For the right candidate, bariatric surgery can be a life-changing and life-enhancing experience. But, there are a number of procedures available, so how do you know which one is right for you? In this blog, we’ll take a look at two of the most effective surgeries for weight loss: sleeve gastrectomy and adjustable gastric banding (also known by the brand name LAP-BAND®).
The sleeve gastrectomy is a laparoscopic procedure, meaning surgeons use small incisions, small instruments and a flexible camera called a laparoscope that’s attached to a video monitor to perform the procedure. Surgeons remove some 80 to 85 percent of the stomach. The result is feeling fuller with less food, leading to less calorie intake and, ultimately, weight loss. The procedure may also cause favorable hormone changes that help the person lose weight.
Adjustable Gastric Banding
This procedure can also be done laparoscopically. The surgeon places a silicone band around the top of the stomach. This creates a small pocket that effectively reduces the size of the stomach, causing people to eat less and lose weight. After surgeons put the band in, it can be adjusted to increase or decrease the size of the stomach pouch. This is done through a port—located on the abdomen outside of the person’s body—that the surgeon uses to add or remove saline, which loosens or tightens the band.
Who Are Candidates for Each Procedure?
Most of the time, when someone qualifies for bariatric surgery the procedure comes down to personal choice, especially in the case of sleeve gastrectomy and adjustable gastric banding. For either procedure, candidates have either:
- A body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater
- A BMI of 35 or greater, plus at least one obesity-related health complication such as type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis or obstructive sleep apnea
Candidates for surgery have also tried diet, exercise and lifestyle changes without being able to keep weight off in the long term.
Advantages vs. Disadvantages
Both the sleeve gastrectomy and adjustable gastric banding procedures are restrictive, meaning they work because they restrict the amount of food a patient can comfortably eat. Eating fewer calories leads to weight loss. Though it has fallen out of favor in the last few years, the adjustable gastric band is still a viable procedure for the right candidate. Because it’s adjustable, surgeons can dial in the right amount of food restriction for your situation. It is also one of the few bariatric procedures that are reversible, and one of the least invasive. However, the sleeve gastrectomy procedure has a number of advantages over adjustable gastric banding. To start, removing most of the stomach has the advantage of potentially removing cells that produce a hormone called ghrelin, which stimulates hunger. A number of other hormones, including some that produce a feeling of fullness, have also been shown to increase after a sleeve gastrectomy. Just as sleeve gastrectomy has a number of advantages over gastric banding, gastric banding comes with a number of disadvantages not found in a sleeve gastrectomy. Band slippage—where the band moves out of position—and band migration, where the band damages to the stomach lining, are both potential problems. In addition, the port—the site at which the surgeon adjusts the band—can leak or become infected, and gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) can occur.
About Advanced Surgeons
Advanced Surgeons is made up of some of the pioneers in weight-loss procedures. With decades of combined experience among them, the surgeons and staff ensure the highest quality compassionate care coupled while using only the latest advancements in tools and techniques in the industry. If you’re still curious about the differences between sleeve gastrectomy and adjustable gastric banding, or if you’re ready to take the next step on your weight loss journey and schedule a consultation, contact us today.