Difference between Gastric Bypass and Gastric Sleeve

Updated on July 8, 2017

Gastric bypass and gastric sleeve are two of the most popular weight loss surgeries recommended for patients. Although they are similar in goals, they are far from being interchangeable. This article provides valuable information on the differences between the two.

Definitions

Gastric Bypass
Before gastric bypass vs after gastric bypass

Gastric bypass is a weight-loss surgical procedure used to treat obesity, hypertension, type II diabetes, and other weight-related complications. It anatomically changes the digestive system to facilitate the faster digestion of small amounts of food. During the surgery, the stomach is divided into two parts: an upper pouch and a lower pouch. The small intestine is repositioned to connect these pouches, enabling the food to easily pass through the digestive system.

Gastric bypass reduces the total volume of the stomach, which consequently alters the patient’s response to food. The physical changes in the stomach limit caloric intake by making the patient feel fuller after consuming smaller amounts of food.

Gastric sleeve
Gastric sleeve

Gastric sleeve, on the other hand, is a weight-loss procedure that surgically removes over 50% of the stomach, resulting in a thin, sleeve-like or tube-like structure. It is an irreversible stomach reduction procedure typically performed by the use of a laparoscopic camera. However, it can also be conducted by making a large surgical incision in the abdomen.

Once the size of the stomach is significantly reduced, surgical staples are used to enclose or seal the stomach. The smaller size of the stomach makes it easier for patients to limit their caloric intake.

Gastric Bypass vs Gastric Sleeve

So what’s the difference between gastric bypass and gastric sleeve?

Firstly, gastric bypass is a weight-loss surgical procedure that creates physical alterations to the stomach to facilitate faster digestion, while gastric sleeve significantly reduces the size of the stomach, resulting in a thin, sleeve-like or tube-like structure.

There are also significant differences between the two in terms of how they physically affect the stomach and the intestines. During a gastric sleeve procedure, the intestine remains the same. However, the stomach is reduced to around 15% to 20% its original size.

Gastric bypass, by contrast, physically changes both the stomach and the intestines. During the surgery, the stomach is divided into a small upper pouch and a large lower pouch, which are connected by repositioning the intestines. This procedure aids in bypassing large parts of the intestine, which consequently minimizes caloric absorption.

The standard operating time for these procedures also varies. While gastric sleeve may take around 1 to 3 hours, gastric bypass can be completed within 2 hours.

Additionally, gastric bypass has a longer period of recovery since it repositions both the intestines and the stomach. The recovery time for gastric bypass and gastric sleeve are 3 months and 3 weeks, respectively.

After gastric sleeve, patients are advised to eat 3 meals containing around 600 to 800 calories per day for the first 24 months. Meanwhile, patients who recovered from gastric bypass must limit their food intake to 3 small meals per day.

Lastly, unlike those who recovered from a gastric sleeve operation, patients who have undergone gastric bypass are advised to avoid food items high in sugar since they are prone to dumping syndrome or diarrhea.

Comparison Chart

Gastric BypassGastric Sleeve
Physically changes the digestive systemReduces the size of the stomach
Changes the stomach by dividing it into a small upper pouch and a large lower pouchChanges the stomach by reducing it to 15% to 20% its original size
Repositions the intestinesNo changes to the intestine
Operating time: 2 hoursOperating time: 1 to 3 hours
Recovery time: 3 monthsRecovery time: 3 weeks
Postoperative diet: 3 small meals a dayPostoperative diet: 3 meals containing around 600 to 800 calories per day for the first 24 months
Prone to dumping syndrome or diarrheaNot prone to dumping syndrome or diarrhea