The duodenal switch is an effective bariatric treatment for improving diabetes, hyperlipidemia, high cholesterol, high triglycerides and sleep apnea. It also results in greater weight loss than any other bariatric procedure.
The duodenal switch combines two surgical techniques – restrictive and malabsorptive.
The restrictive component involves reducing the size of the stomach. More than 85% of the stomach is removed.
The malabsorptive component of duodenal switch surgery involves rearranging the small intestine to separate the flow of food from the flow of bile and pancreatic juices. The food and digestive juices interact only in the last 18 to 24 inches of the intestine, allowing for malabsorption.
Unlike the restrictive part of the surgery, the intestinal bypass part of the duodenal switch is partially reversible if the patient experiences malabsorptive complications. With the duodenal switch, patients consume less food than normal, but even this reduced amount of food cannot be digested as normal, so a large amount of food passes through the shortened intestines undigested.
To be a candidate for duodenal switch surgery, patients must be morbidly obese or superobese (BMI > 50) and be healthy enough to tolerate surgery. Those with comorbid conditions, such as diabetes, are good candidates as well.
Duodenal Switch patients should expect to stay in the hospital overnight and devote at least one week to recover. Patients are generally able to return to work within 2 weeks. Certain activities may be restricted for up to 6 weeks.