Should You Switch from Gastric Band to Gastric Sleeve?

Posted by Patrick Domkowski on Thu, Jun 20, 2013

If you’ve had the lap band, suffered complications, and had to have it removed, you’re probably left with no surgery and doubts that you’ll be able to lose the weight. Not to worry, there are other weight loss surgery options available to you if your lap band needs to be removed, like converting from a gastric band to gastric sleeve. Going through surgery might not be something you want to think about again, but if it could potentially improve your health and reach a healthy BMI, it’s worth considering.

What’s the difference?

The laparoscopic adjustable gastric band is a surgically implanted silicone device placed on the upper portion of your stomach to create a small pouch. This smaller sized pouch can help you feel full after eating small amounts of food, serving as a weight loss aid.

The laparoscopic gastric sleeve takes a slightly different approach. To perform the operation, your surgeon will remove about 90% of your stomach, creating a sleeve shape. This smaller stomach size also allows you to eat less and still feel full.

While both options can be effective weight loss tools, individual patients can have different experiences. The lap band is known to have complications that could require removal. It can slip out of place, leading to discomfort, difficulty eating, eating too much, vomiting, and more. The band can also erode or even become infected.

Depending on the complication, your band may have to be removed. This is sometimes the case for moderate to severe lap band slips. When this happens, patients have to adjust to life without a working bariatric surgery. They may also have the option to switch to a lap sleeve or laparoscopic gastric bypass.

Lap Sleeve Benefits

  • Faster weight loss. Both surgeries are effective weight loss options, but they each have a different rate of weight loss. Lap Band patients typically lose 30-45% of their excess weight the first year, and up to 50% the second. The lap sleeve sees greater weight loss results sooner, with most patients losing about 70-80% of their excess weight two years after the surgery.

  • Removes hunger hormone. The lap band and lap sleeve each take a different approach to weight loss. One advantage patients get when they have a lap sleeve surgery is the removal of ghrelin--the hunger hormone. This hormone is removed, along with 80-90% of the stomach, allowing patients to feel less hungry.

  • Comorbidities improved. Amazingly, bariatric surgery not only helps patients lose weight, but it can also improve a variety of obesity related medical conditions. The type of bariatric surgery you have will partially determine how your conditions improve. Compared to the lap band, the lap sleeve often results in greater improvements in blood pressure, sleep apnea, and diabetes.

  • No adjustments needed. Unlike the lap sleeve, the lap band requires adjustments. With the lap band, your surgeon will add or subtract saline from the band in order to adjust the size of your pouch. While follow up is important with all types of bariatric surgery, there are no adjustments that require a needle puncture with the lap sleeve.

If your lap sleeve has failed and you’re looking into other bariatric surgery options, you should talk to your surgeon. While you may be able to convert from a gastric band to a gastric sleeve, or other bariatric surgery, only your bariatric surgeon can recommend which operation will best suit your specific situation. If you want to learn more about your bariatric conversion surgery options, schedule a consultation with one of the qualified bariatric surgeons at Riverside Surgical & Weight Loss Center today.

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Tags: Lap Band Complications

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