My Bariatric Life: Potential Complications after Duodenal Switch Surgery

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
  • How Duodenal Switch Works

    Malabsorptive weight-loss surgeries are procedures that promote weight loss by decreasing the amount of nutrition the body absorbs from the intestinal tract. This is done by bypassing part of the small intestine so that it cannot access digested food.

    Restrictive weight-loss surgery is a surgical method that accomplishes weight loss by decreasing the capacity of the stomach.

    These two approaches are combined in duodenal switch surgery, a weight-loss surgical procedure where the amount of food that can be absorbed by the stomach is decreased along with the number of calories that can be absorbed and used by the body. The duodenal switch consists of a moderately sized gastric sleeve and the bypassing of part of the small intestine.

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    How do you know if duodenal switch is the right weight loss surgery for you? Let's take a look at the results, risks, and benefits of duodenal weight loss switch surgery.

     

    Duodenal Switch Results

    With duodenal switch surgery, the patient is able to loose weight without a dramatic alteration of eating habits. Whereas the body is no longer able to digest all the food taken in after the duodenal switch, long-term positive results can be had without the type of lifestyle changes required by other bariatric surgeries. Patients also are able to have larger portions than those who have had different types of weight-loss surgery.

     

    Duodenal switch weight loss surgery has had great results, producing an average of 70 to 80% excess weight loss in the two years following the operation.

    Duodenal Switch Risks 

    Potential short and long term risks of duodenal switch surgery are considerable. Complications may include: bleeding and blood loss, blood clots, infection, leakage, difficulty consuming liquids immediately following the surgery, nutritional deficiencies, osteoporosis, night blindness because of malabsorption of Vitamin A, malabsorption of protein, chronic diarrhea, and foul-smelling stools and gas.

    Bleeding, infection, and blood loss are all risks of surgery. The stomach or intestines might be perforated, allowing their contents to spill into the surrounding tissues. This can result in infection and additional surgery.

    The rerouting of the digestive tract can cause chronic diarrhea.

     

    The duodenal switch operation also lessens the body's ability to absorb nutrients in the intestines that can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Bariatric nutritional supplements must then be taken daily for the duration of the patient's life. Vitamin A, vitamin D and calcium will be needed, and your physician also may recommend supplements of potassium and iron. Specialy formulated bariatric supplements are available through online specialty retailers. 

     

    Compliance with duodenal switch nutritional guidelines is critical. Failure to meet the nutritional demands following duodenal switch surgery can result in malnutrition and undesirable bowel changes. Patients must go on a high protein diet and have yearly blood tests. Failure to take vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium, and protein can result in osteoporosis and anemia. Consuming fatty foods can cause foul-smelling gas or diarrhea, while some starchy foods can cause gassiness in the duodenal switch patient.


  • Duodenal switch surgery is one of the most complicated of the weight loss surgeries and may not be the best choice for higher risk individuals such as those with heart failure or sleep apnea.

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    Duodenal Switch Benefits

    Despite the potential risks of duodenal switch weight loss surgery, it does have advantages over other types of weight loss surgery.

     

    Larger meals can be had because the remaining stomach is bigger with a duodenal switch surgery than it is with a gastric bypass surgery. There also is less risk for developing ulcers, and the intestinal bypass portion of the procedure is partially reversible if malabsorption complications present.

     

    Weight loss is quicker with a duodenal switch surgery compared to gastric banding (Lap-Band, Realize Band). And with duodenal switch, the possibility of long term weight loss is greater with less chance of regaining the weight.

     

    Finally, this procedure results in a more complete erasure of obesity-related illnesses.

     

    You can learn more about obesity surgery and which may be right for you in these shareposts:

     

    Related article: Is Duodenal Switch the Right Weight-Loss Surgery for You?

     

    Related article: Types of Weight-Loss (Obesity) Surgery Procedures

     

    Community Question

    If you've had a duodenal switch, please share with us whether you had any complications or not following the surgery. Please post your comment below. Thank you!  

     

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    My Story...

    You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003 and my journey to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management since that time. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management with shareposts along the way to help you navigate that journey successfully.

Published On: January 18, 2012