To consider bariatric surgery is to really consider a life-altering decision. Used in conjunction with a multidisciplinary approach to weight loss, bariatric surgery can be the catalyst to transforming your life so that you can be a healthier – and happier – you.

Determining which surgery is best for you will require a conversation between you and a medical professional, but here’s a quick overview of gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgeries.

Gastric sleeve

Generally an option for people who do not qualify for other bariatric surgeries, gastric sleeve is considered to be less invasive than gastric bypass. The surgery can be performed as a one-time procedure, or as the first step in a two-part surgery that leads to gastric bypass.

  • Procedure: A bariatric surgeon removes a part of the stomach and creates the shape of a “sleeve” out of the remaining part of the stomach. In most cases, the surgeon can perform this procedure laparoscopically with several small incisions so there’s no need to cut open the surface of the abdomen.
  • Results: Weight loss is slower with gastric sleeve than what’s expected from gastric bypass. It is normal to lose 60 to 70 percent of excess body weight within 1 year to 18 months after surgery. One advantage to gastric sleeve surgeries is the lower risk of dumping syndrome.

Gastric bypass

Gastric bypass surgery is a more invasive process that helps patients lose weight rapidly. As a result, it’s recommended for patients with a Body Mass Index of 45 or above.

  • Procedure: Surgeons create a small pouch to bypass the stomach entirely and attach it to the intestine. At WeightWise, the bypass is also performed laparoscopically. Traditionally, this is an “open” procedure, meaning surgeons make one large incision in the abdomen.  However, some cases allow for surgeons to perform this procedure laparoscopically.
  • Results: Patients can expect to lose 60 to 80 percent of excess body weight fat within 1 year to 18 months after surgery. Gastric bypass surgeries have a higher risk of dumping syndrome than that of gastric sleeve.


glass of strawberry smoothie

To start, both gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgeries are aimed at reaching the same goal: To achieve and maintain significant weight loss. These procedures do this by reducing the amount of food it takes for patients to feel full.

Patients must follow a strict post-surgery diet for a number of weeks after surgery and maintain lifelong healthy habits afterward. Neither procedure is reversible, and they can greatly improve obesity-induced conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.

Generally, patients stay in the hospital for just 1 night 2 to 3 days. The total recovery time for either procedure can vary from person to person. Most people are back at work and doing daily activities within 2 weeks, with some patients requiring up to 4 weeks to recover fully.

Gastric bypass after gastric sleeve

For patients whose BMI is 60 or above, surgeons may recommend a two-stage operation. Because some body shapes make it challenging for bariatric surgeons to perform gastric bypass initially, some patients undergo gastric sleeve surgery in the first stage. Once a patient loses enough weight, around 80 to 100 pounds, it’s safe for surgeons to perform gastric bypass.

If you’re looking to making a lifelong change to better your health and daily life, come to one of our free seminars at WeightWise. You’ll hear from one of our talented surgeons and learn all you need to know to see if weight loss surgery is right for you.


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