Gastric bypass vs lap band: pros & cons and results explained

Gastric bypass vs lap band is quite a comparison to have if you are considering weight loss surgery. Both surgeries are for losing weight and each one depends on how much you want to lose based on your overall health. Furthermore, you might not be a fit candidate for one type of surgery therefore you go for an alternative option. 

This article will brighten up the idea of which one would be more suitable for you when it comes to gastric bypass vs lap band comparison. As a general idea, they differ in terms of how much you can lose weight, the anatomy of each surgery, complications, and more. However, your case must be studied by your doctor and they will determine which one is best for you based on keeping you healthy. That will keep the success rate high and guarantee a fortunate and effective procedure.

What is the difference between a lap band and a gastric bypass?

RYGB is a rearrangement of the intestines and stomach put together, meanwhile, lap band operation consists of wrapping a device around the upper stomach. However, the difference between gastric bypass and gastric band has a wider comparison than this. There are many differences in techniques, excess weight loss journey, risk of complications, reversibility, and average cost.

What is the best weight loss surgery lap band or gastric bypass surgery? That depends on your personal case and that can be diagnosed after a visit to the doctor.

Understanding both procedures

Lap band surgery vs gastric bypass anatomically differs completely because there are different approaches and different techniques to perform the surgery. This table helps us understand both of the procedures and how they are surgically handled:

 Gastric bypass Lap band
Procedurestomach resize+ intestine bypassed upper stomach band
Enhancement ReversibleAdjustable
InvasivenessMore invasiveLess invasive
AVG weight lost60-70%30-50%

Whilst both bariatric surgeries are done laparoscopically in modern days, they differ in how the bariatric team approaches the stomach and intestines. The gastric bypass procedure involves making a small stomach pouch and a direct connection with the smaller intestines. The gastric band does not require any cutting in organs but only a band strapped around the upper portion of the stomach.

Due to gastric bypass complexity, the procedure is more invasive and requires a specialized yet recommended bariatric surgeon for safe outcomes. A lap band, on the other hand, doesn’t require any cutting other than the incisions around the belly. 

In case of improvement is required due to complications, the lap band can be tightened, loosened, or removed to help the patient have more adequate weight loss. Whereas gastric bypass surgery has a more complicated approach that requires reattaching intestines and stapling. Moreover, gastric bypass enhancement will require a hospital stay for recovery.

Effectiveness and weight loss compared

Generally, bariatric surgeries are made to find a solution for morbid obesity and develop healthier life, but they differ in terms of effectiveness. When it comes to gastric bypass vs lap band, bypass surgery has more affection for excess body weight loss than the adjustable band.

Studies show that lap-band patients can lose up to 50% of excess weight whereas gastric bypass patients can lose about 60-70% of it. This is due to how your body responds to food intake, digestion, and quality of absorption

The reason gastric bypass has more chance of losing weight is that your food intake is slower and your body absorbs fewer minerals fat and calories. So, which one is more suitable for you, gastric bypass or lap band? That depends on your weight and other issues. Effectiveness and weight loss compared between the two are technically similar in terms of the percentage of weight loss.

Let’s assume a person of 40 BMI with 125kg/275 pounds and underwent bariatric surgery, he/she would lose about 60-70% of their weight if they underwent RYGB. That makes approximately 70 to 100 pounds of excess weight lost. However, if they underwent a lap band procedure, they would lose 30-50% of their weight. That makes it approximately 35-65 pounds of excess weight loss.

Comparing the risks and complications

Gastric bypass and gastric lap band have different sets of complications due to their differences in surgical approach. 

Common risks and complications of both procedures:

  • Infections
  • Vomit & acid reflux

Risks and complications of gastric bypass:

  • Blood clots
  • Dumping syndrome
  • Poor nutrition
  • Gallstones
  • Hernias

Risks and complications of gastric lap band:

  • Slipping & band erosion
  • Gastric perforation
  • Band obstruction

Every weight surgery has its own risks and complications, some of them can be common among each other but the rate changes. However, technology and modern approaches, techniques, and quality of tools help to have better surgical outcomes. Yet you need to be determined to followthe post-op instructions to go through your recovery in the best way possible. That way you will avoid any potential complication and risk of any negativities.

Recovery time comparison: gastric bypass vs lap band

Generally, any type of bariatric surgery requires a certain amount of time to go back to a normal daily lifestyle. Recovery period of gastric bypass and band surgery includes diet plans, follow-up visits, and more.

This main difference is the hospital stay. Gastric lap band patients generally stay in the hospital for 2 to 3 days but in some cases, patients can leave on the same day. Whereas RYGB patients must stay in the hospital for a couple of days, or even a week if necessary.

Diet-wise, both types of surgery patients have similar periods of food stages from full liquid to solid food. In case you undergo lap band surgery, you can consume solid food after less period of time of recovery. However, the variety of diet stages is wider if you undergo RYGB surgery including supplements for a lifetime to maintain balance in vitamins and other essentials.

Regardless of the scale of invasiveness of both surgeries, each one needs to rest without extreme activity for a few weeks. However, if you wish to start working, it depends on your overall health and feeling fully recovered. You should also be monitored for the choice of exercises, you should start slow to avoid any pain or surgical complication.

Comparing their reversibility: convenience and safety

Both gastric bypass and gastric band surgeries are reversible but it is safer and more convenient when it comes to the less invasive surgery which is a lap band. Gastric bypass surgery is reversible in different cases, those cases are considered only if the situation is severe and not fixable with meds or a change of habit or lifestyle.

The most common and acute cases are chronic dumping syndrome, excessive weight loss, and postprandial hypoglycemia aka low blood sugar. However, your doctor would diagnose a reverse surgery if medication and changing lifestyle didn’t work in the first place. The revision surgery holds potential risks as much as the original one. 

The gastric band removal, on the other hand, is basically just removing the placed object around the upper stomach. Reversibility or lap band removal is minimally invasive and it could be due to band erosion and which is possible to happen at about 5%. 

Safety and convenience in these two bariatric surgery procedures, that relies on the experience of your surgeon, and the reasons behind the additional surgery.

Navigating the financial landscape

The cost of lap band vs the cost of gastric bypass varies in different countries. These two types of weight loss surgeries take place in cost depending on the techniques, surgeon experience, facility fees, and region. Here is a table that shows the prices of the surgery:

 Gastric lap band Gastric bypass 
United States8K-20K $20K-35K $
Canada12K-18K $18K-30K $
UK6.2K-10 $11.2K-18.5K $
Mexico4K-6K $7K-10K $
Turkey 5K-10K $ 7K-15k $

The cost-effectiveness of laparoscopic gastric banding and bypass for morbid obesity has a big gap due to surgical complexity. You might want to consider an insurance company to help you with the costs and it is possible to cover a fraction of the price. The quality of the insurance plays a role in how much it will cover your bills, also, make sure to read the terms and insurance policy to see if it covers bariatric procedures in general.

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