What's a Duodenal Switch and How Can It Help Me Lose Weight?

Approximately 1 in 3 Americans are considered obese, with a body mass index (BMI) over 30, and nearly 8% of Americans have extreme obesity, with BMIs that measure 40 or higher. The health risks that come from being morbidly obese are extremely serious, as we’re sure you’ve heard from your doctor.

At Weight Loss Institute of Arizona, our team of weight management specialists provides a wide range of services to help our patients get the leg up they need in the battle to lose weight. One of the more effective options for those who have a dangerously high BMI or a medical condition that requires significant weight loss is the duodenal switch.

Here’s a look at the duodenal switch and how this innovative procedure can help you lose weight, and keep it off.

Making the switch

The duodenal switch is a complex procedure in which we tackle your weight loss from several different angles. First, we remove 60-80% of your stomach, leaving it more of a tube shape than a round pocket, which is called a sleeve gastrectomy. While we reduce the size of your stomach, we leave your pyloric valve in place, which is responsible for releasing food into your small intestine. We also leave some of your duodenum intact, which is the upper section of your small intestine.

Next, we bypass up to two-thirds of your intestine and attach the lower end directly to the duodenum we left intact near your stomach. By greatly reducing the length of your small intestine, it limits the amount your body absorbs during digestion.

In most cases, we perform this procedure in one fell swoop, but there are times when we may decide to break it into two parts — the sleeve gastrectomy and the bypass.

Effective weight loss

The duodenal switch is one of the more effective bariatric surgeries we offer, with most patients losing 60-80% of their excess weight in the first 24 months.

While we’ve explained some of the reasons for success — a smaller stomach volume and greatly reduced small intestine — there are other reasons that make the duodenal switch a great option.

First, while we do reduce the size of your stomach, there’s still enough left so that you can eat smaller, but full meals. Second, by preserving your pyloric valve, you feel full longer because your stomach isn’t dumping food.

Are you a candidate?

This question is tough to answer because each of our patients has unique circumstances. As we explained above, the duodenal switch is largely reserved for those who have a BMI over 50. But if you’re facing serious health issues because of your weight and your BMI is around 35, for example, this procedure may be the most effective.

Also, this is an involved surgery, so we do need to be sure that you’re healthy enough to undergo a duodenal switch.

The best way to find out whether a duodenal switch is right for you is to contact one of our six offices or request a consultation through our online system.

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