For some people who are extremely obese, weight loss surgery is the solution to their health issues. What many don't know is there are multiple options available to patients seeking to lose a significant amount of weight. Gastric banding and gastric bypass are well known, but there are important differences between the two procedures.
"The two are quite different because though they aim to achieve the same thing, weight loss, they are very different methods," describes Dr. Gregg Nishi of the Khalili Center for Bariatric Care in Beverly Hills. He says that both procedures assist patients in getting down to a healthy weight, but while the band limits food intake, it doesn't necessarily make you eat healthier. "A Lap-Band or gastric band is purely a restriction procedure. It just makes it hard for you to eat a lot of food. It doesn't control what you eat but it makes it hard to eat a large quantity."
Gastric bypass surgery, on the other hand, makes use of multiple weight loss paths. "The stomach capacity is restricted so you eat less and it's now absorbed differently as well," says Dr. Nishi. "You're absorbing less of the food that you eat and also it has this built-in effect called 'dumping.' When you eat foods that have a high sugar content it actually makes you sick to your stomach. It doesn't let you eat sweet food whereas with a band you can eat all the ice cream you want to."
Whatever method used for weight loss, a strict diet and exercise program are needed to see lasting results. Discuss all of your options with your doctor to choose the best procedure for your goals and health concerns.