The Effect of Bariatric Surgery on Intestinal Absorption and Transit Time

Kirstin A. Carswell*, Royce Vincent, Ajay P. Belgaumkar, Roy Sherwood, Stephanie A. Amiel, Ameet Patel, Carel W. le Roux

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background 
Bariatric surgical procedures are classified by their presumed mechanisms of action: restrictive, malabsorptive or a combination of both. However, this dogma is questionable and remains unproven. We investigated post-operative changes in nutrient absorption and transit time following bariatric surgery.

Methods 
Participants were recruited into four groups: obese controls (body mass index (BMI) > 30 kg/m(2), n = 7), adjustable gastric banding (n = 6), Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB, n = 7) and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (DS, n = 5). Participants underwent sulphasalazine/sulphapyridine tests (oro-caecal transit time); fasting plasma citrulline (functional enterocyte mass); 3 days faecal collection for faecal elastase 1 (FE-1); calprotectin (FCp); faecal fatty acids (pancreatic exocrine function, gut inflammation and fat excretion, respectively); and 5 h d-xylose, l-rhamnose and lactulose test (intestinal absorption and permeability).

Results 
Age and gender were not different but BMI differed between groups (p = 0.001). No difference in oro-caecal transit time (p = 0.935) or functional enterocyte mass (p = 0.819) was detected. FCp was elevated post-RYGB vs obese (p = 0.016) and FE-1 was reduced post-RYGB vs obese (p = 0.002). Faecal fat concentrations were increased post-DS vs obese (p = 0.038) and RYGB (p = 0.024) and were also higher post-RYGB vs obese (p = 0.033). Urinary excretion of d-xylose and l-rhamnose was not different between the groups; however, lactulose/rhamnose ratio was elevated post-DS vs other groups (all p < 0.02), suggesting increased intestinal permeability.

Conclusions 
Following RYGB, there are surprisingly few abnormalities or indications of severe malabsorption of fats or sugars. Small bowel adaptation after bariatric surgery may be key to understanding the mechanisms responsible for the beneficial metabolic effects of these operations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)796-805
Number of pages10
JournalOBESITY SURGERY
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

Keywords

  • Bariatrics
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Gastric bypass
  • Biliopancreatic diversion
  • Intestinal absorption
  • Y GASTRIC BYPASS
  • GLUCAGON-LIKE PEPTIDE-1
  • INFLAMMATORY-BOWEL-DISEASE
  • RANDOMIZED CLINICAL-TRIAL
  • ROUX-LIMB LENGTH
  • TERM WEIGHT-LOSS
  • BILIOPANCREATIC DIVERSION
  • PANCREATIC-SECRETION
  • CELL-PROLIFERATION
  • DUODENAL SWITCH

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