If you’re trying to lose weight and a fitness routine and strict diet aren’t working then you might be considering weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, for the good of your health. If you’re morbidly obese (BMI of 40 or higher) and your weight is seriously starting to put you at risk of strokes, heart disease or some cancers then you may have been recommended a gastric bypass or gastric banding. Here we’ll look at the differences between the two procedures to give you a more informed choice about these surgeries. However, you must always consider any advice with a properly trained physician before considering procedures.
Having gastric banding, or lap band, surgery works by placing a band around your stomach and tightening it, thus reducing the overall volume of food your stomach can take and reducing your need for food, helping you lose weight. The band is adjustable so can be put on loose initially and then adjusted (by inflating the band) as you lose weight. Gastric bypass surgery on the other hand splits your stomach into 2 pouches, both connected to your intestines, and you fill up your upper, smaller pouch so it feels like you’ve got less of a stomach and thus need less food.
The main similarities are that both operations are carried out by laparoscopy, which means that small incisions are made around the abdomen and the surgery is performed from there, meaning reduced pain and a faster recovery for the patient. It also means that both lap band surgery and gastric bypass surgery can be performed on morbidly obese patients.
Generally, lap band surgery is preferred to gastric bypass surgery because the procedure is less time-consuming (and results in a shorter stay in hospital), it is reversible (the band can be removed), less risk of complications in the surgery, and the band can be adjusted over time. However, gastric bypass is much more long term and effective than gastric banding – you should see a more extreme effect on your weight and you won’t be required to visit the hospital as much as with gastric banding surgery. However, you should also take gastric bypass and lap band surgery costs into consideration because they might not always be covered by the NHS.
To conclude, you have to weigh up whether you want a shorter and less risky procedure that might be less effective in the long run, or take more of a risk for a higher return. Your doctor will be able to help talk this through with you and find the best option for you.
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