Duodenal Switch surgery, also known as BilioPancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS), is a bariatric surgery that has proven success in helping morbid obese and obese patients lose excess weight. The surgery is so popular because it allows patients to eat larger portions of food than the gastric bypass procedure, which eliminates the constant feeling of nausea.

The surgery causes restriction meaning that it reduces the amount of food consumed before one feels full. Highly, the duodenal switch surgery also is highly malabsorptive meaning that it reduces the percentage of calories that are absorbed from the food consumed. Approximately one half of the stomach is removed and the remaining amount is reduced from the size of a pineapple to just the size of a banana. Because the pylorus remains at the outlet of the stomach, the amount of food that leaves the stomach is slower than gastric bypass. This helps keep dumping syndrome side effects at a minimum.

Common Side Effects

It’s important to understand that as a duodenal switch patient, you will be required to take many nutritional supplements or vitamins every day for the rest of your life post-op. The aggressive supplementation includes multivitamins, iron, fat-soluble vitamins or ADEKs, Probiotics, and Calcium with Vitamin D. These vitamins and supplements are vital because the digestive system route was changed extensively during the bariatric surgery. Follow-up visits with the doctor will require routine blood tests to ensure that the body is getting enough supplements.

Because of the change of food one is eating, the amount and the way that the body processes it, patients will deal with a variety of post-op side effects that may be less than desirable. First many patients experience difficulty swallowing. This is often caused by eating too quickly, not chewing food well or eating too much. This side effect should subside as the patient learns how to eat more effectively and how much food they can consume at one time.

Bowel changes are very common with duodenal switch patients. Many patients have frequent soft bowel movements up to 4-6 daily. Others mention the frequent passing of foul-smelling gas as well as bloating or gas pains. Few patients even experience constipation, however, this is rare. Bowel changes can improve once trigger foods are determined. Also, some bowel movement problems happen because of a lactose intolerance that is discovered as a result of weight loss surgery.

Changes in body odor also are prevalent in patients as the body is changing as a whole and the food consumed is changing too. Many patients also experience hair loss post-op as their body is adjusting to the vitamins and supplements it must take daily, most hair loss should end after the body absorbs the nutrients on a regular basis. Also, some patients may have an intolerance of certain foods, but that varies from patient to patient.

Honestly, it is difficult to determine what side effects each patient will experience because everyone’s body is different as well as their pre-existing health conditions.