Alternatives to Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery is the gold standard of bariatric surgeries. However, some bariatric surgery options are not suitable for everyone. Gastric bypass surgery alternatives should be given some thought.

Not only can the cost of gastric bypass surgery be a barrier, but the risks involved could also be overwhelming. 

Implementing a permanent lifestyle change might sound easy, but considering the speed and cost of today's world, it may not be for everyone.

Luckily, we always have options. In this article, we take a closer look at what these options are and how they may be performed. 

Alternatives to Gastric Bypass Surgery

Invasive Weight Loss Surgeries

Adjustable Gastric Banding

With Gastric Banding, an inflatable band is placed around the upper portion of the stomach in order to restrict food intake. 

The stomach size is reduced and the band can be adjusted to control the amount of food you are consuming. 

There are no permanent modifications with a gastric banding procedure. That being said, it is reversible. This is a less invasive option with fewer complications and lower risk of malnutrition and deficiencies. However, vitamin and mineral bariatric supplements are still recommended to compensate for decreased nutrient intake from food sources. 

Sleeve Gastrectomy

Gastric Sleeve, also known as vertical or laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG), is one of the most common bariatric surgeries and a great alternative to gastric bypass surgery.

Under general anesthesia, the surgeon will remove around 75% of the stomach. This will leave you with a small stomach tube that resembles a banana. In turn, this will restrict the amount of food you can consume.

This surgery is less complicated than other bariatric procedures. However, it is irreversible. Only a revision to another bariatric surgery can be performed if there are complications. The duration of surgery is approximately 1-2 hours, and then an average of 2-5 days post-recovery in the hospital depending on complications.  

Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch

Duodenal Switch is fairly complicated, causing restriction and malabsorption. First, the surgeon performs a sleeve gastrectomy, removing 70-80% of the stomach. Next, the intestine is divided further down than in gastric bypass surgery, resulting in a larger amount of the small intestine being bypassed.

The surgeon completely restructures the small and large intestine to allow bile and digestive juices to flow into a specific part of the intestine. Resulting in restricted food consumption and nutrient malabsorption in order to provide significant weight loss. 

Vagal Blockade (vBloc) Implantable Device

This is a weight loss strategy that introduces an implantable pacemaker-like device to control sensations of hunger and fullness. This is a minimally invasive procedure that leaves your digestive tract intact, unlike bariatric surgeries.

There is something called the vagus nerve in your brain that is stimulated to send signals to the stomach to control hunger and fullness. The implantable system can intermittently block signals to the stomach to cause weight loss by appetite reduction and less intense hunger sensations. The device can also be deactivated and removed at any time with the help of your surgeon. 

Surgery can be frightening. There are other options to consider as an alternative to gastric bypass and other weight loss surgery options. Let’s take a look at some less invasive weight loss options. 

Minimally Invasive Weight Loss Strategies

Gastric Bypass Surgery Alternatives

Endoscopic Treatments

Endoscopy is a minimally invasive medical procedure where a thin, flexible tube with a camera at the end is inserted into the upper portion of the digestive tract. This allows for various diagnostic and treatment efforts to be performed. 

Endoscopic procedures for weight loss are a combination of medication and non-invasive surgery. However, insurance usually will not cover these type of weight loss methods. Below are some endoscopic procedure methods to weight loss. 

Gastric Balloon Placement

This is an endoscopic procedure that involves inserting a silicone balloon into the stomach. The idea is to make you feel full quickly in order to avoid overeating. The balloon takes up about ⅔ of stomach space; thus, you’ll reach satiety after consuming a smaller amount of food.

Some contraindications include gastroesophageal reflux, hiatal hernia, and a history of previous stomach or esophageal surgeries.

    AspireAssist Device

    The AspireAssist device allows you to empty some of the stomach’s contents after each meal so that the number of calories left to be absorbed leaves you in a caloric deficit to promote weight loss.

    You will be able to go home the same day and whenever you would like the device removed, you can set up an appointment for another procedure. 

    Other Weight Loss Therapy Options

    Injections

    Gastric injections can induce weight loss by freezing the stomach muscles to slow digestive and promote fullness. This will usually result in mild to moderate weight loss. 

    This is a typical option for women after pregnancy looking to lose a little bit of weight. 

    Pharmacotherapy Efforts

    Pharmacotherapy for weight loss may include:

    • Fluoxetine
    • Sibutramine
    • Phentermine and Diethylpropion
    • Orlistat

    The medications above either suppress appetite, decrease nutrient absorption, or increase thermogenesis. These weight loss medications are typically recommended to individuals with a BMI over 30 or 27 with obesity-related conditions. 

    These medications would be combined with other methods, such as nutrition education, exercise, and lifestyle interventions. 

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is psychotherapy used as a supportive effort in lifestyle interventions to treat obesity. This is a different strategy in helping people to maintain a healthy BMI.

    Medical Nutrition Therapy

    This method is a medical approach in order to treat chronic conditions utilizing evidence-based research to create individually-tailored nutrition plans. If someone is looking for weight loss, low-calorie meal plans would be constructed by a registered dietitian in order to facilitate healthy gradual weight loss. Medical Nutrition Therapy is crucial.

     

    Discuss Your Options

    There are a number of weight loss alternatives to explore if you are not interested or are not eligible for gastric bypass surgery. If you are curious about one of the options discussed above, do your research and bring questions to your healthcare provider for further information. 

    Traditional weight loss can be difficult and some people may need that extra push to help start the process. Do not be afraid to utilize your resources and look further into non-surgical bariatric weight loss

     

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    **This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition.