Gastric Sleeve Surgery vs. Lap-Band Surgery

Gastric Sleeve Surgery vs. Lap-Band Surgery

Obesity is a very serious chronic disease that has reached epidemic proportions whereby, in addition to about 35% of women and 31% of men being seriously overweight, did you know that 15% of children between the ages of six and 19 in the United States are also considered overweight for their age? People who are overweight have a much higher risk of developing serious psychological and health conditions, including type II diabetes, cancer, heart disease, sleep apnea, metabolic syndrome, bone and joint diseases, as well as depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, to mention a few.

The causes of obesity are diverse but so are the solutions. Individuals who are morbidly obese can now benefit from preventative measures such as Bariatric surgery, where not only are the risks are low, the rewards are high, and surgical techniques are being improved all the time.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Also known as sleeve gastrectomy, gastric sleeve surgery is a restrictive and irreversible procedure where a surgeon removes about 80% of the stomach along the greater curvature. The stomach is minimized to about 15% of its original size to leave a tube or sleeve-like structure that not only restricts the amount of food that can be consumed after the surgery, but it also promotes weight loss by changing the hormonal signals between your stomach, brain, and liver.

This surgery is also used as a weight loss intervention for the morbidly obese individuals as a way to get them to a suitable weight for other weight loss surgeries. Therefore, to qualify you must meet the following pre-operative requirements:

  • You must be between the age of 18 and 60, be classified as morbidly obese with a BMI of 40+
  • Have a BMI of 35+ with one or more comorbidities such as diabetes, sleep apnea, asthma, etc.
  • You must be physically and psychologically steady for surgery
  • Prove that you have unsuccessfully tried other weight loss methods

Lap-Band Surgery

Unlike gastric sleeve surgery, which is a permanent and irreversible procedure, lap band surgery is a reversible weight loss operation that involves placing an inflatable or an adjustable silicone band around the upper portion of the stomach just below the end of the esophagus. This band creates a new small stomach pouch that limits the amount of food you can take and it also slows down the emptying of food into the stomach and intestine, thus making you feel full quickly.

The surgery is done laparoscopically (a minimally invasive technique) and it takes less than two hours where patients can expect to resume work or normal activities within 2-4 weeks after the procedure. Even though it is a restrictive procedure, there is no bypass of the intestine, therefore, nutritional deficiencies are less likely to occur also the band around the stomach can be adjusted as needed to give patients the best possible weight loss outcome. A lap band fill must be performed around 6 to 8 weeks after the initial procedure. Lap band surgery is sometimes recommended for people with a BMI as low as 30, however, to qualify for this surgery you must:

  • Be over 18 years old with a BMI of 40+ or a 35-40+ BMI with obesity-related medical conditions such as type II diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, etc.
  • You a required to provide a history of failed weight loss attempts in the past using various conventional approaches
  • You must be willing to have a psychological assessment to assure that you are mentally and emotionally stable for the procedure
  • You must also demonstrate an understanding of the procedure and be prepared to adhere to the lifestyle changes needed to make this procedure successful
  • You must not be dependent on drugs or alcohol as each affects recovery
  • If you have a BMI higher than 50, you must adhere to a strict pre-operative diet and exercise regime to decrease your weight significantly before the procedure