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Lap Band vs. Gastric Bypass Surgery for Weight Loss

Posted Nov 17 2008 4:14pm

Losing weight can be a long frustrating battle. The most common way people lose weight is by eating right and exercising. Although, for morbidly obese people this may not work and the results rarely last.

Research has shown that conventional methods of weight loss don't always result in permanent weight loss. People on weight loss diets, exercise programs or medication are able to lose 10% of their body weight but regain two thirds within a year. Almost all of the patients on regular weight loss diets regain it all within five years. Another study proved that less than five percent of patients in weight loss programs were able to maintain their reduced weight after five years.

Weight loss surgery has been proven to be the most successful method for treating morbid obesity. This article will discuss the difference between gastric bypass surgery and gastric banding. The facts we will present are meant to give you some background information on the two before you talk further about weight loss surgery with your health care provider.

Gastric banding is a restrictive procedure. An inflatable band is placed around the upper part of the stomach creating a smaller stomach pouch which restricts the amount of food that can be consumed at one time. It also increases the time it takes for the stomach to empty. The patient loses weight by limiting the intake of food, reducing appetite and slowing digestion.

Learn more about how the lap band works here.

What are the advantages for gastric banding? Gastric banding results in the lowest mortality rate, is the least invasive surgical approach, is adjustable and reversible and there is no stomach stapling, cutting or intestinal re-routing.

What are the disadvantages of gastric banding? The disadvantages include, a slower initial weight loss than gastric bypass surgery, regular follow-up check-ups are critical, it requires an implanted medical device and in some instances the lap band may slip or the port may leak and require reversal surgery.

Gastric bypass surgery is a combination procedure that limits the amount of food the patient can eat and digest. The stomach is made smaller by creating a small pouch at the top of the stomach using surgical staples. The pouch can only hold an ounce of food. The stomach is then bypassed by attaching the small intestine to the pouch with staples. The patient can not eat as much and absorbs fewer calories and nutrients. This procedure can be performed laparoscopic ally allowing for less time in hospital and a shorter recovery time.

What are the advantages of gastric bypass surgery for weight loss? The patient will see a rapid initial weight loss and this is a minimally invasive approach. Gastric bypass surgery has been performed in the US a lot longer than gastric banding.

What are the disadvantages for gastric bypass surgery? Gastric bypass surgery requires cutting and stapling the stomach and bowels. There are more complications to this surgery than gastric banding. A portion of the digestive tract is bypassed which results in a reduction in the absorption of essential nutrients. This procedure is difficult to reverse and there is a much higher mortality rate.

Before you decide whether weight loss surgery is right for you learn the facts behind both of these procedures and make sure you discuss all your options with your doctor.


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