Deciding between Gastric Sleeve or Lap Band Surgery? Read this first.

by | Sep 14, 2020

Narrowing down your search for the most appropriate weight loss surgery for your situation, you may end up trying to decide between gastric sleeve or lap band surgery. These are among the some of the options offered within bariatric surgery, with a goal to help patients effectively lose excess weight over the long term. Over recent years, surgeons are generally opting to avoid lap band surgery, with some boycotting the procedure all together. There are a number of important distinctions to make between gastric sleeve and lap band surgery, with each of them carrying their own pros and cons. Furthermore, not all patients may be suitable for one or the other, and it is always important to have a thorough assessment by a specialist who can help discuss the options with you.

This article from Perth Bariatric Surgery is aimed at addressing some of the differences between the two surgeries, before explaining why gastric sleeve surgery is usually the safer choice to pursue.

What is gastric sleeve surgery?

Gastric sleeve surgery is one of the most commonly utilised bariatric surgeries for excess weight loss. This surgery involves the surgeon removing around 75% of the stomach, leaving what is often referred to as a small “sleeve”, connecting to the intestines. As a result, the surgery reduces the amount of food that the stomach can hold, leading to patients feeling more full quickly. This also helps to reduce appetite, and controlling blood sugar levels over time.

Is lap band surgery dangerous?

Before the rise to prominence of gastric sleeve surgery, lap band surgery was one of the main bariatric surgery that surgeons opted for. Lap band surgery involves the placing of a small band on the stomach, creating two different sized sections. The smaller upper section is connected to the larger lower section by a small channel, with the goal of allowing a slower process of moving food from one section to the other.

There are a number of complications that can occur with lap band surgery, which makes it a less desirable choice between the two surgeries discussed here. People often have cases of vomiting after the surgery, after eating too much and not being used to the band creating the smaller pouch in their stomach. Some research has highlighted the fact that lap band surgery can cause a perforation in the gastro-intestinal tract, leading to fluids from your digestive tract leaking into your abdomen.

In some circumstances, the band may in fact slip out of place or become too loose, affecting the efficacy of the surgery. There is also the risk of infection that comes with any surgical procedure.

What is the difference between gastric sleeve surgery and lap band surgery?

One of the main differences between gastric sleeve surgery and lap band surgery is that gastric sleeve is an irreversible procedure, whereas you can have the band removed from your stomach after lap band surgery. In gastric sleeve surgery, the surgeon removes part of the stomach, and in lap band surgery there is no removal or stapling of the stomach. However, removing the lap band is often a very complicated procedure, as the stomach can grow over and around the band and be difficult to disentangle.

Lap band surgery typically doesn’t result in dramatic weight loss, with some patients even putting on weight over time. Although gastric sleeve surgery is a more intrusive procedure, it does lead to more superior weight loss results in the first year to 18 months after surgery.

Gastric sleeve surgery is also more suitable for patients who are suffering from other obesity-related medical conditions.

Why gastric sleeve surgery is a safe choice

Although in some rare circumstances, lap band surgery may be the more suitable option for a patient, gastric sleeve surgery is generally the more effective and appropriate choice for weight loss. With the advancements in surgery and despite standard surgical risk, the gastric sleeve procedure is a safe procedure. The time under anaesthesia is generally short with relatively rapid recovery time over the following weeks. Your body can also benefit from some of the more favourable changes in your gut hormones. Patients report a reduction in appetite making gastric sleeve surgery a safe and effective option for many people.

If you are looking at undergoing gastric sleeve surgery in Perth, please contact the helpful and caring team at Perth Bariatric Surgery today, so we can book you in for an assessment to see if this may be a suitable option for your weight situation.

Dr. Andrew Kiyingi

Dr. Andrew Kiyingi

With 16+ year’s clinical experience, Dr Andrew Kiyingi is a specialist weight-loss surgeon at Perth Bariatric Surgery with advanced training in minimally invasive surgery. Graduated from the University of Otago (NZ), he was awarded with University Gold Medal in General Practice and Distinction in Surgery. He is also a Surgical Trainer for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.