When it comes to weight loss surgery, there are quite a few choices. You may have heard of gastric band and bypass procedures. However there are many others such as sleeve which is fast becoming very popular. Also balloon, mini-gastric bypass, gastric plication to name a few others.
Is this too much to handle? Not really, because believe it or not for a single individual the choice is quite limited.
Let’s consider the balloon first. This is a space occupying liquid filled bag that sits in the stomach but is only licensed to be there for 6 months to 1 year. Effectively this means that for most patients seeking a long term weight solution it is not an option. The most common and certainly most popular procedures are band, sleeve and bypass. A lap band is the only option which is flexible (restriction can be varied by filling or de-filling the band) and reversible (the whole thing can be taken out reverting the anatomy to what it was originally).
There are a few variables to be considered when tailoring the operation to suit an individual. The first is a consideration of BMI. Generally if BMI is between 30-40, gastric band and gastric sleeve are good options, however at a BMI of 40 and above a sleeve or bypass is generally recommended. That is because there are two inversely related factors at play; one is the power of the operation and the second is the risk profile. Power refers to the degree and sustainability of weight loss which puts bypass top, the sleeve and band least. Whilst all these operations are now safer than having your gallbladder removed the risk of bypass for example is more than a band.
Dietary factors and preferences are also important. So consider someone who eats large portion sizes with second helpings, does not have a preference for sweets and would like to have periods of rest for certain events/holidays etc… who has a BMI of 36. Armed with the above information I’m sure you’ve figured it out already. A band would be the right choice.
Researching your operation and obtaining as much information as possible helps us surgeons help you!