Duodenal Switch

Duodenal switch is a bariatric surgical procedure employed to combat obesity. This form of bariatric surgery helps obese patients control their weight and begin the path to a healthier, more active lifestyle. Not all obese individuals qualify for this form of surgery. Good candidates have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more. Candidates with a BMI of 35 qualify if they show signs of unhealthy, weight-related symptoms such as heart disease or diabetes.

How Does it Work?

The surgery consists of a restrictive and malabsorptive surgical procedure. The restrictive element is a partial gastrectomy that reshapes and removes a portion of the stomach. The remaining portion, where the food exits, resembles a banana and has a capacity of around six ounces.

The malabsorptive element separates the flow of bile and pancreatic juices by rearranging the small intestines. Further down, the physician reconnects the two intestinal paths. The food and digestive juices combine in the last 18 to 24 inches of the small intestine. Limited fat absorption takes place as the food
heads towards the large intestine.

Advantages of Duodenal Switch

People who choose duodenal switch surgery experience greater weight loss with a low risk of weight gain. The pyloric valve, the portion of the stomach connected to the duodenum, remains intact. As a result, patients do not experience the “dumping” syndrome commonly associated with the Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass. The malabsorptive component is partially reversible for patients with malabsorption difficulties. Duodenal switch patients experience weight loss at a more rapid pace compared to those who choose the laparoscopic banding procedure. In addition the following are all potential advantages of the Duodenal Switch procedure:

  • Typically greater weight loss over a longer period of time
  • Weight loss of up to 60% to 80%
  • Patients can eat a more “normal” and less restrictive diet compared to gastric bypass or gastric banding
  • No “dumping syndrome”
  • Intestinal rerouting is reversible
  • People with very high BMI and extreme obesity who are not eligible for other weight loss surgeries may still qualify for the Duodenal Switch

Disadvantages of Duodenal Switch

Duodenal switch surgery carries more risks compared all other traditional weight loss surgeries. Complications occur more often in this form of surgery due to a higher BMI. Patients may lose too much weight. Duodenal switch patients may experience long-term nutritional deficiencies and be subject to a lifetime of medication and special foods. Other complications include anemia, infection, gallstones and hernias. Other potential disadvantages include:

  • Most complex of all the weight loss surgery options
  • Certain foods may become intolerable
  • Increased risk for intestinal problems or gallstones
  • Potential for malnutrition or vitamin deficiency
  • Potential for frequent gas, bloating or change in body odor

Risks & Complications

Because there is a higher complexity level to this surgery, there are an increased and higher rate of risks associated. Learn more about the potential risks and complications associated with a duodenal switch procedure.


Some insurance companies may cover the full procedure, provided the patient meets certain requirements. Participation in a supervised weight loss program may be a prerequisite. Medicare and Medicaid recipients may qualify if the patient suffers from one weight-related health problem, qualifies for the procedure and an approved surgeon performs the surgery. Patients paying out-of-pocket can expect to pay between $20,000 and $25,000. For more information about the cost and procedure, contact a professional bariatric surgical center.


Since the duodenal switch involves both restrictive and malabsorptive properties, potential patients of this surgery should be aware of the dietary and lifestyle changes that will occur after surgery. Not only will diet change but your pattern of eating and the cost will all be altered. Read more about what is involved with a diet for duodenal switch patients.

Vertical Banded Gastroplasty

Vertical banded gastroplasty, also known as “stomach stapling” is a purely restrictive bariatric surgery procedure where the stomach is stapled and divided, forming a a small pouch and limits the amount of food that can be taken in. The outlet of this new pouch is restricted by a band that helps create a feeling of fullness and decreases appetite. The band used in this procedure is non-adjustable which is part of the reason why this form of surgery has been falling out of favor with bariatric surgeons in recent years. Newer procedures make use of adjustable bands and do not require staples making newer methods much safer options.

Advantages of Vertical Banded Gastroplasty

  • Patient avoids “dumping syndrome”
  • There is no nutritional deficiencies since this is not a malabsorptive procedure

Disadvantages of Vertical Banded Gastroplasty

  • Success based upon patients strict adherence to diet
  • Classified by the American Medical Association as a “Severely Dangerous” operation
  • High fiber foods and denser natural foods become harder to eat while highly refined junk foods are easier to digest, making adherence to a healthy diet more difficult
  • Reversal of procedure is very difficult
  • Band is not adjustable

While there are instances where vertical banded gastroplasty (stomach stapling) may be the best option for you, it has been falling out of favor in recent years for more effective and safer procedures. There are still many very reputable doctors and hospitals performing this procedure all around the country. You should discuss all of your options with your doctor before making your choice for bariatric surgery.

Bariatric Surgery Resource

Welcome to The Bariatric Surgery Resource. This site focuses on providing you with all the information you need when considering your weight loss options. Whether you are considering weight loss surgery and one of the many options such as gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, gastric banding or weight management through a healthy diet and exercise, we can help you by giving you all the information you need to make an informed decision.

The United States is now considered the most overweight country in the world with over 30% of Americans classified as obese. In addition, another 1/3 of Americans are considered overweight, which only further emphasizes the fact that this is a major problem facing a tremendous amount of people today. Many people simply can not shed the weight and keep it off effectively through proper dieting and exercise. This has necessitated the need for alternate solutions to combat obesity in America. This is why we have seen the increase in popularity of bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) and the ever increasing variations of this procedure to help those who want to lose their excess weight but have difficulty doing it through more traditional methods.

Bariatric surgery is known to be the most effective treatment for morbid obesity and for people with a body mass index over 40. We recommend you consider all your options and consult a medical professional when deciding if bariatric surgery is the right choice for you.

How to Use this Site

This site is designed to give you an in-depth look at all of your choices concerning weight loss surgery. For example, you may be wondering:

  • Is bariatric surgery right for me?
  • Which procedure is most appropriate for me?
  • How can I select the best bariatric surgeon?

Bariatric surgery can make a dramatic change in your life but it doesn’t come without risk and potential drawbacks. We want you to be prepared and understand everything you are dealing with before you make one of the most important decisions of your life.

There are always new techniques and methods being introduced and new studies and data being released related to weight loss and bariatric surgery so please visit often to stay abreast of the latest news and information. While we strive to have as much information for you as possible, if there is something more you’d like to know or simply have a comment or suggestion, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

New Features

Please take a look at our latest creation which is an infographic that compares three of the most commonly chosen weight loss surgeries.