More about weight loss surgeries

If you have health concerns about your weight, speak to your family physician and get a referral into one of the publicly funded obesity surgery programs that are run in each province.

Dr Chris de Gara, Edmonton Bariatric Surgeon and Professor of Surgery, developed a video to educate patients and health care providers about the different bariatric surgery procedures. This video was funded by the Physician Learning Program of the Alberta Medical Association.

Can be found here:

Gastric bypass

The “Roux-en-Y gastric bypass” is considered the most effective surgery for weight loss, called the “gold standard” for weight-loss surgery by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and the National Institutes of Health.

With the gastric bypass, the surgeon creates a small pouch at the top of the stomach, which is the only part of the stomach that receives food. This limits the amount that you can comfortably eat and drink at one time. The small intestine is then cut a short distance below the main stomach and connected to the new pouch

Diagram of a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Author: U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Gastric Sleeve/Sleeve Gastrectomy

A sleeve gastrectomy, also called a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, is a newer type of weight-loss surgery. In a sleeve gastrectomy, part of the stomach is separated and removed from the body. The remaining section of the stomach is formed into a tubelike structure. This smaller stomach cannot hold as much food. It also produces less of the appetite-regulating hormone ghrelin, which may lessen your desire to eat. However, sleeve gastrectomy does not affect the absorption of calories and nutrients in the intestines and it is not reversible.

Diagram of a Gastric Sleeve/Sleeve Gastrectomy. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license. Attribution:

Gastric Band

Gastric band surgeries are not considered as effective as other surgeries, and have more problems associated with them.

A laparoscopic adjustable gastric band is an inflatable silicone device surgically implanted around the top portion of the stomach. A band is placed around the upper part of the stomach, creating a small pouch that can hold only a small amount of food.

A port is then placed under the skin of the abdomen. A tube connects the port to the band. By injecting or removing fluid through the port, the balloon can be inflated or deflated to adjust the size of the band. Gastric banding is meant to restrict the amount of food that your stomach can hold.

Critics say that gastric bands have high rates of re-operations (often an average 3.8 more operations are required). In addition, gastric bands have higher failure rates than other bariatric surgeries due to blockages, erosion, bleeding, or simply lack of efficacy. Some bariatric surgeons believe that all gastric bands may need to be removed at some point.

Author: U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Weight-Loss Gastric Band Removal Procedures performed in Canada (excluding Quebec) for 2010-2011 to 2016-2017*

YearNumber of Removals