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The two types of bariatric surgery

Thursday, November 3, 2016

By: Jeff Ash

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Dr. Daniel McKenna Aurora BayCare General and Vascular Surgeon


In the last 15 years, bariatric surgery has evolved to provide two effective options for weight-loss operations.


Advances in laparoscopy have been game-changers, according to Dr. Daniel T. McKenna, a surgeon with Aurora BayCare Bariatric Surgery. That technology involves the use of small, lighted instruments and cameras inserted through tiny incisions during surgery.


The benefits are clear.


“Patients are able to get up and move around faster,” McKenna says. “They are less likely to get blood clots, and less likely to have a heart attack and pneumonia and all the other complications” possible from such surgeries.



 Roux-en-Y gastric bypass


This operation is the more complex of the two, “but the outcomes as far as weight loss are the best,” McKenna says.


In a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, the top portion of the stomach is divided and made into a small pouch. It then is connected to the small intestine. That diverts the flow of acid and bile and prevents it from refluxing, or coming back up into the esophagus. The bypass also renders the stomach pouch too small to hold large amounts of food and substantially reduces fat absorption.


The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, which has been used since the 1970s, also is “very effective when it comes to (patients with) diabetes and reflux disease,” McKenna says.


Sleeve gastrectomy


“This operation does really well as far as weight loss,” McKenna says, “but it’s not as great of an operation for people that have severe reflux disease.”


In a sleeve gastrectomy, about three-quarters of the stomach is removed, turning the remainder into a long, narrow, stapled tube about the size of a banana. Patients feel full after eating small amounts of food.


It’s the newer of the weight-loss operations, dating to the early 2000s.


Other procedures


McKenna says there also are “provisional operations for people who’ve had previous bariatric surgery that failed, or perhaps they have a band put in to help them lose the weight that they wanted. And that’s a totally different game. We’re usually converting those either to a gastric bypass or a sleeve gastrectomy but it doesn’t restrict them, having had a previous bariatric surgery.”


To learn more


You don’t need a referral to have bariatric surgery. We’ll coordinate your care with your doctor and your insurance company. To get started, call us for an appointment at 877-677-5384 or request an appointment online. To learn more, go to

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