Weight Loss Surgery: Pros and Cons

Medical weight loss surgery began in the 1960s after medical experts realized that those who underwent certain types of stomach surgery lost weight faster. Since then, several types of stomach surgery have emerged, and presently there are three main types to choose. While these operations help you lose weight, you need to know that they have not only pros but cons as well.weight loss surgery

The most common types of weight loss surgery include gastric bypass, gastric banding, and sleeve gastrectomy. So let’s take a closer look at them.

Gastric Bypass

One of the main reasons why some people are overweight is because they eat too much food. Gastric bypass enables you to lose weight by changing the way your stomach digests food. This surgery reduces the size of the stomach, so you satisfy your appetite after consuming smaller amounts of food.

How does gastric bypass works?

This operation splits your stomach into two sections. The first part of the stomach holds the food after consumption. It is connected to the other part of the stomach which produces digestive fluids and releases them into the small intestine to enable food digestion after it has reached the small intestines.


One of the advantages of this surgery is that it is highly effective in helping you lose weight. The surgery enables you to lose up to 70% of your excess weight - while gastric banding usually results in losing around 50% of excess weight and sleeve gastrectomy allows you to lose up to 60% of your extra weight. Besides, you will notice a 50% loss of excess weight within first six months after this surgery.

Another advantage of this type of surgery is that its effects last for long and therefore it could help you manage some health problems - such as high blood pressure and diabetes, for example - in the long ran.


This operation leads to ineffective absorption of food. The body could, therefore, lack some essential nutrients like iron and others. Consequently, people who have undergone this surgery are forced to use supplements for the rest of their lives to make up for the nutrients that the body is not able to absorb. Moreover, there is a risk of contracting infections and complications right after this major surgery.

Gastric Banding

This type of weight loss surgery creates a bigger upper stomach and a smaller lower stomach with a small opening to pass food to the smaller ‘second’ stomach. It involves a surgical placing of an inflatable band into the stomach to create the two sections.

How does gastric banding work?

The small opening between the upper and the lower stomach slows down the rate by which the food leaves the bigger ‘first’ stomach. Consequently, you feel full for much longer after a meal, and therefore you consume less food.


One of the advantages of this surgery is that it is reversible. This is because the band can be removed anytime you wish to resume your normal life. It is, therefore, safer option as compared to gastric bypass.


While this surgery is safer than gastric bypass, you need to know that it takes a longer period than gastric bypass to lose weight. As well, it leads to loss of around 50% of the excess weight, which means it does not usually solve the whole problem. Also, the band could become loose with time therefore leading to leakages which could result in complications in your stomach.

Gastric Sleeve

This surgery gets rid of a significant portion of the stomach resulting in a sleeve-like connector linking the food pipe to the small intestine. This surgery works by making you eat less food and also by slowing down digestion.


Sleeve gastrectomy usually leads to the loss of a bigger percentage of excess weight than gastric banding - around 60% loss of excess weight in the body. As well, this surgery is safer because there is no introduction of restraining material which could be a potential threat to the health of the patient in the future. Another advantage is that this surgery can be followed by gastric bypass, therefore, making it efficient for those who are extremely obese and when gastric bypass alone has failed to yield the desired results.


One of the disadvantages of this surgery is that it is irreversible. This is because a portion of your stomach is removed permanently and you cannot get it back. As well, this operation is risky because the major cuts could develop complications in your stomach after surgery.

As you can see, each of the three surgical weight loss options has its own pros and cons. To determine which one will work best in your particular case, you need to consult a medical expert specializing in weight loss surgery.