What Is a Duodenal Switch?

What Is a Duodenal Switch?

Your body mass index (BMI) is very high and/or you have a weight-related medical illness and you’ve been told that you might want to consider a form of bariatric surgery called a duodenal switch.

Before you embark on any weight loss surgery, our team of highly qualified and experienced weight loss specialists here at Weight Loss Institute of Arizona wants to make sure that you fully understand the procedure, which is why we're focusing on the duodenal switch here.

Here’s what we accomplish with this complex form of weight loss surgery.

A multipronged approach to weight loss surgery

In general there are several ways in which bariatric surgery works. For example, we can remove a portion of your stomach or limit its volume, causing you to eat less and feel full faster.

We can also induce meaningful weight loss by limiting the absorption of what you eat, which means bypassing a portion of your intestine.

With a duodenal switch, which is also called a bilio-pancreatic diversion with duodenal switch, we accomplish both of these objectives at the same time.

First, we perform a sleeve gastrectomy, in which we remove 60-70% of your stomach, leaving it shaped more like a tube than a pouch. This restricts the amount of food you can eat at any one time.

Next, we bypass two-thirds of your small intestine by dividing it and making a new connection at a point where you only have a few feet of intestine left for absorbing calories.

Lastly, we attach one end of your intestine to the duodenum at the bottom of your stomach.

Who’s a candidate for a duodenal switch

We typically reserve a duodenal switch for those who have a BMI over 50 or for those who have a BMI over 30 and a weight-related medical condition, such as:

These diseases are very serious and often life-threatening, requiring fast and substantial weight loss, which is exactly what the duodenal switch provides.

Undergoing a duodenal switch

In most cases, we perform your duodenal switch in one procedure, but there are times when we may divide the stages, starting with the sleeve gastrectomy first and then performing the remainder of your switch several months later. 

We perform these procedures using laparoscopic techniques whenever possible so that we can minimize your risks and speed up your recovery.

Results of a duodenal switch

Since we restrict how much food you eat and how many calories that you absorb, you can expect dramatic results from your duodenal switch, often more than 150 pounds within the first year or two.

It’s for this reason that this type of bariatric surgery is typically confined to those who have a high BMI or an urgent medical condition that can benefit from significant weight loss.

If you’d like to learn more about a duodenal switch and whether you’re a candidate, please contact us at one of our locations  in Tempe, Glendale, Mesa, Tucson, and Phoenix, Arizona.

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