Okay, so you've learned a bit more about gastric bypass and you aren't sold yet. Good for you! Gastric bypass may be the most common bariatric surgery, but it isn't for everyone. After weighing all of your options, I know you'll make the best decision that gets you closer to that new, healthier, slimmer you! To aid in your decision-making around weight-loss surgery options, I'm sharing the cheat sheet on the adjustable gastric band that I used when deciding which surgery was the right one for me.
Name of surgery: Adjustable Gastric Band, aka REALIZE Band, LAP-BAND
Medical criteria: Similar to gastric bypass. BMI of 40 or more where diet, exercise and medicine have been unsuccessful or BMI of 30 or more with a comorbid condition such as Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, or asthma; Extensive screening process that will evaluate your psychological status (depression, sexual abuse, eating disorders, etc.) which will not disqualify you from your bariatric surgery, but it may postpone it. Remember, they are setting you up for success, so they will want to address any underlying demons that may interfere with your healthy lifestyle after your surgery. They will also review your medical history looking for risk factors that could make surgery unsafe for you (such as blood clots, heart conditions, liver disease) and have you undergo a physical exam and lab work.
Be aware that after you have been approved for gastric banding you will need to make certain lifestyle changes before your surgery. This may include losing weight, diet and fluid restriction, smoking cessation, counseling to prepare you for your post-surgery life and perhaps beginning an exercise regimen.
How it works: Technically, there are two different forms of gastric banding, but whereas vertical banded gastroplasty has fallen out of favor due to less weight-loss and more complications, I won't delve into detail on that option. Only approximately 5% of surgeons even perform this type of gastric banding today.
Laproscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding (AGB) is the second most common bariatric surgery and is the least invasive; gastric bypass is the most common weight-loss surgery and is more invasive than AGB. AGB decreases the size of the stomach by using a silicone band to portion off a part of the stomach, called the pouch, so that it only can hold one ounce of food. A one inch wide opening is left at the bottom of the pouch so bypass is not necessary to reach the intestines. The silicone band can be adjusted via a plastic tube that runs from the band to just below the skin's surface. Saline is injected by the bariatric surgeon to make the band tighter and saline can be removed to loosen the band, as well. Banding works the same as bypass to make you feel full faster due to the smaller stomach, however it does not interfere with food absorption like bypass does, so vitamin deficiency is not as much of a concern with banding as it is with bypass.