Lap-Band vs Gastric Bypass

The debate of the Lap-Band vs Gastric Bypass has been going on for as long as both surgeries have been available. Many people, when deciding on weight loss surgery, want to know which surgery is better.  The truth is that both surgeries are an effective tool to help you lose weight but there are many huge differences in the two that you may want to look at before deciding which one to choose.


When deciding between Lap-Band vs Gastric Bypass make sure you gather all the facts…..


Gastric Bypass

The Rou-en-Y (RNY) Gastric bypass is a major, complex surgery where the stomach is detached from the large intestines, made into a small pouch and rerouted to the small intestines.  The other portion of the stomach is cut away but left inside the body.  Weight loss with the Gastric bypass is quick and can be achieved usually in the first six months to a year.  Some of the disadvantages of bypass surgery are malabsorption of vital nutrients making it a must to take supplements for the rest of your life.  Dumping syndrome can also happen if you eat sugar or carbs such as bread. Dumping syndrome refers to several symptoms that may occur following the surgical removal of some or all of the stomach. Symptoms, which are usually present after eating, range from nausea to diarrhea to fainting when food (especially sugar) moves too quickly through the stomach, it is “dumped” into the small intestine. The body has a difficult time handling this rapid “dumping” and responds by adding a large amount of fluid to the small intestine. This fluid is the cause of patient dumping symptoms.

The gastric bypass is not reversible as some may think which means once it is done, there is no turning back.  You will also not have any foreign objects in your body either.

Complications resulting from the bypass can be severe anemia, bleeding, death, or malnutrition.  This is a major life changing surgery and should not be taken lightly when deciding on this surgery.  People with a lot of weight to lose should opt for the bypass.

Statistics show that patients who have the gastric bypass have many more complications during and after surgery.




Gastric Banding or Lap-Band surgery

Gastric banding is a less invasive surgery where a silicone band is placed around the stomach creating a small pouch.  Adjustments to the Lap-Band are needed to slow the movement of food into the stomach, creating a fuller feeling for a longer period of time.  Disadvantages of the Lap-Band include, vitamin deficiency, slower weight loss, frequent visits to the doctor for adjustments, and if you’re not making healthy food choices; you will not lose weight.  Foods such as chocolate and ice cream can slip right through the Lap-Band so you must be committed to living a healthier lifestyle.  When food becomes stuck in the stoma the discomfort will be considerable, so chewing your food especially well and eating slowly is a must with the Lap-Band.  With any weight loss solution, exercise is also an important part of the process.  It can take up to two years to lose all the weight with the Lap-Band because it is a much slower process.

Complications from the procedure include: vitamin deficiency, hypoglycemia, band slippage, erosion, requiring it to be removed, and no weight loss.  The good part is that this procedure is reversible. People who choose the Lap-Band vs Gastric Bypass are ten times less likely to have complications during and after surgery, like infection or wound care issues.


Long term effects

After a two year study people who had the Lap-Band vs Gastric Bypass had lost just as much weight.  Another down fall of the bypass surgery is weight gain.  A lot of people who have had bypass surgery regain up to 50% of their weight when they stretch their stomach back to normal size.  Lap-Band patients have better success with keeping the weight off.


Ultimately the decision will be yours and as with any medical issues, your doctor or surgeon would help you make the best choice.  If you want a less invasive surgery with little side affects then you may want to choose the Lap-Band.  If you want quick weight loss due to severe medical problems then the bypass would be the ultimate choice.


As always consult your physician to see which the better choice is for you.

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