Many people feel like they’ve tried everything when it comes to weight loss. They eat well, exercise, take supplements, try multiple diet fads, and they still can not get rid of their unwanted body fat. When this happens many people feel defeated, they want to give up, and throw their hands in the air when it comes to trying to be healthy and lose weight. If this sounds familiar you may have looked into bariatric surgery. When it comes to surgery to help weight loss you must be very careful, and be sure you are an ideal candidate to undergo this life changing procedure. If you are someone who just wants to lose a couple pounds, surgery is not the answer. Looking into both band and bypass surgery will help you decide what is better for you. Here is a deeper look into both surgeries:

Lap-Band System

pre-op-post-opThis surgery makes your stomach smaller by using an inflatable band, which is placed around the upper part of your stomach, restricting the amount of food that can be consumed at one time. It also increases the time in which the stomach takes to empty. You will begin losing weight as the result of a smaller appetite, and slower digestion.


  • Multiple follow-up appointments for ideal results
  • Requires an implanted device
  • Slower initial weight loss
  • Sometimes there is band slippage causing reduced effectiveness
  • Occasional revision surgery due to the access port leaking


  • Lowest operative complication rate
  • Reversible
  • Adjustable
  • Least invasive surgical approach
  • Low risk of nutritional deficiencies

Gastric Bypass

During gastric bypass surgery the stomach is first stapled making a smaller pouch, then a large portion of the stomach and part of the intestines are bypassed (typically by stapling part of the intestine to the small stomach pouch. This makes you unable to eat as much as normal, so you consume fewer calories, and begin losing weight.


  • Non-adjustable
  • Very hard to reverse
  • Partial portion of digestive tract is bypassed, resulting in reduced absorption of essential nutrients
  • Stapling and cutting of the stomach bowel are necessary
  • Higher mortality rate
  • Vitamin deficiencies if supplements are not taken


  • Very quick initial weight loss
  • Minimally invasive approach is popular

Even though gastric bypass surgery is the most common weight loss surgery with around 200,000 operations a year in the United States, it is still deemed more dangerous than lap band surgery. Both surgeries risks are beginning to decrease but gastric is considered to be riskier with a 10 to 18% morbidity rate. Remember to decide on what surgery is best for you, not what surgery is said to be better overall. Both surgeries will change your life forever, and in order for each to be successful you must change both your exercise and diet habits forever.

Lap band surgery is less expensive and can be anywhere between $10,000-$25,000 while Gastric Bypass is between $15,000-$35,000 largely due to more hospital days that are required. Lap band surgery also has a shorter recovery time, most patients can go back to regular activities after three to four weeks, while with gastric bypass surgery patients will sometimes need up to six to eight weeks. When recovering from both surgeries most patient’s stomachs are very sensitive. They will start off on a liquid diet until they are able to keep everything down, and then move onto pureed foods for two to four weeks.

It is important to do intensive research on both surgeries before considering undergoing either. Making sure you are an ideal candidate, as well as someone who will keep up the consistent dieting and exercising habits post surgery is very important. Discuss with your doctor all of the pros and cons of the surgeries to make sure you are a 100% positive on which one you will choose.