Blog Posts

What are my weight-loss surgery options?

February 11, 2021

Are you ready to consider weight-loss surgery? There is plenty of research to comb through, so we’ve created a quick guide to help you understand your options before making your choice.

Gastric bypass

The Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (gastric bypass) procedure consists of two components, requiring cutting and rerouting of the organs and hundreds of staples. First, the top of the stomach is divided from the rest of the stomach, which creates a small stomach pouch. Then, the first portion of the small intestine is divided. The stomach pouch created in the first step is attached to the bottom end of the small intestine that was just divided. Finally, the remaining portion of the divided intestine is attached to a different portion of the small intestine. This means that stomach acids and digestive enzymes will eventually mix with ingested food.

After surgery, the stomach pouch is smaller, which means that smaller meals (and fewer calories) are consumed. Because one segment of the small intestine doesn’t have food going through it, it is presumed that overall, there is less calorie and nutrient absorption, requiring expensive supplements. Gut hormones change in response to the new food stream, which can promote the feeling of fullness and suppress appetite. These changes provide advantages such as long-term, significant weight loss, increased energy, and maintenance of weight loss.

Sleeve gastrectomy

The Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy, or “the sleeve,” removes 80% of the stomach. The remainder of the stomach is approximately the size of a banana. The procedure is irreversible and involves cutting and stapling the stomach. The smaller size of the stomach means it can hold much less, so food consumption is significantly limited. Gut hormones are also changed, which can induce feelings of fullness, curb appetite, and control blood sugar.

In the sleeve gastrectomy procedure, the intestines do not need to be rerouted, unlike with gastric bypass surgery. However, patients will experience a similar change to gut hormones, which can increase feelings of fullness and suppress appetite. The sleeve results in fairly quick and significant weight-loss. Patients must stay in the hospital to recover for approximately two days. Patients who undergo this surgery are at risk for malnutrition and require long-term supplements and vitamins to avoid possible deficiencies.

Lap-Band® (gastric banding)

The Lap-Band Procedure the safest of all bariatric procedures with the lowest complication and mortality rates. It is a much simpler procedure when compared to gastric bypass and the gastric sleeve. An inflatable band is placed around the upper portion of the stomach. The band creates another, smaller stomach above the band, while the stomach below remains intact. The smaller stomach allows the patient to feel fuller faster and to stay full longer. The band is easily adjusted by filling the band with sterile saline (injected through a port under the skin). This in turn adjusts the size of the stomach opening. This leads to weight-loss that is gradual and lasting. Unlike gastric bypass, food is digested and absorbed normally, so typically only a multivitamin is required. The band is both reversible and non-anatomy altering.  

Pros and cons

There are pros and cons to each bariatric procedure. Gastric bypass surgery and the gastric sleeve are much more complicated than the Lap-Band Procedure. A more complicated procedure requires a longer hospital stay, whereas the Lap-Band Procedure is performed in about one hour and patients can go home soon after. The Lap-Band is also the only procedure that is non-anatomy altering and can be reversed.

With gastric bypass surgery and the gastric sleeve, there is the risk for vitamin and mineral deficiencies, typically in vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and folate. Because the procedures aren’t reversible, patients may need to take supplements for the remainder of their lives.

To learn more about your options, talk to a Lap-Band Surgeon.


  • ASMBS Informed Consent for Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band
  • ASMBS Informed Consent for Informed Consent for Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
  • ASMBS Informed Consent for Laparoscopic Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

The Latest

Important Lap-Band® System Safety Information

The Lap-Band System is indicated for weight reduction for patients with obesity, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 40 kg/m2 or a BMI of at least 30 kg/m2 with one or more obesity-related comorbid conditions. It is indicated for use only in adult patients who have failed more conservative weight reduction alternatives, such as supervised diet, exercise and behavior modification programs. Patients who elect to have this surgery must make the commitment to accept significant changes in their eating habits for the rest of their lives.

The Lap-Band System is not recommended for non-adult patients (patients under 18 years of age), patients with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or increase the risk of poor results, who are unwilling or unable to comply with the required dietary restrictions, or who currently are or may be pregnant.

The Lap-Band System is a long-term implant. Explant and replacement surgery may be required. Patients who become pregnant or severely ill, or who require more extensive nutrition may require deflation of their bands. Anti-inflammatory agents, such as aspirin, should be used with caution and may contribute to an increased risk of band erosion.

Placement of the Lap-Band System is major surgery and, as with any surgery, death can occur. Possible complications include the risks associated with the medications and methods used during surgery, the risks associated with any surgical procedure, and the patient’s ability to tolerate a foreign object implanted in the body. Most common related adverse events include: Band slippage, pouch dilation, stoma obstruction, gastroesophageal reflux, esophageal dilation, cholelithiasis, incisional infection, abdominal pain, gastroenteritis, or nausea and vomiting may occur. Reoperation may be required. Rapid weight loss may result in complications that may require additional surgery. Deflation of the band may alleviate excessively rapid weight loss or esophageal dilation.

Important: For full safety information please click here or talk with your doctor.