Obesity and weight issues are rising medical problems in the United States. There are many detrimental health effects of obesity. Individuals with a Body Mass Index that exceeds a healthy range run a much greater risk of medical problems. And while diet, exercise, behavior therapy and anti-obesity drugs are first-line treatment, the newest, and one of the most successful treatments today, is gastric sleeve surgery (also called gastric bypass surgery).
Gastric bypass surgery now accounts for more than 80% off all weight loss surgeries in the United States. The bariatric surgeons divide the stomach into a large portion, and a much smaller one, the smaller part of the stomach is sewn or stapled together to make a pouch, which can hold only a cup or so of food. With such a small stomach, or “sleeve,” people feel fuller quicker and, therefore, eat less. This gastric sleeve surgery is also called “restrictive,” since the new stomach size restricts how much food it can hold.This is considered a typical gastric bypass procedure.
After gastric sleeve surgery, people typically stay in the hospital for two to three days and are able to return to normal activities within two to three weeks. Only about ten percent of people have complications, which are usually minor and can include:
- Wound infections
- Digestive problems
Another option is the gastric lap band, the least invasive and second most common weight loss surgery in the United States. The gastric lap band accounts for about fifteen to twenty percent of all weight loss surgery. In gastric lap band surgery, bariatric surgeons place a silicone ring around the upper stomach, restricting the amount of food the patient is able to intake. The bariatric surgeon can adjust the ring’s tightness or looseness, by injecting or extracting saline through the skin to fill up or loosen the band. This fine-tunes the exact size of the patient’s stomach. For example, if a too-tight stomach is causing side effects (typical side effects are nausea and vomiting, which can often be reduced by adjusting the tightness of the band, and minor surgical complications, such as problems with the adjustment device, wound infections, or minor bleeding, but occur less than 10% of the time) the bands can be loosened, just as tightening the bands can shrink the stomach.
It does usually result in less weight loss than the more thorough gastric sleeve surgery, but unlike gastric sleeve surgery, gastric banding does not interfere with food absorption. For this reason, vitamin deficiencies are rare after gastric banding.
Both are excellent options for radical loss, but before making a decision as to which is best for you, it would behoove you to speak to a weight loss surgery specialist.