Losing weight surgically: Gastric bypass or gastric sleeve?

By Mark Bullion

February 18, 2013 Updated Feb 19, 2013 at 1:35 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Dr. Jayaraj Salimath is no stranger to performing weight loss surgery.

The most common surgery people often think of is gastric bypass but over the past eight years or so, a new and safer surgery has hit the operating room called sleeve gastrectomy.

"We remove about 80 to 90 percent of the stomach and we leave the natural pathway of the food from the mouth to the anus in tact," said Mid Illini Surgical Associates Dr. Jayaraj Salimath.

So what is the difference between gastric sleeve and gastric bypass?

"We cut the stomach into two parts, one part will be considered a pouch, the other part where the food does not even go into, and then we reroute the small intestine and bypass the normal digestive pathway," added Salimath.

Dr. Salimath says while the two surgeries essentially do the same thing, gastric sleeve is safer in the long term.

"They don't have too many issues with kidney stones or vitamin deficiencies compared to gastric bypass and the risk of bowel blockage is less," he said.

That is why one of Dr. Salimath's patients, Dara Entwistle, chose to go with gastric sleeve over a year ago.

"I've been battling weight all my life. As a kid, I wasn't a chunky child, I was fit, very active, but I have the German built farmer type if you wanna say, and after I had my first two kids in my 20's or early 20's, weight was an issue with me," said Entwistle.

For Entwistle, diet and exercise were just not enough. She said she even resorted to extreme measures to shed the pounds.

"I would be on the Jenny Craig diet, I would be on Weight Watchers, you name it, every fad diet, I even took prescription medicine, and I did not want to be on that all my life; however, about five years ago, I did turn to laxatives and sudafed," she said.

So she researched the procedure and decided to go under the knife for gastric sleeve surgery.

Did it work? Did she experience any complications? We will find out Tuesday night at 10 in Part 2 of our weight loss series.

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