Bariatric surgery team: John C. Alverdy, MD, Vivek N. Prachand, MD, Yalini Vigneswaran, MD, MS, Mustafa Hussain, MD
The UChicago Medicine Baraitric Surgery Team (from left): John C. Alverdy, MD, Vivek N. Prachand, MD, Yalini Vigneswaran, MD, MS, Mustafa Hussain, MD

Which Bariatric Surgery Procedure is Right for You?

We know there is no one-size-fits-all weight loss surgery solution. Each patient has a different amount of weight to lose and different health issues related to obesity. In addition, each weight loss surgery offers different levels of effectiveness and side effects.

Every patient considering obesity surgery at the University of Chicago Medicine first meets with the entire weight loss care team. The visit takes a half day, and the goal is to the understand the patient's needs and match them with the right procedure. Read a success story about how our individualized care led to a patient losing over 100 lbs.

With over 15 years of experience, UChicago Medicine leads the Midwest in all four surgical options for the treatment of severe obesity using minimally invasive techniques. Minimally invasive surgery offers patients less pain, less scarring and a shorter hospital stay than traditional surgeries. Read more about the procedures we offer below.

Weight Loss Surgery Options

During a VSG procedure, the stomach is permanently reduced to about 15 percent of its original size, leaving a sleeve-shaped portion that can hold less food and is resistant to stretching. Depending on the individual needs of each patient, the surgery can be performed as a single, primary procedure or as the second part of a two-stage procedure to help patients lose weight before undergoing another weight loss surgery, such as duodenal switch or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

One of the most frequently performed weight loss surgeries in the country, RYGB is when the upper portion of the stomach is stapled and the upper intestine is connected to the stomach. Food is rerouted so it does not come into contact with the main stomach area. Stomach size is reduced to the size of a golf ball, making patients feel fuller between meals. In addition, patients may find that they no longer crave — or even like — sweet foods.

The biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD/DS) — commonly referred to as the duodenal switch — can help patients lose more weight than other bariatric procedures. In addition to reducing obesity, the BPD/DS can also resolve other related health issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

BPB/DS is a complex procedure that combines a sleeve gastrectomy with intestinal bypass. As a result, it reduces how much food a person feels like eating and helps patients feel fuller faster. It decreases the body’s ability to absorb calories, vitamins and minerals, and it improves the metabolism, helping patients lose weight and maintain their weight loss.  It can also be performed in stages to reduce surgical complications.  Staging can be done with sleeve gastrectomy, or with loop or single anastomosis duodenal switch (SADI/SIPS).

The BPD/DS procedure is generally reserved for patients who have a BMI higher than 50, who want to lose 200 lbs or more, or who have very severe diabetes.

The bariatric surgeons at the University of Chicago Medicine have the greatest experience with this procedure in the Midwest, performing hundreds of these procedures over the past 20 years.

Brian Bates lost over 100 lbs after his duodenal switch surgery at UChicago Medicine. Read Brian's weight loss surgery patient story.

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If you are a patient with extreme obesity and despite multiple efforts have not been successful in achieving your healthy weight goal, bariatric surgery such as the duodenal switch may be right for you. Physicians at the University of Chicago Medicine have many decades of experience performing all types of bariatric surgery, including the duodenal switch, gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass.

The duodenal switch, also known as the biliopancreatic diversion or more simply DS, can be more successful for patients who have particularly severe obesity with a body mass index, known as BMI, of 50 or higher or a BMI of 40 along with severe diabetes.

Before undergoing any type of obesity surgery, U Chicago Medicine patients meet with our multidisciplinary team for a thorough preoperative evaluation. The decision on which type of obesity surgery is made together to obtain the best outcome possible. The DS procedure, performed using minimally invasive techniques, begins with a sleeve gastreactomy, the most commonly performed bariatric surgery, which removes a portion of the stomach to reduce its size by about 75 to 85.

A nine foot long downstream portion of the small intestine, called the ileum, is then brought up and connected to the short segment of the divided duodenum just beyond the stomach. The remaining 10 to 15 feet of small intestine, which carries digestive fluids from the liver and pancreas, is attached to the small intestine about four feet from the colon or large intestine, allowing these fluids to mix with food for digestion to take place.

No intestine is removed during the DS procedure. The procedure decreases hunger, brings about a more rapid sensation of fullness, and changes how the body responds to glucose and carbohydrates. The amount of calories and nutrients absorbed into the body is also reduced. This results in significant and sustained weight loss and improvement in diabetes, cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Patients who undergo DS surgery eat small and nutritious meals that are high in protein and low in sugar and unhealthy fats. Vitamin and mineral supplements are essential for preventing nutritional deficiencies. Because this duodenal switch and other types of weight loss surgeries are complex procedures, it is important to be treated by a highly experienced bariatric surgery team with excellent outcomes.

The University of Chicago Medicine, a leader in the field of bariatric surgery, is accredited by the American College of Surgeons. We've been performing minimally invasive duodenal switch for more than 17 years, making us one of the most experienced with the procedure worldwide. Want more information about the duodenal switch and other weight loss procedures? Call 1, 8 8, 8, 8, 2, 4, 0, 2, 0, 0 or visit us at uchicagomedicine.org/duodeno-switch.

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We are also a regional and national referral center for complex and revisional bariatric surgery.

We have a particular interest in helping patients who have poor weight loss or complications after Lap-Band adjustable gastric banding, sleeve gastrectomy or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

At UChicago Medicine, we are dedicated to long-term, follow-up care. When you have surgery here, we offer continued care for the rest of your life. Our patients have access to our dietitians, nurses and physicians for as long as needed.

We understand that bariatric surgery is a life-changing procedure. We offer a monthly support group for patients facilitated by a clinical psychologist with the participation of surgeons, nurses and dietitians.

Why Minimally Invasive Surgery?

At UChicago Medicine, all of our bariatric surgeries are performed laparoscopically, a minimally invasive technique that requires five or six small incisions ranging from 1/4 to 3/4 inches in length. Laparoscopic approaches offer the same potentially life-saving results as traditional "open" obesity surgeries — which require a single large incision extending from the lower edge of the breastbone down to the belly button — but with significantly less pain and fewer complications, such as wound infections and hernias. Patients typically return home two to four days after their surgery and usually return to work and other activities significantly earlier than they would after traditional weight loss surgery.

During a laparoscopic procedure, the surgeon inserts a laparoscope, which is a thin tube with a tiny video camera on the end of it, through a 10-millimeter incision in the middle of the abdomen. The surgeon then inserts surgical instruments through the additional incisions to perform the operation. Throughout the surgery, the laparoscope's camera projects a high-resolution, magnified image of the surgical field onto multiple video monitors, allowing the surgeon to perform the procedure safely and with high precision.

Patients from across the country turn to UChicago Medicine for obesity surgery. Our surgeons perform hundreds of obesity surgeries a year. With their surgical expertise and the strength of a supporting multidisciplinary team, we are able to help many patients who are often considered to be too obese or high risk for laparoscopic weight loss surgery. Our surgeons' rate of surgical complications is also lower than the national average, despite the larger and higher-risk patients treated at our center.

Bariatric Surgery Information Sessions

Attend an information session to learn more about our surgical weight loss program. We offer both online webinars and in-person information sessions. 

To register for either in-person session or for the online webinar, please call 773-702-1618.

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Bariatric Surgery