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Understanding the Difference Between Malabsorptive and Restrictive Weight Loss Surgery

The prevalence of obesity in the United States is more than 42%, which puts a good portion of the overall population at risk for some very serious health complications, including diabetes and heart disease.

If you’re struggling with your weight, to no avail, bariatric surgery, or weight loss surgery, is an effective option that offers incredible results — patients typically lose between 50% and 80% of their excess weight. These extraordinary results are accomplished using two techniques: restricting what you can eat and limiting how many nutrients your body absorbs.

At Rockwall Surgical Specialists, our team of experienced surgeons offers a wide range of surgical procedures that help our patients overcome a host of problems, from gallstones to hernias. We provide weight loss surgeries to those who are looking to take back control of their health and their bodies. 

Weight loss procedures approach the issue of excess weight in two ways — malabsorptive and restrictive. Here, we take a look at how each concept works.


When you eat, the food makes its first stop in your stomach, where enzymes begin to break down the food to prepare for sending it through your small intestine, which is where your body absorbs the food. After leaving your small intestine, the remainder of your food enters your large intestine where it’s processed for disposal.

Because your small intestine is primarily responsible for absorbing what you eat, one approach to weight loss surgery is to shorten your small intestine, which is accomplished through a gastric bypass surgery.


With a restrictive weight loss surgery, we reduce the amount of food you eat by reducing the size of your stomach. This is the type of weight loss surgery we offer at our practice, and our patients have two options:

Gastric sleeve

With a gastric sleeve, or sleeve gastrectomy, we remove approximately 80% of your stomach. This procedure not only restricts the amount of food you’re able to take in, we also remove the portion of your stomach that secretes your “hunger” hormones — those tiny messengers that signal to you eat.

Lap band

With a lap band, we restrict the size of your stomach by placing an adjustable band around the organ that reduces the available space considerably. We adjust the lap band gradually so you get accustomed to eating less and less.

Both of these restrictive surgeries are viable options for anyone with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher — or 35 if you're struggling with a dangerous health condition, such as diabetes. Of course, we understand that BMI numbers only paint part of the picture and each patient has unique concerns. Rest assured, we work with you to find a solution to meet your weight-loss goals.

If you’d like to explore how you can effectively lose weight through bariatric surgery, please contact one of our locations in Rowlett, Rockwall, Greenville, or Forney, Texas, to set up a consultation.

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