There are major differences between the two forms of weight loss surgery. Your doctor can help you decide which of the two, or if a combination of both, are better for your situation. Here are some of the major differences:

Gastric bypass surgery causes you to lose weight by malabsorption of the nutrients and calories you eat by reducing the size of your stomach and bypassing a major portion of your small intestine.

Lap banding surgery causes you to lose weight because your stomach is banded, divided into two sections, and the smaller, upper section can only hold a small amount of food. The narrow channel between the two sections of your stomach also causes the food to pass slowly into the lower section, causing the feeling of fullness to last longer.

The most common surgical method used for gastric bypass is major, open surgery, through an approximately 5" slit in the stomach. However, more and more doctors are gaining enough experience to now perform this procedure laparoscopally. A 3 - 5 day hospital stay is required.

Lap banding surgery is performed laparoscopally using three to five 1/2"-2" slits and is the least invasive of the procedures. This surgery lasts about 1 hour and there is no cutting or reconnecting of the stomach or small intestine. An overnight stay in the hospital is usually all that is required and the patient can be released after 24 hours.

Gastric bypass surgery is not reversible but lap band surgery is reversible and adjustable as the situation warrants.

The recovery period with gastric bypass surgery is a full six weeks. With lap band surgery, a person feels OK after two to three weeks and full recovery is obtained after six weeks.
The weight loss result between the two procedures is approximately the same - 50-65% of the weight is lost during the first two years following the procedure.

Because gastric bypass surgery restricts the nutrients and calories the body can absorb, it is very important to take supplements as prescribed by your physician. Supplements after the lap band surgery aren't necessary, but are highly recommended.

Gall stone formation can be a problem after a gastric bypass, but there is medication that can be prescribed to prevent this side effect.

With lap band surgery it is very important to eat an adequate amount of protein, between 50-50 grams per day. Without adequate protein, hair loss, muscle cramps, fatigue and edema are some of the undesirable side effects that can occur.

This is just a brief overview of the differences and similarities between the two methods of weight loss surgery. Other methods combine the two. Only you and your doctor can decide which procedure, or combination of procedures, is right for you.

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