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What is the Safest Form of Weight Loss Surgery?

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos · Updated Nov 17, 2022

What is the Safest Form of Weight Loss Surgery?

A person’s weight can have a significant effect on their overall health. This is why doctors often advise patients who are overweight to lose weight and maintain a healthy diet. But sometimes, diet and exercise aren’t enough. One option for those struggling with weight management is weight loss surgery. In this article, we will try to determine what is the safest form of weight loss surgery.

What is weight loss surgery?

Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is a procedure used to treat obesity (obese class III), especially in those who are already suffering medical conditions due to their weight. People who are overweight or obese are at risk of developing the following conditions:

If alternative weight loss measures have been unsuccessful and it appears that obesity poses a greater risk to health , health professionals may advise bariatric surgery. Weight loss surgery is usually the last option when trying to lose weight, and is not a quick fix for obesity.

What are the types of weight loss surgery?

There are two classifications of weight loss surgery, namely:

Restrictive. This type of bariatric surgery involves making the stomach smaller. This way, it will be able to hold less food, thus reducing a person’s calorie-intake.

Malabsorption. This type of weight loss surgery involves making the intestine shorter so that food bypasses the intestine. This will lead to a reduced amount of nutrients absorbed, resulting in weight loss. 

Under these two classifications are the types of weight loss surgery. Before choosing the surgery that best suits you, it’s important to understand the associated risks of each type of surgery.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

In gastric sleeve surgery, also known as sleeve gastrectomy, 80 to 85 percent of the stomach is removed. The remaining tissue is then turned into a tube or a “sleeve” resembling the shape of a banana. 

Aside from making it smaller, gastric sleeve surgery also removes the part of the stomach responsible for appetite. This means that the patient will feel less hungry and will become full much quicker than before. This surgery also improves a person’s insulin resistance, which can be extremely helpful for those who are overweight and suffering from diabetes.

Gastric sleeve surgery may be ideal for people who are:

Taking medications for mental disorders. Gastric sleeve surgery is a restrictive type of weight loss surgery, which means that it won’t get in the way of the digestive system’s capacity to absorb nutrients or medication.

Considered high-risk for other conditions. If you’re wondering what is the safest form of weight loss surgery, then the answer is gastric sleeve surgery. Those with heart or lung problems may opt for this surgery as its recovery period is much shorter.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery, also known as “Roux-en-Y” gastric bypass surgery, involves making a small pocket at the top of the stomach. This acts as the new stomach which will receive food. A smaller “pouch” or stomach means a person will feel full much quicker. 

Additionally, a part within the small intestine is directly connected to the pouch so that when a person eats food, it bypasses 90 to 95 percent of the stomach. This will result in the body absorbing fewer nutrients and losing weight. 

Although a person who has gastric bypass surgery generally loses more weight, it can pose more of a risk. Gastric bypass surgery can be an option for people who suffer from acid reflux and/or diabetes.

What are the risks of weight loss surgery?

Weight loss surgery can increase one’s risk of certain adverse health effects. However, the risks are usually small and should not be a cause for worry if you consult your doctor about it.

Here are a few risks of weight loss surgery to take note of:

  • You may develop blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism) while recovering from the surgical procedure.
  • You may get infections where the incisions (wounds) were made.
  • Your body may not absorb nutrients as efficiently, which can lead to deficiencies like anemia. To avoid this, you may have to take supplements.
  • You may get excess skin, as weight-loss surgery will not include the removal of fatty tissue. This means that you may have to undergo additional surgery to remove sagging skin.

Key takeaways

Weight loss surgery can be a newfound hope for those who are struggling with weight loss. The types of weight loss surgery can be classified into two categories, namely restrictive and malabsorption. Both are deemed safe by the medical community. Speak to your doctor about which procedure best addresses your needs. 

Learn more about Diet & Weight Loss here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos · Updated Nov 17, 2022

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