Lap-Band vs. Other Weight Loss Procedures
You've probably heard about “stomach stapling” and other gastric surgeries. Recently, a number of celebrities have been quite open about their weight loss surgery. Their stories have increased people's awareness of surgical treatments for obesity. What many people don't realize is that there are several options for bariatric surgery (obesity surgery).
To help you make an informed decision, here's a brief overview of the advantages and disadvantages of the most commonly available weight loss surgeries:
1. Vertical Banded Gastroplasty (VBG) or “stomach stapling” surgically reduces the amount your stomach can hold but doesn't interfere with normal digestion of food and nutrients.
VBG is safer than gastric bypass, with a lower mortality rate, lower risk of leakage or obstruction and full nutrient-absorption. However, it requires actual cutting and stapling of the stomach, which increases the risk of serious complications. Unlike the Lap-Band, VBG is non-adjustable, very difficult to reverse, and does not maintain adequate weight loss over time. These days, it's rarely performed.
2. Biliopancreatic Diversion (BPD )shortens the digestive tract to limit the number of calories that can be absorbed. Three-quarters of the stomach is removed, and the remaining stomach pouch is diverted to the final segment of the small intestine. Nutrients are separated from the bile and pancreatic enzymes that would break them down, and pass through without being absorbed.
The main benefit of BPD is that it offers the highest total weight loss of any type of bariatric surgery. However, the disadvantages are significant. The surgery involves cutting and stapling the stomach and bowel, and has the highest level of post-operative complications and mortality.
There is also an increased risk of intestinal irritation, ulcers, and“dumping syndrome”which happens when the undigested contents of your stomach are “dumped” into your small intestine too rapidly, causing cramps and nausea. You absorb fewer nutrients. Unlike the Lap-Band,patients require lifelong monitoring for malnutrition, anemia and bone disease.
3. Gastric Bypass reduces the amount of food your stomach can hold and the calories it can absorb. The stomach is stapled to make a smaller pouch, then part of the intestine is attached to the small stomach pouch, bypassing most of the stomach and part of the intestines. As a result, you eat less and you absorb fewer nutrients. This solution is particularly effective for severely and morbidly obese patients.
Advantages include rapid initial weight loss and higher total average weight loss than other procedures. However, this is major surgery and it carries all the associated risks and potential complications. Absorption of essential nutrients is reduced, which can cause medical complications. This procedure is highly associated with dumping syndrome, is not adjustable and is extremely difficult to reverse.