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Duodenal Switch

The duodenal switch procedure, or biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD-DS), reduces the amount of calories absorbed by the body by permanently altering the normal digestive process. Like other metabolic surgeries, it helps to establish a lower, healthier body fat set point by changing the signals between the stomach, brain, and liver. While the procedure is considered a malabsorptive procedure, it also limits the amount of food that can be eaten by reducing the size of the stomach.

If you are thinking about weight-loss surgery, consider registering for an SSM Health Weight Management Services informational seminar. This free seminar provides a high-level overview of all of our weight loss services designed to help you reach your weight loss goals.

What Happens During a Duodenal Switch Procedure?

During the procedure, the outer margin of the stomach is removed, leaving a small, tubular stomach. Then, the first section of the small intestine is divided into two sections. One section, called the alimentary limb, is connected to the stomach pouch. The food you eat travels through this segment. The second section, called the biliopancreatic limb, keeps digestive juices from the gall bladder and pancreas separate until the two sections join at the common channel. The result of this rerouting is that significantly fewer calories are absorbed from the food you eat.

Key Benefits of Duodenal Switch

The duodenal switch procedure offers several key benefits.

The average excess weight loss for patients who undergo the duodenal switch procedure is generally greater than with gastric banding or sleeve gastrectomy because it provides the highest level of malabsorption.

In a clinical study of duodenal switch patients, 94% lost more than 70% of their excess weight at 1 year, 62% lost 75% of their excess weight at 3 years, and 31% lost 81% of their excess weight at 5 years.

The weight loss that results from the duodenal switch procedure has been shown to help resolve type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, and to improve high cholesterol.

After the duodenal switch procedure, there are no restrictions on the types of foods that can be eaten. In addition, the procedure allows for larger meals compared with other bariatric procedures because the remaining stomach is larger.

Duodenal Switch Risks

While the procedure helps many lose weight, it’s not the right choice for everyone. In addition to the general risks of surgery, the following risks are associated with the duodenal switch procedure:

  • It can take time for your intestines to adapt, so bowel movements can be very liquid and frequent after the procedure. This condition may lessen over time, but may be permanent.
  • Abdominal bloating and foul smelling stool or gas may occur.
  • Because this is a malabsorption procedure, vitamin deficiencies may occur. As a result, lifelong vitamin supplementation is required. If eating and vitamin supplement guidelines are not rigorously followed, at least 25% of patients will develop problems that require treatment. In addition, close lifelong monitoring for protein malnutrition, anemia, and bone disease is recommended.
  • Changes to the intestinal structure increase the risk of gallstone formation and the need for removal of the gallbladder.
  • Rerouting of bile, pancreatic, and other digestive juices beyond the stomach can cause intestinal irritation and ulcers.

Get Started on Your Weight Loss Journey

Making the decision to have weight loss surgery can feel extremely overwhelming. The caring and compassionate team at SSM Health Weight Management Services will help you consider all of your options - both surgical and nonsurgical - so you can feel confident in your choice. Make an appointment today so you can get started on your path to better health.

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