Advantages and Disadvantages of Duodenal Switch

The Duodenal Switch surgery is a type of bariatric weight loss surgery in which part of the stomach is removed, and the small intestines are re-routed so that food follows a separate route from that of bile and digestive juices. The Duodenal Switch is an uncommon procedure, because it's quite complicated, and few surgeons are qualified to perform it.

How the Duodenal Switch Procedure Is Performed

The Duodenal Switch surgery is a twofold procedure. In the first part of the procedure, a large portion of the stomach is removed, so that the stomach becomes long, narrow and tube like. In the second part of the procedure, the small intestines are re-routed, so that the food route through the small instestines becomes shorter, and separated from the route by which digestive juices flow through the small intestine.

Advantages of the Duodenal Switch

One of the primary advantages of this procedure is that your stomach continues to digest food normally after the procedure is performed. Those who undergo Lap-Band or Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass surgery must follow strict diets for the rest of their lives after the procedure, as these procedures lead to greatly diminished digestive capacity in the patient.

Another advantage of the Duodenal Switch is that it leaves the pyloric valve, or the sphincter-like muscle that separates the stomach from the duodenum, intact. This eliminates some of the side effects common to other bariatric weight loss surgeries, such as:

  • Dumping syndrome
  • Stomach and intestinal blockages
  • Ulceration

The Duodenal Switch also offers the best possibility of long term, significant weight loss. It can improve or even resolve a range of obesity-related disease such as heart disease and diabetes. Diabetics who have this surgery may experience significantly reduced insulin needs immediately following surgery.

Disadvantages of the Duodenal Switch

The Duodenal Switch is a complicated procedure, and it's performed rarely because there aren't many surgeons qualified to do it.

You won't be able to eat normal sized portions for several months after the procedure, as the stomach will need time to stretch to accommodate normal portions. You may experience vitamin and mineral deficiencies without proper supplementation. You'll also need to eat a high protein diet and take protein supplemesnt for at least a month after the surgery.

You may experience frequent diarrhea, abdominal bloating and gas on a permanent basis. You'll also need lifelong medical care to watch for protein malnutrition, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, anemia and osteoporosis.

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