Considerations Before Duodenal Switch Surgery

Much like bariatric surgery, it is important to consider your options when choosing weight loss surgery. During a consultation, a bariatric surgeon will review your overall health, your eligibility for various weight loss surgery procedures and help you decide which surgery would work best for you.

Typically weight loss surgery such as Duodenal Switch surgery means candidates have a body mass index over 40 or less than 40 with obesity-related illnesses or co-morbidities such as Type II Diabetes and high blood pressure.

The duodenal switch surgery may be great for those with BMIs of greater than 55. A recent study found that the procedure produced more weight loss than Roux-en-Y gastric bypass in patients with BMIs of 50 or more. This complex surgery does have complications and may not be a great choice for high-risk patients with sleep apnea or heart failure.

Pre-Surgery Considerations

Choosing bariatric surgery means making a lifelong commitment to the diet and lifestyles changes required to be successful. It’s important to understand that weight loss surgery is not a quick fix and the decision to have it should not be taken lightly. Once one decides to embark on this journey, several preoperative evaluations must occur such as a comprehensive evaluation by a mental health professional, a meeting with a dietician to discuss changes that must occur, an upper endoscopy which ensures there are no tumors, polyps, ulcers or bacteria in the stomach as well as other tests on the heart and lungs (as needed).

Risks of the Surgery

While all surgeries have many short and long-term risks, it’s important to understand them before surgery occurs. Some short-term risks of having duodenal switch surgery include bleeding or blood loss, leakages, blood clots, infections and difficulty consuming liquids leading to dehydration. Long-term risks include osteoporosis (malabsorption of calcium and Vitamin D), night blindness (Vitamin A deficiency), inadequate weight loss due to well-absorbed carbs, chronic diarrhea or foul-smelling stool or gas.

Cost of the Surgery

Find out if your insurer will cover the cost of the duodenal switch surgery to obtain pre-certification. Many insurers consider this procedure experimental, so they do not cover the procedure, but it’s great to ask prior to the procedure. The duodenal switch surgery costs on average $28,000.

Advantages of the Surgery

The duodenal switch surgery itself has many advantages including the fact that the remaining stomach is much larger then gastric bypass, which allows for larger meals and less of an adjustable period. Also, the surgery has a reduced risk of ulcer development. The intestinal bypass part of the surgery is reversible (partially) for those having any malabsorptive complications. There is a potential for greater long-term weight loss and less of a chance to regain weight then gastric bypass as well as more rapid weight loss than gastric banding. Ultimately, the surgery has more history of complete disappearance of obesity-related illnesses than any other weight loss surgery procedure.

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