The weight loss surgeries most often done today are the lap band and the gastric bypass or the sleeve gastrectomy.
In the lap band nothing is rearranged – they just put a sort of belt around your stomach. This is supposed to make it uncomfortable to eat more than a bit at a time.
In the sleeve gastrectomy, they cut off most of your stomach and "send it to pathology" i.e. throw it away. It’s a restriction surgery like the band but since they are removing most of the stomach, things that are digested in the stomach like protein, vitamin B12 and other may not be digested.
Also there is a long term complication of "post gastrectomy syndrome" which can cause a lot of uncomfortable symptoms including pain. This is being seen in horizonal gastrectomy patients who often are still alive after 30 years but just as often, not real happy campers. Like the horizontal gastrectomy, the sleeve gastrectomy is not reversible.
Which Type of Weight Loss Surgery Is Best?
Many people wonder which surgery would work the best for them or sometimes they have one of the restriction surgeries and it’s not working for them so they decide they want a gastric bypass.
First, if a lap band or sleeve gastrectomy is not working for you, a bypass will probably not work either, on the long term basis either.
Second, a gastric bypass rearranges your digestive system so you will not be able to digest vitamins and macro-nutrients as well as micro-nutrients which eventually, may cause serious vitamin deficiency issues after 5 or more years. One article called "Bariatric beri beri" in "Obesity surgery journal" pointed out that vitamin deficiency diseases which are no longer seen in the general population are appearing in Weight Loss surgery patients and sometimes these diseases like Beri Beri can be fatal.
Third, with any weight loss surgery, some folks find it difficult to swallow and end up eating a lot of what goes down easy like ice cream, cake – all the things generally high calorie. To get around this and be comfortable, it might be necessary to eat a lot of soft food and use a Magic Bullet to grind up the rest and many patients are not willing to do this.
The same things you would do on Weight Watchers is what you do with a gastric bypass (or band or sleeve). In fact, many long term weight loss surgery patients have to go to Weight Watchers or Jenny or one of those.
The inventor of the gastric bypass stopped doing them in 1980 because his followup found too many long term complications.
The Advantage of the Lap Band
People often like the idea of the gastric bypass because of the quick weight loss but actually the slower loss you get with the band is more healthy. When you lose weight quickly, you lose a lot of muscle tissue and also some organ tissue and that’s not what you want to lose because your metabolism goes down with less muscle tissue.
Gastric Bypass – The Easy Way Out?
Bottom line, many people who get the gastric bypass are looking for the "easy way out" and yet after they have suffered with the initial pain of surgery, being worried about things like a twisted bowel or bowel obstructions appearing suddenly or undiagnosable pain and suffering with repercussions like reactive hypoglycemia and even epilepsy which can severely limit quality of life and after ALL OF THAT, still having to diet or they regain, they realize that the bypass is not only NOT the easy way out but it’s a very difficult manner of treatment.
For some people who are so overweight they are in a life threatening position (especially if they don’t exercise and eat healthy), like I mean over 500 lbs, maybe weight loss surgery hurts less than not having weight loss surgery.
Most people who have gastric bypass are in the 200-350 lbs area and people in this zone may NOT find it easier to deal with a bypass and the resulting health issues than it was to be fat.
No Surgery Is Without Complications
Everyone must make their own choice. If a person has a restriction surgery which is reversible like the lap band, they should consider working with it rather than dumping it. To the person who is deciding, I would suggest if you must get surgery, the lapband is far less invasive than the bypass. That being said, the lapband is not without complications. No weight loss surgery is.
What Surgeons Say
Here’s what a couple of surgeons say about weight loss surgery:
"Success with weight loss surgery is 10 percent the surgery and 90 percent the patient"
Dr Terry Simpson.. my comment to this is then skip the surgery and do the other 90 percent and you will get there…
*** "Because it’s risky, it’s only appropriate for a tiny fraction of people with obesity—the sickest 1 to 2 percent. The idea that all obese people should get weight loss surgery is insane."
Lee Kaplan, M.D., director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center in Boston in "Self MAGAZINE: ‘The Miracle Weight Loss that isn’t’ AUG 2008 ***