The Difference Between Lap Band, Gastric Sleeve, and Gastric Balloon Weight Loss Surgery

Weight Loss Surgery

For some people, weight loss or bariatric surgery is their last option when it comes to losing weight. Candidates for such surgery are over 100 pounds over their ideal weight or their excess weight is injuring their health because of such weight-related diseases as diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnea. Yet, they can’t seem to lose the pounds through diet or exercise.

There are several types of weight loss surgery. They include:

Lap Band

In this type of bariatric surgery, the surgeon inserts a silicone band around the top of the stomach. This is done laparoscopically, with miniaturized surgical tools and a miniaturized camera connected to a monitor that guides the procedure. The band is able to be adjusted through a port in the patient’s abdomen.

The purpose of the lap band is to create a small pouch. When the pouch is full, the patient feels satiated, even though they have eaten much less than their entire stomach would hold. The food then slowly enters the rest of the stomach and is digested in the normal way.

Gastric Balloon Surgery

In this surgery, a balloon filled with saline solution is placed in the person’s stomach. This also causes the person to feel satiated before the stomach is truly full. This treatment does not require even the minimal surgical incisions of a laparoscopy, for the balloon is placed into the stomach via an endoscope. An endoscope is a long, flexible tube that is threaded down the patient’s throat into the stomach.

Once installed, the balloon is inflated. However, the gastric balloon is only used for six months. After that time, it is deflated and removed, again by endoscopy. In the interval between its insertion and removal, patients lost an average of 22 pounds and only regained a few pounds after the balloon was removed. Gastric balloon surgery is especially successful for patients who exercised and learned to eat the right foods in the right amounts.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

This surgery is also performed laparoscopically, but the doctor reduces the size of the stomach by about 70 percent, which leaves it in the shape of a banana or a sleeve. This cuts down on the amount of food the stomach can hold, but unlike the lap band surgery and the gastric ball procedure, it is not reversible.

Gastric sleeve surgery, or sleeve gastrectomy, also reduces the levels of hormones that make a person hungry. Gastric sleeve weight loss surgery is the most popular type of weight loss surgery, and is best for people who cannot tolerate other types of weight loss surgery. According to studies, a person can lose 72.4% of their BMI in 24 months.

These bariatric surgeries are all successful in helping patients lose weight, and have a low risk of complications.