Difference between Gastric Sleeve and Lap-Band Surgery

September 2nd, 2011 - Posted to Weight Loss

The sleeve gastrectomy (gastric sleeve) and the adjustable laparoscopic gastric band (lap band) are two options available to seriously obese patients who seek surgery as a solution to improve their health. But not all surgical weight loss solutions are the same.

Marina Weight Loss would like to point out the differences so that our Los Angeles clients can determine which solution might be more appropriate for them.

What's the Difference?

Sleeve gastrectomy and lap band surgery both involve modifying the stomach so that it can hold less food. However, they go about this in very different ways.

The lap band is a device that goes around the stomach, cinching off a pouch that holds a small fraction of the food that the whole stomach can normally contain. It is "inflated" or "deflated" with saline injections via a small port beneath the skin. There is no cutting or stapling of the stomach in lap-band surgery, and digestion takes place normally.

In the gastric sleeve operation, the surgeon actually removes a large part of the stomach. The remaining part of the patient's stomach is in the shape of a tube, or sleeve. Because the sleeve gastrectomy involves cutting and suturing of the stomach, recovery time may be longer after this procedure than after the lap band. Although this is a more invasive procedure, it does have the benefit of generally providing superior weight loss in the first 12-18 months after surgery. Across the U.S. the average gastric sleeve cost is $14,900, as for the lap band cost it circles around $14,532. 

Who Is Eligible?

Another difference between the procedures is the profile of the average patient.

The lap band is recommended by the Food and Drug Administration as a possible weight loss solution for people with body mass index as low as 30 in some cases.

Sleeve gastrectomy, on the other hand, is usually reserved for patients whose BMI are significantly higher. The average gastric sleeve patient is "morbidly obese," which means that their BMI is over 40.

Some studies have concluded that gastric sleeve surgery is also safe and effective for lower-BMI patients, as well.

Can the Surgeon Reverse it?

The lap band involves no cutting or modification of the digestive organs, so it is completely reversible in the case of side effects. However, the patient should consider it permanent; if the lap band is removed, so is the weight-loss assistance it offers, and the patient risks putting the lost weight back on.

Sleeve gastrectomy, on the other hand, is not reversible, because the surgeon removes up to 80 percent of the stomach. The surgeon is unable to reattach the removed stomach portion after the fact.

Frequently Asked Questions About Gastric Sleeve

For a safe and healthy pregnancy, you should wait at least 18 months for your weight to stabilize before getting pregnant. Most women can get pregnant after a gastric sleeve surgery. However, after the surgery, your body will go through a lot of demanding changes.

The average cost of a gastric sleeve surgery is $14.900, but it can vary widely from state to state. Since 2010 many insurance companies cover the costs of gastric sleeve surgery as a primary weight loss method, so make sure you check with your insurer.

Yes, it has been demonstrated that gastric sleeve surgery is a safe and also effective procedure for losing weight. Being one of the newest and approved surgeries for weight loss it has quickly caught the attention of physicians and patients.

The post gastric sleeve complications are very rare. However, the most serious ones are bleeding, stomach leak, blood clots, wound infection, abdominal abscess, stenosis, and stomach obstruction.

In order for a patient to qualify for gastric sleeve surgery, he or she must have been obese for at least 3 years, with a body mass index of 40 or more, and other morbidity related medical conditions.