Obese man measuring his belly

It’s a big enough decision to commit to weight-loss surgery, but once you’ve committed to taking this step in your weight-loss journey, what type of surgery is right for you? What considerations should you take?

There are, after all, a variety of surgical options that could result in some significant — and positive — life changes. One of the most remarkable results of weight-loss surgery is the effect the surgeries have on the hormones that control your hunger, blood sugar, and your ability to feel satiated or full, which helps surgical weight-loss patients experience real success.

Weight-loss surgery can be viewed as a tool in the treatment of obesity, one that should be implemented along with changes to diet and exercise and overall lifestyle. Your doctor and weight-loss partner will help you make this decision, but as you’re personally considering it, here’s what to think about.

LEARN MORE: The Orbera Stomach Balloon Procedure

Percentage of Anticipated Weight-Loss

While all of the surgery types will help you lose weight, there is some variance in the amount. On average — and in combination with the recommended lifestyle changes — patients who undergo gastric band procedures lose approximately 50% of their excess body weight; gastric sleeve patients, 60%; and gastric bypass patients, 70%.

Your Vision for Weight Loss

obese man in yellow shirt

Different weight-loss surgeries cause weight to fall off at different rates, so take time to consider your personal vision for weight loss. Are you envisioning the pounds quickly melting off of you? You might be frustrated by the “slow-and-steady” weight loss that results from gastric band surgery, which can take up to two years. Gastric bypass and sleeve patients, on the other hand, can typically expect to reach their expected weight loss between 12-15 months post-surgery.

Any “Fear Factors”

Surgery can make even the most steel-stomached uncomfortable, and there are a few fear factors to consider when selecting your weight-loss surgery type. For example, have a fear of foreign bodies being left inside your body? Gastric band surgery is probably not the right choice for you. Other patients may gravitate towards laparoscopic, minimally-invasive procedures. While it’s important to note that there’s never been a safer time to undergo weight-loss surgery, if part of one surgery type is giving you anxiety, you might consider one of the other types instead.

Ultimately, after consulting with your doctor, you know yourself best and it’s important to go with the surgery type that feels like the right fit for you.

At what weight is weight loss surgery recommended?

Weight loss surgery is recommended for people who have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher, or have a BMI between 30 and 35 and an obesity-related condition such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or severe sleep apnea. Additionally, the recommended weight for weight loss surgery is less than 450 pounds, which is the maximum weight that hospital radiology equipment can accommodate.

How do I choose gastric bypass or gastric sleeve?

When deciding between gastric bypass or gastric sleeve, it is important to consider how much weight you need to lose. The Gastric Sleeve is ideal for those who need to lose less than 130 pounds, while the Gastric Bypass is a better option for those needing to lose more than 150 pounds. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that the Gastric Bypass also offers the potential for malabsorption, which may be a factor in your decision.

How long does it take to get weight loss surgery?

Several visits and consultations leading up to the surgery are necessary, however the entire process usually takes between three and six months.

How long does bariatric surgery take?

Gastric band surgery is usually performed in less than 2 hours, while gastric bypass takes between 2-3 hours.