When a doctor discusses the options with a patient about weight loss surgery, they talk about the differences between having the Gastric Bypass Surgery and the Lap-Band System. It really comes down to multiple factors.
As Dr David Provost explains at the Weight Loss Surgery Channel, Gastric Bypass has a longer track-record; it has been done now for nearly forty years. We know it has durability, it will continue to work as expected without need for additional surgeries over time. It will provide faster weight loss and faster corrections to medical problems such as diabetes. It does however involve the division of the stomach as well as the division of the intestine, which as a result makes this a bigger operation. It does carry a higher risk and mortality rate. The more invasive a surgical procedure is the more chance there is for error or accidental exposure to pathogens that could result in infections or other serious medical complications.
The Advantages to the Lap-Band
The Lap-Band is newer. It has now been done internationally for about fifteen years. The long term weight loss appears to be comparable to that we see with gastric bypass. The real advantage of the Lap-Band is safety. The risk of this surgery is probably five to ten times less then with gastric bypass. With this process there is no division of the stomach or intestine. The surgery is also faster which leaves less chance to accidental exposure. The recovery is faster, too. People can get back to work quicker. This has become an extremely important factor lately considering the current state of the economy and the scarcity of jobs available. It requires a little bit more active participation from the patient than with the bypass; at least upfront.
The Challenges to the Lap-Band
The Lap-Band requires a commitment to follow-up. The operation is about ten percent of the whole process. The follow-up care is about the rest ninety percent. This is because of the requirement for adjusting the band. “The band has a little balloon in it that we can tighten or loosen to determine how much you can eat at one time, as well as how much food it takes you to get full”, says Dr Provost. “Really, that is the key to the weight loss. This process is not a one shot deal where the adjustments are made and you can go on eating what you want without concern. The idea here is to assist you in making lifestyle changes that have to include your general eating habits.”
Pat is a post-op lap-bander. She has heard of people who have had RNY and were later struggling against weight regain, so they opted for lap-band surgery. “The nice thing about the band is its adjustability. I recently had a fill, as my weight was creeping up a bit, and I was getting hungry after two hours”, Pat recalls. “Now my weight is back down and I fill up faster again”.