Duodenal Switch Surgery
How Does It Work?
The duodenal switch is a weight loss surgery with two distinct parts. First, a large portion of your stomach is removed. This is completed to help you feel full faster and also decrease your hunger hormone. This part of the duodenal switch formed the basis of the gastric sleeve surgery, which is currently the most popular weight loss surgery available today.
The second part of the procedure involves rerouting the intestines to create what’s known as “malabsorption.” This part of the procedure is complicated. The small intestine is cut in several places so that a large portion of the small intestine is skipped, so that food goes directly from the bottom of the stomach (the duodenum) to the last part of the small intestine before it reaches the large intestine.
The skipped portion of the small intestine is still kept in the body to create digestive juices. Both parts of the small intestine reconnect for a short time so that the digestive enzymes and food can mix. This reduces the time that food spends digesting inside of the body.
How Much Weight Will You Lose?
The duodenal switch is considered the most effective form of bariatric surgery in terms of total weight loss and the ability to cure obesity-related diseases. Average weight loss is estimated to be about 70%, and 94% of all duodenal switch patients lost at least 50% of their excess by weight by year 2. It was also shown to be one of the most successful surgical procedures for controlling high blood pressure, diabetes, and other obesity-related diseases.
It is these benefits that make it one of the premier choices for those with a BMI > 50, most of whom need bariatric surgery as a near-life saving treatment.
Duodenal Switch Complications
While the weight loss and medical benefits of duodenal switch are substantial, it is the complications that also tend to make it a last resort for bariatric surgeons.
- Malnutrition – Because the Duodenal Switch bypasses much of the intestine, it doesn’t have much time to process nutrients. That means that malnutrition can be a serious risk. Patients are strongly advised to follow all dietary guidelines exactly as prescribed to avoid these challenges. Many secondary complications may occur if you do not get enough important vitamins.
- Stomach Discomforts/Bloating – With less time to digest and an increase in fluids, duodenal switch may lead to common stomach ailments, including indigestion, acid reflux, bloating and gas, diarrhea, and more.
- Surgical Risks – All surgery carries risks. Duodenal switch has a high success rate in the hands of experts, but is more common on high-risk patients (BMI over 50) and is a more complicated procedure than other alternatives, such as gastric sleeve.
While the duodenal switch procedure is effective, it does so with risks and discomforts. It is also irreversible, which means these complications should be noted in advance before choosing this option.
Duodenal Switch Cost
Because it is a more complicated procedure, duodenal switch is also one of the most expensive bariatric surgery options. Average cost is between $20,000 and $30,000 in the United States. Patients without adequate insurance may need to look for medical tourism options. In Mexico, the cost of duodenal switch starts at around $7,000. (View Cost of Duodenal Switch with Mexico Bariatric Center)
Is Duodenal Switch Right For Me?
You and your doctor will need to discuss the options available to you, including your current health, your ability to maintain a nutritional plan, and more. But duodenal switch is an option worth considering, especially for those that have serious medical challenges and need rapid, substantial weight loss.