Weight loss surgery is available to patients with a BMI of 35 and above. Typically, gastric bypass weight loss surgery is reserved for patients who are at least 100 pounds overweight with a BMI of at least 40, but there are exceptions to this rule if obesity related health problems could be solved with gastric bypass surgery. Patients who have tried lap band weight loss surgery and failed to meet weight loss goals may lose more weight with gastric bypass weight loss surgery.
The most common form of gastric bypass weight loss surgery is the Roux-en-Y procedure. The surgery involves cutting a portion of the stomach and intestines and reattaching the two together. The stomach pouch is reduced to the size of an egg and the intestine is shortened so food spends less time in the body so fewer calories are absorbed. The risks associated with gastric bypass weight loss surgery are numerous and may include death so lap band surgery is often chosen as a first step in weight loss.
Lap band weight loss surgery uses a water-filled band to restrict stomach size for reduced food consumption. The band is placed around the stomach and water is injected into a port located near the surface of the skin. The water inflates the lap band allowing less food to be consumed. The size of the stomach can easily be adjusted in an outpatient setting without the need for additional surgeries. In some cases, lap band surgery is not enough for obese patients to reach weight loss goals and thus primary care physicians may suggest or patients may request gastric bypass weight loss surgery.
Removing the Lap Band and Performing Gastric Bypass
Lap band weight loss surgery can cause damage to the stomach including scar tissue and damaged stomach tissues. Due to the increased risk associated with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass weight loss surgery, surgeons may choose a mini gastric bypass instead. During surgery, the lap band will be cut and removed through the port in the stomach. Once removed, the damaged portion of the stomach will be bypassed and a small pouch created with a specialized surgical staple gun that cuts and seals. A hole is placed in the new stomach and a portion of the intestine. The two are connected together with stitches and the procedure is complete. Here is a video explaining the switch from lap band to mini gastric bypass. **Warning – this video shows the procedure internally using a surgical camera.**
Who is Eligible for Gastric Bypass after Lap Band?
Patients who wish to have gastric bypass after lap band weight loss surgery must fit the medical guidelines for the surgery. This includes meeting BMI and weight requirements. In addition to regular guidelines, lap band weight loss surgery patients are often evaluated for mental and physical preparedness for gastric bypass weight loss surgery. During this evaluation, doctors will ask a long list of questions about diet and exercise habits to determine why the lap band weight loss surgery did not help the patient achieve weight loss.