Gastric Bypass Vs. Lap Band Surgery: Which Is Best For You?

Gastric Bypass vs. Lap Band Surgery: Which Is Best for You?


Dr. David Provost

If you have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight through the traditional methods of diet and exercise, you may be wondering whether gastric bypass surgery or the Lap Band procedure is right for you. If you have a BMI of 40 or above, or if you have serious medical conditions that are linked to obesity, then you may be eligible for weight loss surgery. However, deciding which type of surgery is right for you can be downright frustrating if you don t understand the differences between the two. This article covers the basics on each procedure so you can make an informed choice.

Gastric Bypass: The Basics

Gastric bypass surgery is also known as stomach stapling. In this procedure, the stomach is made smaller through the use of staples. Not only is your stomach smaller than before, so it holds less food, it also allows your meals to bypass the small intestine. Here s how it works: after the stomach has been made smaller, the surgeon attaches it to the middle part of the small intestine. This bypasses the stomach as well as the rest of the small intestine, hence the name gastric bypass.

After gastric bypass surgery, you can expect to return to your normal activity in 3-5 weeks. But your diet especially the way in which you eat will have to change drastically:

You will have to eat only small portions of food throughout the day.


You will need to chew your food thoroughly, almost to mush.

You cannot drink for 30 minutes before, during, and 30 minutes after meals.

These changes are all critical as your body adjusts to your much smaller stomach.

After surgery, you will notice that you begin to lose weight almost immediately. In fact, studies show that you will probably lose one-third of your excess weight during the first 1 to 4 years. However, you can continue losing weight up to 5 years after the procedure. Some patients see a loss of 69%-84% of their excess weight within 1 and 5 years after the gastric bypass surgery is complete.

Lap Band Surgery: The Basics

In Lap Band surgery, the surgeon wraps an adjustable silicone band around your upper stomach. The band is lined with a thin silicone balloon, which allows the surgeon to constrict or expand the band to adjust the tightness as needed with the use of saline injections through a special port. The procedure is less invasive than gastric bypass surgery, but you will still have to make drastic changes to your diet.

After Lap Band surgery, you will probably have to follow a liquid diet for a specified period of time, until you become used to having a much smaller stomach. In time, you can add solid food back in gradual increments. (Of course, a liquid diet does not mean chocolate milkshakes. Your doctor will prescribe healthy eating guidelines as you transition from liquids to solids.)

Lap Band surgery can be used on individuals who struggle with weight issues but have a lower BMI. For example, you may qualify for Lap Band surgery with a BMI of only 35, whereas gastric bypass surgery is generally only for patients with a BMI of 40 or above. On the other hand, weight loss with the Lap Band is slower than with stomach stapling, but still progresses at a steady rate. You will continue to lose weight for 4-5 years after your initial surgery, assuming that you follow your physician s advice about diet and exercise. Please note, however, that your physician will need to tighten the gastric band several times in the first 12-18 months as you lose weight, to accommodate your smaller stomach size.

Which One for You?

Ultimately, the decision about which type of bariatric surgery to choose is entirely up to you. Be sure to consult with a reputable physician who can look at your medical history, your current condition, and other factors, such as your BMI, to make a recommendation. No matter which procedure you choose, you can look forward to better health, more energy, and a longer life to share with your loved ones.

Undecided about

gastric bypass surgery

? Wondering whether the Lap Band is right for you? Bariatric surgeon

Dr. David Provost

offers free informational sessions at his North Dallas practice for those considering a weight loss surgery procedure, as well as monthly support group meetings for his patients.

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