When you are considering having a bariatric procedure to lose weight, it can be difficult to decide among the different procedures. Lap Band often ranks highly on the list of preferred surgeries since it has several advantages over other procedures.
Lap Band is not considered a permanent bariatric procedure, although you should go into the procedure as though it were a permanent change. The lack of permanency can make some people more comfortable with having the procedure over gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, or duodenal switch. Unlike these other procedures which involves permanently altering the stomach and sometimes the intestines, the Lap Band only involves placing a flexible band over the upper portion of the stomach. If for some reason you want to have the procedure reversed in the future, the band only needs to be removed laparoscopically.
After having the Lap Band, you will have adjustments of the band. A small needle is inserted through the skin and into a port located just under the skin. Saline is injected into the port which creates more restriction, helping you to eat less. As you become adjusted to having the band, you may feel like you can eat more than you should, and during these times you simply go back to your doctor to have the band adjusted. There may be other instances where you want the band adjusted to allow you to eat more. Women who are pregnant may need less restriction throughout their pregnancy to consume enough nutrients. They can have saline removed from the band temporarily and resume their normal amount of restriction after having the baby or following breastfeeding, if necessary.
Fewer Side Effects
There are some types of side effects from bariatric procedures that can be common among procedures that permanently alter the gastrointestinal system. Since there is no manipulation of the stomach or intestines, these side effects are either minimal risk or cannot occur. For example, people who have gastric bypass or duodenal switch may experience "dumping syndrome," which can occur after eating sugar or certain types of carbohydrates. This occurs mostly because of bypassing part of the intestines. Another concern with surgeries that alter the gastrointestinal system is higher incidence of GERD or ulcers. This is generally not the case with Lap Band.
Lap Band has several advantages over other bariatric procedures, mainly because it is less invasive and not permanent. If you are on the fence about what procedure to choose, think carefully about all the advantages Lap Band has to offer.