risk factors and medical conditions of the patient can impact which bariatric surgery your doctor recommends.
Saint Peter’s Bariatric Center helps patients combat obesity and lose weight safely. The comprehensive program included the bariatric surgical team, nutritionists, physical therapists, psychologists, patient navigators, and more to help our patients succeed in their health goals. To sign up for our free online seminar to learn more about the Saint Peter’s Bariatric Center, visit

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