Bariatric Surgery Procedures: Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB) vs. Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS) 

In this article we take a brief look at Gastric Bypass Surgery and Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS). Each surgery has its own advantages and potential drawbacks. Your bariatric surgeon will review your health history and work with you to determine which surgery is best for you.


Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB)

Gastric Bypass illustration

The Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, often called the “gastric bypass”, has now been performed for more than 50 years and the laparoscopic approach has been refined since 1993. It is one of the most common operations and is highly effective in treating obesity and obesity related diseases. The name is a French term meaning “in the form of a Y”.

The Procedure

  1. First, the stomach is divided into a smaller top portion (pouch) which is about the size of an egg. The larger part of the stomach is bypassed and no longer stores or digests food.
  2. The small intestine is also divided and connected to the new stomach pouch to allow food to pass. The small bowel segment which empties the bypassed or larger stomach is connected into the small bowel approximately 3-4 feet downstream, resulting in a bowel connection resembling the shape of the letter Y.
  3. Eventually the stomach acids and digestive enzymes from the bypassed stomach and first portion of the small intestine will mix with food that is eaten.

How it Works

The gastric bypass works in several ways. Like many bariatric procedures, the newly created stomach pouch is smaller and able to hold less food, which means fewer calories are ingested. Additionally, the food does not come into contact with the first portion of the small bowel, and this results in decreased absorption. Most importantly, the modification of the food course through the gastrointestinal tract has a profound effect to decrease hunger, increase fullness, and allow the body to reach and maintain a healthy weight. The impact on hormones and metabolic health often results in improvement of adult onset diabetes even before any weight loss occurs. The operation also helps patients with reflux (heart burn) and often the symptoms quickly improve. Along with making appropriate food choices, patients must avoid tobacco products and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen.


  1. Reliable and long-lasting weight loss
  2. Effective for remission of obesity-associated conditions
  3. Refined and standardized technique


  1. Technically more complex when compared to sleeve gastrectomy or gastric band
  2. More vitamin and mineral deficiencies than sleeve gastrectomy or gastric banding
  3. There is a risk for small bowel complications and obstruction
  4. There is a risk of developing ulcers, especially with NSAID or tobacco use
  5. May cause “dumping syndrome”, a feeling of sickness after eating or drinking, especially sweets.

Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS)

Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch illustration

The Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch, abbreviated BPD-DS, begins with creation of a tube-shaped stomach pouch similar to the sleeve gastrectomy. It resembles the gastric bypass, where more of the small intestine is not used.

The Procedure

  1. Following creation of the sleeve-like stomach, the first portion of the small intestine is separated from the stomach.
  2. A part of the small intestine is then brought up and connected to the outlet of the newly created stomach, so that when the patient eats, the food goes through the sleeve pouch and into the latter part of the small intestine.

How it Works

The smaller stomach, shaped like a banana, allows patients to eat less food. The food stream bypasses roughly 75% of the small intestine, the most of any commonly performed approved procedures. This results in a significant decrease in the absorption of calories and nutrients. Patients must take vitamins and mineral supplements after surgery. Even more than gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy, the BPD-DS affects intestinal hormones in a manner that reduces hunger, increases fullness and improves blood sugar control. The BPD-DS is considered to be the most effective approved metabolic operation for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.


  1. Among the best results for improving obesity
  2. Affects bowel hormones to cause less hunger and more fullness after eating
  3. It is the most effective procedure for treatment of type 2 diabetes


  1. Has slightly higher complication rates than other procedures
  2. Highest malabsorption and greater possibility of vitamins and micro-nutrient deficiencies
  3. Reflux and heart burn can develop or get worse
  4. Risk of looser and more frequent bowel movements
  5. More complex surgery requiring more operative time


Please Contact our Bariatric Centre Of Excellence to make an appointment for a consultation on which procedure will be best suited for your individual health needs.

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