Restriction vs Malabsorption

There are many technical terms in bariatric surgery, two of which are restriction and malabsorption. These terms, which describe the ways in which bariatric surgery helps a patient lose weight, are very different ways of achieving the same goal – reducing or eliminating obesity related diseases. All commonly performed bariatric surgery procedures can either be classified as restrictive, malabsorptive or a combination of both.

Understanding the advantages and potential drawbacks of both restrictive and malabsorptive procedures can help a patient decide which surgery is right for them.

Purely restrictive procedures such as the gastric band (Lap-Band® and Realize® Band) as well as the gastric sleeve / sleeve gastrectomy simply reduce the volume of the stomach such that a patient cannot eat as much food as they once did. This restriction on food consumption means a patient will feel fuller sooner and ultimately lose weight because they eating less at each sitting.

Procedures such as gastric bypass or duodenal switch, which combine restriction with malabsorption, have a second, restrictive component. Part of the small intestine is bypassed or rerouted, reducing the surface area of the small intestine and in turn allowing fewer calories to enter the bloodstream.

While the combination of restriction and malabsorption has the potential for greater overall weight loss, it is also more complex and comes with greater dietary restrictions. Attend our free weight loss seminar or speak to us about the difference between these weight loss methods and which is best for you.

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For the past five summers I have had the opportunity to be a camp counselor at Camp McCumber Type 1 Diabetes camp.