3 Options for Weight Loss Surgery

 Author: S. Bledsoe, M.D.

In 2008, almost 220,000 bariatric procedures were performed in the United States and Canada alone.  With over 70 million Americans being considered obese, it is expected that the number of procedures will continue to rise as it has for the past several years.  Of course, there are a number of reasons why people are increasingly turning toward weight loss surgery.  One of those reasons is the options that are available to patients today.  The three most common procedures performed are the laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, and the laparoscopic adjustable gastric band.


The laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGB) is the weight loss procedure that all other procedures are compared against and is currently the most common weight loss procedure performed.  The stomach is reduced to the size of a golf ball which limits the amount of food a person can eat.  In addition, a portion of the small intestine is bypassed, so many of the calories eaten are not absorbed into the blood stream.  Weight loss results are outstanding with this procedure.  Many diseases, including diabetes and high blood pressure, can be cured.  Since the LRYGB is the most complex of the three, it has a slightly higher complication rate than the other procedures.


            The adjustable gastric band (LAGB) is a very common procedure in the United States.  A band with an inflatable balloon is placed around the top of the stomach.  This balloon can be inflated or deflated by accessing a port that is placed under the skin.  When the band is inflated, the patient will not be able to eat as much food.  Weight loss is very good with this procedure.  The LAGB is potentially reversible and is also the safest of the procedures. 


The laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) is the newest procedure available and is a very exciting development in the field of Bariatric Surgery.  Most of the stomach is removed leaving behind a “sleeve” of stomach that dramatically reduces the amount of food that can be eaten.  Weight loss results are excellent and resolution of many other diseases is expected.  While long-term data is still pending, it appears to be a middle-ground between the safety of the LAGB and the superior results of the LRYGB.


            The final decision on which procedure is right for an individual should be based on patient preference and in consultation with a qualified Bariatric Surgeon.  Certain diseases respond better to certain procedures.  All procedures have a small but present complication rate that must be considered.  In this way, your procedure can be tailored for your medical needs and personal desires. 


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2 Responses to 3 Options for Weight Loss Surgery

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  2. S Bledsoe says:

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