Three types of bariatric surgery are available to patients in need of extreme weight loss.
Most often, a gastric band will be fitted. But what are the other alternatives? Could bypass surgery or a sleeve gastrectomy be the answer?
The benefits of gastric bands
Few procedures have quite such a dramatic impact on obesity as gastric bands. In a 45-minute, fully-reversible operation, you can be fitted with something that a 2007 Obesity Surgery study found to reduce the risk of premature death in obese patients by 60%.
Among other benefits, this procedure has also been shown to reduce Type II diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma, reflux, and liver disease symptoms.
However, as with all surgeries, having a gastric band fitted comes with small but not insignificant risks.
Why do gastric bands sometimes fail?
Some of the most common issues for gastric band patients could include:
The gastric band slipping out of position, which can potentially lead to symptoms including heartburn, vomiting, and nausea.
Not losing the required amount of excess weight, often due to a patient’s failure to change the food and drink they consume or the energy they burn.
What are the best alternatives to gastric bands?
If a gastric band fails to help a patient lose weight at the required rate, both the patient and their doctors may look at alternative methods to help secure a healthier future.
There are two main surgical alternatives to gastric bands:
1. Gastric bypass, where staples are used to create a small pouch at the top of your stomach that is connected to your small intestine. This procedure means that patients will feel full quicker, consequently eating less food and consuming fewer calories than they used to.
2. Sleeve gastrectomy, which involves removing a significant section of the stomach, preventing the patient from eating as much as they did before the operation simply due to no longer having the physical capacity to do so.
What are the benefits of bypass surgery or a sleeve gastrectomy?
According to the NHS, most patients will normally “lose weight more quickly after a gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy than after gastric banding”.
A gastric bypass typically reduces the size of the available stomach volume by 95% – meaning it only takes a very small amount of food to leave you feeling full. So no more late-night gorges!
The procedure has also been shown to regularly reduce ghrelin levels, the hormone that drives your appetite, as well as impact your food preferences, making unhealthy foods less attractive to you than before.
A sleeve gastrectomy normally has similar results to bypass surgery, effectively suppressing your appetite and changing the foods you want to eat.
What is conversion surgery?
Conversion surgery involves swapping a gastric band for a gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy. The gastric band is removed completely and the bypass or gastrectomy is then completed immediately afterwards. The procedure normally takes two to three hours and can help to alleviate symptoms such as vomiting and pain.
If you decide you’d like to explore the possibility of conversion surgery, talk to our experienced and friendly team at The Hospital Group and book your free weight loss surgery consultation today!
It’s important to remember that both a bypass or a gastrectomy are only effective if combined with dietary, exercise and lifestyle changes. But if you are prepared to maintain a healthier, more active life, conversion surgery could be the answer to your weight loss problems