The efficacy of weight-loss surgery
According to Lloyd Stegemann, MD, FASMBS of the Obesity Action Coalition, weight-loss surgery is most effective when it’s performed by an experienced, competent bariatric surgeon, is offered in conjunction with an aftercare program that focuses on healthy lifestyle changes, and when the patient is willing to commit to those healthy lifestyle changes indefinitely following surgery.
When choosing a weight-loss surgery procedure, it’s important to keep in mind that one surgery isn’t necessarily better than the others at helping you lose weight; it’s ultimately up to you to use bariatric surgery as a tool for weight loss.
Below are various factors to take into consideration when choosing a weight-loss surgery.
Expected amount of weight loss
In most cases, your bariatric surgeon can help you determine which weight-loss surgery might work best for you based on your current lifestyle and health. For instance, if you’re a woman who plans on becoming pregnant in the future, you might consider adjustable gastric banding with the LAP-BAND or REALIZE Band. During pregnancy, your bariatric surgeon can deflate the band as needed to help make room for a growing baby.
Generally, studies show that gastric bypass surgery is most effective for patients considered severely or morbidly obese, since gastric bypass patients go on to lose about 70 percent of their excess weight. Gastric sleeve (sleeve gastrectomy) patients tend to lose about 60 percent of their excess weight, and adjustable gastric banding patients lose an average of 50 percent.
The speed of weight loss
After already having tried to lose weight for years through diet and exercise, most weight-loss patients are curious about the rate at which they’ll lose weight following surgery. According to Dr. Stegemann, gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy patients usually lose between five and seven pounds per week after surgery, and usually reach their weight-loss goals within 15 months of surgery. Gastric banding patients, on the other hand, usually lose weight at a slower, steadier pace of one to two pounds per week until they meet their weight-loss goals.
Gastric bypass and gastric sleeve patients typically don’t require frequent check-ups, but gastric banding patients are required to visit their bariatric surgeons for follow-up appointments to have their bands filled. If you live in an area located far away from your bariatric surgeon, you may want to keep in mind that you’ll have to see your doctor frequently for fills if you have LAP-BAND or REALIZE Band surgery.
Discipline with diet
Gastric sleeve and gastric banding patients may have smaller stomach pouches following surgery, but can still eat sweets -- therefore, these patients will have to demonstrate more discipline when it comes to making healthy food choices. However, gastric bypass patients will experience dumping syndrome after eating sugary foods, which can lead to increased heart rate, excessive sweating, severe abdominal pain, dizziness, and diarrhea. Since gastric bypass surgery involves rerouting of the small intestine, gastric bypass patients will be required to limit themselves to healthy foods low in sugar.