Bariatric Surgery: Gastric Bypass vs Gastric Sleeve


    Bariatric surgery is a special operation that can help people lose a lot of weight when other methods like eating better, moving more, or using diet pills don’t do the trick. There are two primary types of bariatric surgery to choose from: Gastric Bypass vs Gastric Sleeve. While these surgeries share some similarities, they also have significant distinctions worth considering. Keep reading to find out more about what these surgeries are, and when you might choose one over the other.

    Gastric Sleeve vs Bypass: What’s the Primary Difference?

    In terms of gastric sleeve vs gastric bypass surgeries, both make your stomach smaller. They turn it into a tiny pouch. This helps you lose weight in two important ways:

    • You feel full fast because the small pouch can’t hold much food.
    • Your body produces a reduced amount of a hormone known as ghrelin, which triggers feelings of hunger.

    Gastric Sleeve

    If you decide to have gastric sleeve surgery, also known as laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, here’s what happens:

    They take out about 80% of your stomach, including the part where ghrelin is made.
    Your stomach ends up being smaller and shaped like a banana.

    After the surgery:

    • Your stomach can’t hold as much food.
    • You won’t feel as hungry as before.
    • You’ll eat fewer calories.
    • Your metabolism gets better.
    • This can help you lose weight and control your blood sugar.

    Gastric Bypass

    In gastric bypass surgery, here’s what happens:

    • The surgeon creates a small stomach pouch by removing a major portion of it along with the initial section of your small intestine.
    • Next, they attach this freshly formed stomach pouch to the remainder of your small intestine.
    • The part of your stomach they removed still provides acids and enzymes for digestion, but it’s connected further down your small intestine.
    • Typically, the section of your small intestine removed along with your stomach is responsible for absorbing certain nutrients and calories. But now, since food doesn’t go through this part, those calories don’t get absorbed, which helps you lose weight.
    • This procedure is also referred to as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.

    What’s the Difference Between Gastric Bypass and Gastric Sleeve?

    If you’re curious to find out what distinguishes gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgeries from each other, read on for more information.


    If you’re thinking about bariatric surgery, it’s important to know the rules based on your weight. Here’s how to find out if you might be a candidate:

    • If your BMI is 40 or higher, you might qualify.
    • If your BMI is 35 or higher and you have health problems like type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, or heart issues because of your weight, you could be eligible.
    • If your BMI is 30 or higher and you have type 2 diabetes that’s not getting better with changes to your lifestyle and medicine, you might also be considered.

    These criteria apply equally to both gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgeries. But here’s a tip: Gastric bypass is usually suggested for folks with a really high BMI (over 45). It helps you lose weight quickly, but it’s a bit more complicated and has more possible issues.

    Success Rate

    Bariatric surgeries can really help you shed extra weight. In fact, about 90% of folks who have these surgeries lose half of their extra weight and manage to keep it off for a long time.

    But there’s a slight difference in how fast and how much weight you can drop after getting a gastric sleeve or gastric bypass surgery.

    Most of the time, doctors will tell you that gastric bypass surgery can make you lose weight quicker and in larger amounts over time.

    In a big study called the SLEEVEPASS trial, they compared people who had gastric sleeve surgery to those who had gastric bypass surgery, looking at their results five years later. The folks with gastric sleeve surgery lost 49% of their extra weight, while the gastric bypass group lost 57% of their extra weight.


    You should know that both gastric sleeve and gastric bypass can be done using a special technique where they make small cuts in your belly. This makes it easier for you to get better after the surgery.

    When it comes to how long you’ll stay in the hospital and how long it’ll take for you to get better, both surgeries are quite similar. Usually, you’ll spend one to three days in the hospital, and it’ll take about four to six weeks for you to recover.

    But remember, how fast you bounce back depends on your own situation, like how much you weighed before the surgery, how well you can move around, and if you have any other health issues.

    Complications and Risks

    Getting bariatric surgery is a pretty safe procedure.

    The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) says that the chance of a big problem happening is only about 4%. That’s way lower than the risk of having serious health problems because of obesity.

    Like with any surgery, there are things that can make it more complicated. These include:

    • Bleeding, which is when you lose too much blood
    • Deep vein thrombosis
    • Pulmonary embolism
    • Side effects from the medicine that makes you sleep during surgery
    • Infection where they cut into you
    • Pain after the surgery
    • Pneumonia, which is a lung infection

    After the bariatric surgery, you might have some other issues like:

    • Gallstones
    • Stomach fluid leaking out
    • Not getting enough of certain vitamins or nutrients
    • Dumping syndrome, which makes you feel sick, sweaty, and have really bad diarrhea when you eat too fast or have sugary, fried, or fatty foods, or dairy
    • Constipation
    • Loose skin

    Gastric Sleeve Complications

    If you’re thinking about getting gastric sleeve surgery, there are some things to know about possible problems:

    • You might get something called “gastroesophageal reflux disorder” or GERD. It can make acid from your stomach come back up into your throat and cause discomfort.
    • Sometimes, the stomach pouch can become too narrow after the surgery. This might make it harder for food to pass through.
    • In rare cases, your stomach could get blocked, causing an obstruction. This can be quite serious and may need more surgery to fix.

    Gastric Bypass Complications

    If you’re considering gastric bypass surgery, here are some things to be aware of:

    • You might become more sensitive to alcohol after the surgery, so it’s essential to be cautious when drinking.
    • There’s a chance of your stomach getting a hole, which is called “stomach perforation.”
    • Sometimes, you could develop sores in your stomach known as “stomach ulcers.” They can be uncomfortable.
    • Another potential problem is a “bowel obstruction,” where something in your intestines gets blocked. This needs medical attention to fix.

    Gastric Bypass vs Gastric Sleeve: Which is the Best Option?

    Knowing the difference between gastric sleeve and gastric bypass can help you make an informed decision for your health. Keep in mind that your choice should be tailored to your individual circumstances and medical advice. Each surgery comes with its own benefits, so it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider to figure out which one aligns better with your needs. Don’t forget, bariatric surgery can be a life-changing step toward a healthier you, but it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully, considering factors like your BMI, recovery time, and potential risks. Your well-being and happiness are significant, so make a well-informed choice and embark on the initial stage toward a more promising and healthier future.