Best Life: Gastric bypass vs gastric sleeve for weight loss

Best Life: New weight loss surgery gives patients a first step in a healthier life

BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Forty percent of all Americans are now overweight. As obesity continues to skyrocket in the United States, many people are considering bariatric surgery to help put them on a healthier track. For decades, gastric bypass surgery had been the go-to procedure, but in the last few years gastric sleeve has become the surgery of choice.

Forty-one-year old Tiffany Eiford has struggled with weight her entire life. At one point she reached a high of 245 pounds.

“I’ve done lots of different diets where I would lose a significant amount of weight, and then I would just put it right back on,” shared Eiford.

Eiford dropped weight after adjustable lap band surgery. But when she developed complications, the band had to come off and the weight came back on.

“It’s depressing. Honestly, it is,” Eiford explained.

Eiford decided to try a permanent option. This time, Kuldeep Singh, MD, FACS, Director of Maryland Bariatric Center at Mercy, performed gastric sleeve surgery. With a gastric sleeve, doctors remove 80 percent of the stomach, leaving a small tube, or sleeve.

“Since you’re not touching the intestines, you don’t get long-term issues like malabsorption, nutritional issues,” said Dr. Singh.

With gastric sleeve surgery, the surgery is less complicated. Meaning a shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery. By comparison, during gastric bypass surgery, which has been called the gold standard, doctors create a small pouch and reroute the small intestines.

“If you have somebody with much more weight to lose, like 400, 500 pounds, then bypass is a better choice,” Dr. Singh stated.

Dr. Singh said patients who have diabetes, acid reflux or serious heartburn tend to do better with gastric bypass. For Eiford gastric sleeve was the first step.

“These weight loss surgeries, they’re a tool. They are not an easy fix. I know some people think that they are, it’s a struggle,” Eiford exclaimed.

Eiford has now lost 45 pounds since her sleeve surgery. Since 2007, gastric sleeve surgery has been gaining in popularity, and now accounts for more than 60 percent of all weight-loss surgeries. Dr. Singh said both surgeries are permanent and require commitment and lifestyle changes.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; and Kirk Manson, Videographer.

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