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What is the Difference between Gastric Bypass Surgery and Lap Band Surgery?

Mar 2, 2008
There are two different types of weight loss surgery. Those surgeries are Lap Band surgery and gastric bypass surgery. These are two of the most exciting medical advancements when it comes to the treatment of obesity and both are rather safe procedures. However, for those wishing to undergo weight loss surgery, it is important to know the differences between both the Lap Band surgery and gastric bypass surgery.

Gastric bypass

In gastric bypass, doctors staple the stomach to form the pouch that Lap Band uses a ring to do. The doctors then take a section of the intestines and attach them to the pouch, which means the remainder of the intestines and the stomach are being bypassed. In all actuality, the stomach and intestines are no longer part of the digestive tract. What results, just as in Lap Band, is a stomach that can only hold a small portion of food. This allows the patient to feel full quicker and also results in the absorption of fewer calories.

Lap Band

Lap Band involves an inflatable ring being placed around the top of the stomach, which makes it adjustable. What the ring does is reduce the patient's appetite and initiates the weight loss process by closing off part of the stomach and making a small pouch that can only hold about 30 ml of food. This results in the patient eating less because that is all their stomach can hold.

This procedure is minimally invasive because it is done laparoscopically. That means there is no stapling and no cutting involved and the intestinal tract is not compromised as it is in gastric bypass. The feeling of fullness that is achieved with the lap band is similar to that of gastric bypass, but it is the small inflatable ring that is responsible rather than stapling of the stomach.

However, the Lap Band actually slows the digestion process, especially when the band is adjusted through the injection of a liquid solution such as saline that is injected into a port that is placed under the skin subcutaneously. The patient knows what is comfortable to them and it may take several adjustments before the patient is comfortable with the adjustment of their Lap Band.

More key differences

There are other differences between the two aside from how the procedures are done. Recovery times are different. Gastric bypass patients are able to return home in 2 to 3 days after having the surgery. However, Lap Band patients can usually go home the same day the procedure was performed. It will take gastric bypass patients 2 to 3 weeks to return to normal activities, whereas, Lap Band patients can complete recovery in 1 to 2 weeks.

Even the weight loss is experienced differently. Those who have gastric bypass experience weight loss rapidly at first, but there is no way to be sure that the weight will stay off in the long-term like with the Lap Band. The Lap Band can be adjusted to ensure the stomach only holds so much food and it also has a lesser likelihood that nutritional deficiencies will result because there is no re-routing of the intestinal tract.

The weight loss from Lap band is gradual and it is a healthy weight loss, which is effective in preventing malnutrition. The average weight loss is around 1 to 2 pounds per week, but the gastric bypass patient will lose weight a bit faster. In this case, they do need to stay up on taking supplements and meet other various dietary requirements in order to avoid malnutrition.

There is also a side effect of gastric bypass called dumping syndrome, which is when the undigested food moves into the small intestine too quickly. This can result in cramps, diarrhea, a rapid heartbeat, and a cold sweat. However, when these things occur, there is nothing that can be done in regards to reversing the surgery. The Lap Band is reversible in it can be removed and the stomach returns to its natural state.
About the Author
The adjustable lap band is the ideal tool to help fight obesity. Lap band is the only reversible weight loss surgery.
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