In recent years obesity surgery, including gastric band and gastric bypass surgery, has helped hundreds of thousands of people end their battle against obesity. Gastric band and gastric bypass are both surgical operations, and like any surgery, they come with both advantages and disadvantages.
Following is some information regarding the benefits and risks, but your surgeon or doctor is always the best person to discuss this information with. If you are considering surgery for obesity, make an appointment to speak with him today to understand the available procedures.
Gastric Band Advantages
Generally, the surgery is done laparoscopically, a minimally invasive technique using very small incisions to prevent scarring. The surgery normally takes about an hour and a half to complete. Because it is minimally invasive, the surgery oftentimes has a minimal hospital stay and is often completed on an outpatient basis or with just one night of hospital stay.
There are fewer risks and side effects than other more invasive surgeries. Studies have shown a 10 times lower short-term mortality rate than with similar gastric bypass surgery, with the risk of death at .1%. The surgery does not require the cutting, stapling or rerouting of the intestines, and also does not create a heightened risk of nutritional deficiencies as some other surgeries do.
The gastric band is adjustable, but much of the care and adjustments can simply be made in your physician’s office. Designed for long-term use, the band can also be removed easily if need be.
Gastric Bypass Advantages
This is considered the most effective method of weight loss and maintenance (of the surgical methods available) and is the most frequently performed surgery for obesity. It has been shown to help morbidly obese individuals lose up to 80% of their excess body weight.
The surgery has been shown to improve or resolve 96% of obesity-related health conditions in patients, including back pain, sleep apnea and depression. The procedure reduces the functional portion of the stomach, leaving a patient feeling full after only eating a small portion of food (helping to curb excessive eating).
Disadvantages to Surgery for Obesity
Many people think that surgery for obesity is the easy way out. However, either operation requires strict discipline to both eating and exercise to not fail. The surgery is just a tool to help you lose weight, not a solution. Changes must be made to your diet and stuck to in order to have the results that you desire.
Gastric Band Disadvantages
Weight loss for gastric band surgery is typically slower than other procedures, generally with patients losing 5 to 10 pounds monthly. It has been proven very successful for many patients, but not without much hard work and perseverance. Gastric banding requires a lot of change in diet and exercise patterns to have success over the long term.
Gastric Bypass Disadvantages
Being a more invasive surgery, gastric bypass has a greater risk. Research has shown that 1 in every 300 patients undergoing gastric bypass surgery die as a result. However, weighing this against your risk of death due to being morbidly obese, doing nothing is a higher risk. Other associated risks include:
- blood clots
- pulmonary embolism
- bowel obstruction
- wound infections
- nutritional deficiencies
If you are morbidly obese, talk to your doctor about your options so that you can get on your way to living a healthier life.