Gastric Sleeve Versus Gastric Bypass: What’s the Difference?

 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

SuperHumans are the toughest, fittest, healthiest and happiest human beings on this planet. My mission is to help you realize your superhuman potential and learn how to live a long, happy and healthy life.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’m a content organizer, fact-checker and super mom who ensures content is medically-reviewed, highly accurate, and engaging. My passion is organizing information and ensuring the facts are presented in a manner that is interesting and easy to understand.

gastric sleeve vs gastric bypass

The demand for weight loss surgical intervention is on the rise. But which operation is the best one: gastric sleeve or gastric bypass? The debate between gastric sleeve vs gastric bypass is quite big on the web, with many claiming that sleeve gastrectomy is the best option and others stating that gastric bypass remains the most efficient choice.

In this article, we’ll compare the differences of gastric bypass versus gastric sleeve surgery, and look at how they work. We’ll also talk about who qualifies for each surgery, their potential complications, and the advantages and disadvantages of gastric sleeve versus gastric bypass.

What is Gastric Sleeve Surgery vs Gastric Bypass

What is gastric sleeve surgery vs gastric bypass?

Let’s first take a look at the similarities between these two procedures.

Both the gastric sleeve and the gastric bypass are bariatric procedures that limit how much food you can ingest. They also reduce the size of your stomach, limiting how much food you can comfortably consume.

These two surgeries are done laparoscopically, or with small incisions made in the abdomen that allow for instruments to be inserted into these openings.

Most patients require hospitalization for at least a day after their surgery, and some may need more time if complications arise during recovery. Both procedures also require general anesthesia, so you may feel groggy after surgery but will not be asleep during any part of your procedure.

After both surgeries have been performed successfully on an outpatient basis, meaning that you will be able to leave the hospital without having any overnight stays, your doctor will recommend a liquid diet for about two weeks before transitioning back into solid foods slowly over several months.

During the healing process, it is extremely important to also keep your gut health in check as you recover. Because of restrictions on food intake, many people who undergo gastric bypass surgery need to take vitamins and other supplements in order to supplement their diets as they adjust to their new eating habits after surgery.

Taking natural supplements such as Optima will help maintain your gut balance, which also improves your immune system to fight off any viral or bacterial invasion as you continue to heal.

What is Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is an umbrella term for procedures that can help obese or overweight people lose weight, keep it off and improve their health. It’s also called weight loss surgery.

woman measuring waist in front of a mirror

Bariatric surgery for weight loss can be done with minimally invasive techniques, which means there are fewer incisions and less pain after surgery. The most common bariatric procedures are sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass, duodenal switch, lap band and adjustable gastric banding.

Most people who have bariatric surgery need to follow a special diet and exercise plan after the procedure to help them keep the weight off.

If you’re thinking about getting bariatric surgery to treat your obesity or overweight condition, talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of each type of procedure. Your doctor will also help you decide if you’re a good candidate for this surgery.

Who Qualifies for Gastric Bypass or Sleeve?

In order to qualify for gastric bypass surgery, patients must meet certain criteria. A BMI of 40 or more is typically required in order to be considered for a sleeve procedure. The patient must also be 18 years old or over, and may not have had any previous bariatric surgeries.

Additionally, there are several other factors that will determine whether or not you qualify for this type of weight loss surgery:

  • Patients with diabetes. If you have diabetes, this is a factor that will determine whether or not you qualify for this type of weight loss surgery. If you have Type 1 diabetes and are taking insulin, then you may be a good candidate for the sleeve gastrectomy. However, if you have Type 2 diabetes and are taking medication to control it, then there is a chance that your doctor will recommend the gastric bypass instead. Furthermore, there are a few alternatives to gastric bypass as well.
  • Sleep apnea patients. Sleep apnea is defined as having episodes where you stop breathing during sleep, and can cause excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue.

Gastric Bypass versus Gastric Sleeve Procedure

What are the differences between gastric sleeve and gastric bypass?

These two weight loss procedures are often confused and, at first glance, they can seem similar. However, there some key differences between the two that are important to understand before you make a decision about which procedure is right for you.

The gastric sleeve is a restrictive procedure. This means that the size of your stomach is reduced to about the size of an egg, making you feel full faster. The gastric bypass is a procedure that is both restrictive and malabsorptive, which means that it reduces food intake by limiting how much food you can fit into your stomach and also changes how food moves through your digestive system.

The bypass is more effective in the long term because it restricts both how much food you can consume or eat at one time, as well as slows down how fast your body absorbs nutrients from whatever small amounts of food do make it into your system.

The gastric bypass requires incisions through which surgeons pass their instruments, and most patients require several days to recover from surgery before they can resume normal activities such as working out or driving themselves places without assistance from others due to nausea caused by blood loss during surgery or anesthesia side effects, which may include dizziness.

gastric bypass illustration

The Similarities

When you’re trying to decide on whether you’re having a gastric bypass surgery or a gastric sleeve surgery, it can be hard to know which is right for you.

  • Both procedures help people lose weight by restricting the volume of food they eat, but they work in different ways.
  • Both procedures reduce the size of your stomach, but the gastric sleeve procedure removes a large portion of it while gastric bypass restricts how much food can enter the stomach.
  • In both cases, you’ll need to make changes in your diet and lifestyle—including changing what foods you eat and how often—as well as taking vitamins after surgery to help with healing.

The Differences

  • Gastric bypass surgery is invasive, while gastric sleeve surgery is less invasive.
  • In gastric bypass, surgeons create a small pouch in the upper part of your stomach and connect it to the middle portion of your small intestine. In gastric sleeve, surgeons remove about 80% of your stomach so that it looks like a tube or sleeve. The remaining section functions as part of the digestive tract in place of your removed portions.
  • Gastric bypass, by the term itself, bypasses most of your stomach and some length of your intestines, which reduces how much food you can eat at one time. With a gastric sleeve procedure, since there’s less space for food digestion after surgery, you may feel fuller more quickly after meals even if you don’t consume fewer calories overall—which can make managing weight loss difficult at first.

Gastric Bypass vs Sleeve Bariatric Surgery

Why gastric bypass vs sleeve as a discussion point? While gastric sleeve and gastric bypass are both procedures that can be used to treat obesity, however, there some key differences:

  • The gastric bypass procedure is more invasive than the gastric sleeve. In a gastric bypass procedure, the surgeon will make an incision around your belly button and then use staples or stitches to close off most of your stomach. They then create a new pouch about one-third of its original capacity for food by reattaching what remains of your stomach to your small intestine.
  • In contrast, in a gastric sleeve surgery, also referred to as vertical sleeve gastrectomy, they will remove almost all of the stomach by dividing it into two equal parts and removing the larger portion through an abdominal incision using staples or stitches. This leaves only part of your stomach remaining which has been reshaped into a banana-shaped tube that is approximately one ounce in size—roughly equivalent to what was once called a “baby bottle” when you were growing up.
gastric sleeve illustration


Gastric bypass surgery is an effective way to lose weight and keep it off. Many patients say that they have more energy, feel better, and have a healthier relationship with food after the procedure.

The gastric sleeve is also highly successful at helping people lose weight. Unlike gastric bypass, it’s less invasive; there’s no need for either of your intestines to be rerouted or any part of your stomach removed.

And while you do have to make some dietary changes—no more than one meal a day can be liquid—the benefits are still significant: One study found that patients who underwent sleeve gastrectomy lost an average of 60 pounds within five years after surgery, compared with about half as much weight loss for those who chose laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding.

Finally, if you want something even simpler and much safer, consider the vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG). This technique doesn’t require any surgical incisions on your abdominal wall; instead doctors make small cuts around your navel so they can access the actual gastrointestinal tract without reaching anything beyond muscle tissue underneath skin layers.

After removing excess fat cells through these openings in order to reduce overall volume throughout this area inside your body cavity space–they then sew them back up again using sutures made from dissolvable synthetic materials which dissolve slowly over time leaving minimal scarring behind afterwards.


There are a few cons or disadvantages associated with gastric bypass and with gastric sleeve surgery.

Gastric bypass is a more invasive procedure and requires more recovery time. It also has greater risks of complications, including leaks, infections, and death. Gastric bypass can also lead to nutritional deficiencies if it’s not carefully monitored after the procedure.

Gastric sleeve surgery is less invasive than gastric bypass, but it still requires a long recovery time, and it can also lead to nutritional deficiencies if not carefully monitored after the procedure. The risk of infection is lower with gastric sleeve surgery than with gastric bypass, but both procedures carry a risk of death from complications during or after surgery.

Gastric Bypass Benefits vs. Gastric Sleeve Benefits

While both procedures are designed to help you lose weight, there are some key differences between them. Here’s a quick rundown of the main benefits and disadvantages of each:

Gastric sleeve surgery is a less invasive procedure than gastric bypass surgery. In this procedure, your surgeon will remove about 80% of your stomach.

This means you’re going to feel full more quickly than with other procedures, but it also means you will be able to consume fewer calories overall because you’ll only be capable to take in about 1/3 cup at a time. The sleeve procedure has been shown to be just as effective as gastric bypass in helping people lose weight, but it has fewer risks associated with it.

Gastric bypass is more invasive than gastric sleeve surgery and comes with higher risks if something goes wrong during or after the procedure, like internal bleeding. However, there are some advantages associated with this type of surgery: You’ll get rid of most of your stomach altogether. As a result, you’ll feel full faster and have less room in your stomach for food so you can eat even less.

Results: Do You Lose Weight Faster with Gastric Sleeve or Bypass?

The answer to this question is that it depends. If you have a lot of weight to lose, then the gastric sleeve will probably be more effective as it can be done quickly. But if you are looking for a surgical procedure that will keep your hunger under control and give you more energy, then gastric bypass might be a better choice.

overweight man with belly fat

For most people, gastric bypass surgery results in an average 10-15 pounds lost per month while sleeve gastrectomy results in an average 7-8 pounds lost per month.

Never Bypass: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Is Gastric Sleeve or Bypass Better?

It all depends on you and the recommendation of your doctor. If you’re looking for an option that will help you lose weight quickly but will require ongoing maintenance, and possibly additional surgeries, then gastric sleeve might be for you.

If you want something that will help you lose weight slowly over time without having any additional surgeries or maintenance, then gastric bypass might be the better option.

Is Gastric Sleeve Safer Than Gastric Bypass?

When you’re considering weight loss surgery, you might be wondering if gastric sleeve surgery is safer than gastric bypass. The truth is that both procedures have their risks and benefits, but a lot of people are choosing to get gastric sleeve because it’s less invasive than gastric bypass.

Since the surgery for a gastric sleeve is much less invasive than the surgery for a gastric bypass, it has fewer complications and side effects. Your doctor will be able to tell you which procedure would be best for you based on your health history, lifestyle habits, etc.

What Is the Most Successful Weight Loss Surgery?

It’s hard to say what the most successful weight loss surgery is—there are so many variables! However, there a few things that we can look at to help us figure out which surgery is best for you.

First, we need to look at what kind of weight loss surgery you’re interested in. There are two major types: restrictive and malabsorptive. The first, restrictive surgeries, limit the quantity of food that can be consumed by restricting the stomach’s size; the second, malabsorptive surgeries, affect how well your body absorbs nutrients from food, while also restricting how much food you can eat.

Both types of surgery have pros and cons. For example, while a malabsorptive procedure will help you lose more weight overall than a restrictive procedure would, it also causes more side effects like diarrhea and nutritional deficiencies.

On the flip side, while a restrictive procedure has fewer side effects than a malabsorptive one, it doesn’t allow for as much weight loss over time because your body will eventually adapt to being restricted in this way.

Ultimately, it’s up to you and your trusted doctor which type of surgery is right for your needs.


Gastric sleeve versus gastric bypass, which is better?

Ultimately, patients should discuss the pros and cons of both procedures with a surgeon. Each patient’s anatomy and requirements are different, so it’s crucial that the surgeon determine which procedure will provide the best results.

The gastric bypass procedure is an effective alternative to gastric sleeve surgery, and patients should consider discussing both options with their surgeons to decide which is right for them.

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