Comparison between gastric band and gastric bypass

These are both excellent procedures for the treatment of excessive weight gain. They are safe and effective and have proved to be a lifeline for many patients.

As with any form of surgery there are positives and negatives of these procedures but are definitely preferable when compared to the risks of obesity-related illnesses such as cancer or stroke.

Everyone is an individual when it comes to healthcare, and obesity surgery is no different. What works well for one person might not suit another. A great many factors are taken into consideration when deciding upon an individual person’s fitness for surgery and at the end of the day it comes down to what’s right for you and your surgeon.

Gastric bypass is an option for those patients who are not recommended to have gastric banding and vice versa. There are benefits and risks with both procedures and it is down to you to decide.

Gastric banding is preferred to gastric bypass for the following reasons:

  • Less time-consuming procedure (which means less risk).
  • Reversible. If you change your mind or decide to have another type of obesity procedure then this can be undone.
  • Less risk of complications as compared to gastric bypass.
  • No need for daily nutritional supplementation.
  • Short stay in hospital. Can even be done as a day case.
  • Adjustable band. This means it can be altered to your requirements.
  • Recovery is quicker than that for gastric bypass.
  • It is a cheaper procedure than gastric bypass.

However, there are situations in which gastric bypass is proposed instead of gastric banding. Gastric bypass is a tried and tested procedure which a much longer proven history than gastric banding. It is performed by surgeons all over the world, many of who see this is their favourite obesity procedure.

One of the big advantages of the bypass is that a greater amount of weight is lost than from the gastric band. Patients are looking at, on average, at 60-70% in the first year after surgery.

Other benefits as compared to the gastric band are:

  • Greater effect on obesity-related conditions such as Type 2 diabetes. In many cases, this is resolved by gastric bypass surgery.
  • Less aftercare needed. You do not have to attend the hospital or clinic for regular adjustments or fills. However, you will still be expected to attend the aftercare programme on a regular basis. This is for general check ups as well as monitoring your diet and exercise routine.

Basically, the downsides of gastric bypass as compared to the band are: it is a more technically demanding and complex procedure so there is a greater chance of complications: you will need to take regular dietary supplements, probably for the rest of your life: it cannot be reversed: you will have a longer stay in hospital (3 nights at least) and your recovery time will take much longer. You may be looking at up to 6 weeks before you are fully recovered.

When you think about it gastric bypass involves major surgery on the stomach and intestine. This requires the services of a highly skilled surgeon who is used to dealing with this amount of complexity. This surgery affects one of the major processes of the digestive system: that of the absorption of food. Plus, the normal journey of food through this system is also affected as it bypasses the top of the small intestine and only rejoins the other functions of the digestive system further down the small intestine.

However, gastric banding only involves some relatively minor alteration to the stomach. The flow of food is restricted but is not drastically altered and everything else functions as normal.

Gastric Band Surgery Guide sections

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