Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric Types

For people more than 100 pounds overweight, bariatric weight loss surgery may be a way to return to a healthy body weight. While patients can choose between different types of bariatric surgery, all types modify the bodys digestive system to help patients lose weight.

Understanding Types of Bariatric Surgery

Advancements in medical technologies and techniques have spawned several types of bariatric surgery, all of which fall into two general categories: malabsorptive bariatric surgery and restrictive bariatric surgery. While malabsorptive bariatric surgery prevents the patients’ bodies from being able to absorb all calories consumed, restrictive surgery limits the patients’ stomach size to reduce the amount of food they can eat.

These two surgical methods can also be combined, depending on the patient’s needs. Combined malabsorptive and restrictive surgeries, called mixed or hybrid surgeries, combine the properties of both types of bariatric surgery.

Types of Bariatric Surgery No Longer Performed

Our improved understanding of the body and bariatric procedures has allowed doctors to make bariatric surgeries safer than ever before. Consequently, early methods of bariatric surgery, including biliopancreatic diversion and the Jejuno-ileal bypass, are no longer performed. Both significantly restricted nutrient absorption, creating more complications than newer, safer procedures.

Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass surgery uses a combination of malabsorptive and restrictive techniques. This type of bariatric weight loss surgery rearranges the bodys digestive system by dividing the stomach into a small upper pouch and a lower bottom pouch. The bottom pouch is much bigger and allows food to pass through without being absorbed. The small intestine is attached to the upper, smaller stomach pouch.

Eating a healthful diet and exercising regularly are essential to successful recovery from gastric bypass surgery.

Surgery after Weight Loss - Bariatric Surgery - Weight Loss Surgery

Gastric Banding (Laparoscopic Surgery)

In a laparoscopic gastric banding operation (LAP-Band Procedure), an inflatable silicone prosthetic device is placed around the top portion of the stomach. This band will make a person feel full after eating just a small amount of food.

LAP-band procedures are restrictive and don’t involve any cutting or removal of the digestive system. Because this procedure allows the stomach to be accessed through a small port, the surgery is considered to be minimally invasive. Initial weight loss is less than other malabsorptive methods, but over the course of a few years, average weight loss is about the same. Celebrities, including Sharon Osbourne and Anne Wilson, have popularized gastric banding.

Vertical Banded Gastroplasty (VBG)

The vertical banded gastroplasty (VBG) surgery, also known as stomach stapling, constricts the stomach size and limits the patient’s food intake through strategically placed bands and staples.

Vertical banded gastroplasty is considered to be a high-risk operation and, therefore, isn’t largely performed today. With VBG, the band is not adjustable, and the polyurethane material can cause a buildup of scar tissue on the stomach. Reversing the operation is very dangerous, as it calls for the stomach to be stitched back together. In most cases, doctors recommend that patients get a type of bariatric surgery other than VBG.

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

The most popular, commonly performed type of gastric bypass surgery is the roux-en-y (RNY) gastric bypass surgery. RNY rearranges the stomach, duodenum and other parts of the intestine in a sort of Y configuration. This allows the small portion of the stomach to absorb nutrients and still derive nutritional benefits from the food.

Consequently, RNY patients will quickly feel full after eating only a small amount of food. This allows the body to burn off excess amounts of stored fat. As with gastric bypass and banding, patients need to eat healthful diets and regularly exercise after undergoing roux-en-y gastric bypass surgery.


Cornett, Brandon (n.d.). Types of Bariatric Surgery Available. Retrieved April 19, 2008, from the Bariatric Learning Center Web site.

Obesityhelp.com (2008). About Weight Loss Surgery. Retrieved April 19, 2008, from the Obesityhelp.com Web site.

University of Rochester Medical Center (n.d.). Understanding Bariatric Surgery. Retrieved April 19, 2008, from the University of Rochester Web site.