Facts On Lap-band And Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy

By Catherine Howard

The number of weight loss surgical procedures being done in New York has continued to increase tremendously. Part of the reason for this is the fact that the techniques that are employed have been greatly improved and the procedure is now not only safe but also very effective. Lap-band and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy are two of the most commonly performed bariatric operations. It is important that one first tries out lifestyle changes before turning to surgery for weight loss.

These two surgeries are slightly different in the way in which they are done but their effect is the same; they all reduce the size of the stomach. As a result the amount of food that can be eaten during a single meal is markedly reduced. Most of what is consumed is used for energy provision and very little ends up as stored fat. Over time, there is net weight loss. The main difference that exists is that lap band is temporary (reversible) while gastrectomy is permanent.

Lap band surgery is usually conducted using a laparoscope. This is an instrument that makes it possible to enter the abdomen through minimal access. A silicon based band is placed on the upper section of the stomach such that it compresses the area and reduces the organ to a small pouch. Approximately one ounce of food can be held by the pouch after a single meal.

There are a number of side effects associated with this surgery. They include bleeding (usually minimal), vomiting, nausea and aversion to food. The compression force from the band can be increased or reduced to minimize the symptoms. This is can be achieved by injecting or withdrawing water from a plastic tubing attached to the band. When water is injected the compression increases and when it is withdrawn, it reduces.

In sleeve gastrectomy, surgical resection of the stomach helps to reduce it by as much as 80%. The resultant stomach takes the shape of a sleeve (hence the name). Due to the reduction in capacity there will be early satiety and generally a reduction in consumption of food. The other benefit of this transformation is the fact that transit time is greatly reduced and so is the absorption of nutrients.

The ideal body mass index, BMI, of a potential candidate should be more than 40. For persons that are already suffering from conditions believed to be caused or aggravated by excessive weight, a lower BMI is usually considered. Examples of these conditions include sleep apnea, esophageal reflux disease, hypertension and diabetes among others. Research has shown that surgery helps reduce the severity of these conditions.

There are a number of situations in which bariatric surgery is deemed inappropriate. One such situation is when there is a high risk of complications. Underlying hormonal problems such as hypothyroidism are among the reasons why the procedure may be cancelled or postponed until the problem has been managed. Other examples include gastrointestinal tract diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, peptic ulcers and esophagitis.

The operation is typically conducted as a day procedure meaning that you can leave the hospital on the same day. In a number of cases, there may be a need to remain in hospital for a day or two for observation. Once you are discharged, the doctor will prescribe a liquid diet for at least two weeks. Ensure that you adopt a healthy lifestyle after the operation so as to get optimal results.

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