Lap Band Surgery: Adjustable Gastric Band vs. Gastric Bypass

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Home / Lap Band Surgery: Adjustable Gastric Band vs. Gastric Bypass

Gastric banding carries risks, but can result in extreme weight loss. Photo courtesy of the FDA

Thirty-five percent of Americans are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – what can you do to avoid the health complications that often arise from carrying around too much extra weight?  Obvious solutions include dietary changes, exercise programs, and weight-loss surgery, such as the lap band.

Overweight vs. Obese: What is the Difference?

Overweight and obese are two different terms that depend on your body mass index (BMI). The BMI combines your height and weight into a number that fits into one of four categories: underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese. People who have a BMI between 25 and 29.9 are considered overweight, and those who have a BMI of 30 or higher are considered obese.

Obesity is much more severe, and is associated with multiple health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, and inflammation and pain in joints from carrying excess weight. These health conditions can be life threatening, and require constant medical care, so weight loss and a reduction in BMI can make a big difference in your quality of life. Is a gastric banding the right choice for you, despite the risks?

Lap-band Risks

According to UC San Diego Health System Bariatric and Metabolic Institute; some of the complications of lap-band surgery include:

  • Issues may occur with the lap band itself, such as band leakage, slipping of the band, or the band eroding into the stomach.
  • Users may experience gastrointestinal issues, such as reflux, gas, constipation, and vomiting.
  • Some people experience no weight loss, or regain weight over time.
  • Sometimes, stomach blockage occurs with the use of a lap band.

In addition to the above, aspiration of food particles into the lungs is also a concern for lap band patients. In a recent study, entitled, “Complications associated with adjustable gastric banding for morbid obesity: a surgeon’s guide” many of these very same complications mentioned above are examined. Dr. Iyad Eid and colleagues found, through this study, that the lap-band is considered safe, with a lower overall complication rate compared to Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (a different type of lap-band surgery).

In another study by Dr. Mitchell Feldman, et. al, “Gastric banding or bypass? A systematic review comparing the two most popular bariatric procedures,” Dr. Feldman and his colleagues reviewed 14 studies that included a one year follow up, and compared the adjustable gastric band with the  Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. The results from reviewing these studies found that the  Roux-en-Y gastric bypass patients lost more weight than those that had the adjustable gastric band. Patients with the adjustable gastric band were also more likely to have to have more surgeries to adjust the band. Patients with the  Roux-en-Y gastric bypass were more likely to be able to reverse their diabetes versus patients with the adjustable band (78 percent versus 50 percent). Dr. Feldman concluded through this study that  Roux-en-Y gastric bypass should be the primary treatment in bariatric surgery.

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