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Surgical Weight Loss Options


While millions of severely overweight Americans do try diet, fitness and medication programs to treat their obesity, unfortunately these efforts usually offer only short-term results. Medical studies show that if you are obese, you are not likely to achieve significant long-term weight loss through diet and behavior changes, alone.1

Minimally invasive weight loss surgery, such as the Adjustable Gastric Banding System, may be your best option for losing and long-term control of excess weight. Here is some key information about both surgical and non-surgical treatments.

Non-Surgical Treatments

The most common approach to weight loss is to eat less and more sensibly, and to increase exercise and activity. A weight loss program, monitored by your doctor, should always be your first weight loss option. However, here are some important facts to consider:

  • Studies show that obese patients on diets, exercise programs, or weight loss medications lose approximately 10% of their body weight, but tend to regain two-thirds within one year, and most of the weight within five years.

Weight Loss Surgery

If non-surgical methods have not helped you lose weight and keep it off, you still have another option:

  • Studies show that weight loss surgery (as compared to other options) offers the best results - sustained long-term weight loss in patients who have failed with other treatments1.
  • Among the most crucial success factors, however, are a positive attitude, self-discipline, and the ability to set and work towards goals.
  • Surgery can be the best option as long as you are ready to make this commitment to losing your excess weight and keeping it off.

Here's a quick and informative overview of the advantages and differences between the Adjustable Gastric Band System and Gastric Bypass weight loss surgeries.


Adjustable Gastric Band System

Gastric Bypass

A restrictive procedure during which an adjustable gastric band is placed around the upper part of the stomach. This creates a smaller stomach pouch, which restricts the amount of food that can be consumed at one time and increases the time it takes for the stomach to empty. As a result, patients achieve sustained weight loss by limiting food intake, reducing appetite, and slowing digestion1 Gastric bypass (also known as the Roux-en-Y) is a combination procedure using both restrictive and mal-absorptive elements. With this surgery, first the stomach is stapled to make a smaller pouch. Then most of the stomach and part of the intestines are bypassed by attaching (usually stapling) a part of the intestine to the small stomach pouch. The result is that you cannot eat as much, and you absorb fewer nutrients and calories.

Gastric banding surgery is usually placed laparoscopically and under general anesthesia. The surgery typically takes about an hour. First, the surgeon makes a few very small incisions in the abdominal wall and secures "ports" in these incisions to accommodate long, thin surgical instruments. One of these ports is used to pass through a narrow camera so the surgeon can view the operative site on a nearby video monitor. A small tunnel is made behind the top of the stomach to let the banding device through and allow it to be wrapped around the upper part of the stomach. The band is then locked securely in a ring around the stomach. This creates your new, smaller stomach pouch. To help hold the band in place, stomach tissue is folded over it and stitched together. The rest of the lower stomach will stay in its normal position. Then, the small access port, which is used for band adjustments, is fixed just underneath the skin. The access port is used by the surgeon to inject saline into the band when you have an adjustment. Your band will be left empty for the first 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.