Best Weight Loss Surgery
Dr. Brad Snyder, a surgical weight loss specialist in Houston, tell us why he thinks that gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy are the best bariatric surgeries he performs as a general surgeon on the top of his field.
The gastric bypass is the tried and true weight loss operation that has been performed the longest of any of the other surgeries (first performed in 1967). The long term data show a less than 5 % failure rate, and today's complication rates are as low as gallbladder surgery because bariatric and metabolic surgeons, like me, have been specifically trained to do these operations and are center of excellence surgeons (this means that their volume and outcomes are held to the highest standards set by the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery). It is a commonly performed and very safe surgery that I can confidently offer anyone, knowing they will lose a substantial amount of weight. There just aren't as many question marks with the gastric bypass because it has been around the block many times.
The sleeve gastrectomy is a great operation as well, and the weight loss appears to be the same as a gastric bypass at three years; however, I could not tell you what the sustained weight loss would be at five or ten years since it is relatively new (first performed in 2003). The one advantage the sleeve has over the gastric bypass, however, is that there is no manipulation of the small intestines. That means there is no mal-absorption. This makes this operation uniquely suited for certain patients with medical problems requiring lots of medication (e.g. transplant patients). On the down side, since part of the stomach is removed and cannot be put back, it is a permanent operation. All other weight loss surgeries are reversible.
Truly, there is no best operation. Deciding on what is the best weight loss surgery to have is a complicated decision that should be made between the patient and their physician. Many of my patients say they would just feel more comfortable if I picked the operation that is best for them; after all, I am the expert weight loss surgeon. Well, it is true that I may be an expert in the field of bariatric surgery, but I can never know all the reasons the patient is sitting in the room asking me about the operations. At the end of the day, my job is to inform the patients of their options, make sure they understand the risk and benefits of each, offer my opinion, and then let them chose.
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