The Duodenal switch is a weight loss surgery which changes the gastrointestinal tract in two ways. In the first, the stomach is reduced surgically so that the stomach is one third to one fifth of its original size. In the second, a digestive loop is formed so that the food is taken straight from the stomach to the large intestine. The bile is carried from the liver to the intestines to mix with the food. This method cuts short the time needed for the calories in the food to react and get absorbed and so lessens its absorption. It also reduces the fat absorption from the food by the body. Thus, with calories and fat getting reduced and not being absorbed by the body, weight gain is controlled.
The main objective of this procedure is to reduce calories and fat from being absorbed by the body so that weight gain is at a minimum and the weight loss is significantly more. If this operation is in addition to diet control then the weight reduction is much faster. This results in the significant weight loss in really obese patients and has a very low risk of weight regain.
There is no change in the valve or any other part of the stomach so the patient does not experience any dumping syndrome. Also as the intestine is not removed, only rerouted, it is a reversible operation. It has a lot of plus points but it also has some negative ones. It is a fairly long and complicated procedure and because newer methods have evolved, very few surgeons attempt this type of operation. There has to be regular post operative check ups and the patient has to be constantly in touch with the doctor who performed the operation. The patient must have vitamin tablets for his whole life. Gall stones may occur so the gall bladder might have to be removed.
Any surgical intervention has risks, complications and other dangers. There is risk of infection, of possible failure of the procedure, of rupture and of blood clot formation. This is a long operation done under anesthesia so stay in the hospital is a must. The post operative phase is very critical .The patient has to be under the constant vigilance and the care of the doctor. Rise in temperature, deep thrombosis are also possible complications.
However one has to weigh the positive points against the negative ones. Duodenal switch operation gives significant weight loss, removes fear from other illnesses like diabetes as it almost cures it.