Stomach Stapling vs. Mini Gastric Bypass
Stomach Stapling (Vertical Banded Gastrectomy)
Vertical banded gastrectomy is one of the oldest forms of surgery for weight loss. It is used to limit the amount of food that can be eaten. It does not alter any part of the digestive process, and none of the stomach is removed. During this procedure, the upper part of the stomach near the esophagus is stapled vertically. This creates a small pouch. The rest of the stomach is then banded, leaving a small opening at the bottom of the small pouch, which opens into the larger portion of the stomach. A mesh or plastic tissue is placed around the small opening to prevent stretching. This process is known as a restrictive surgery because it limits the amount of food that can be consumed at one time, which causes patients to feel fuller faster. After surgery, most meals must be limited to approximately one ounce. This surgery does not typically cause malnutrition or dumping syndrome. The entire procedure typically lasts between 3 and 4 hours. Vertical banded gastrectomy surgery is reversible, but the procedure to do so is quite complex.
In general, candidates for this procedure will either have a BMI over 40 or a BMI between 35 and 40 plus weight-related health problems. Women who are 80 pounds over their goal weight and men who are 100 pounds over their goal weight are also good candidates for this surgery.
Average Weight Loss Results
On average, most patients are able to lose approximately 50 to 60 percent of their excess body weight after one year. Weight gain can happen easily if the patient does not adhere to consuming very small portions of food and drinks.
If the surgery is performed laparoscopically, the patient will need to remain in the hospital for 2 or 3 days. If it is performed in an open surgery, then the hospital stay is longer, usually 4 or 5 days. Patients will initially need to follow a liquid diet and gradually move onto thicker liquids and soft foods. After about one month, most patients are able to eat solid foods and return to normal activities.
Common Side Effects
Patients may experience side effects such as reflux, stomal stenosis, incisional hernia, staple-line disruption, intolerance to the band, gastric leak, bleeding, fistulas, pulmonary embolus, and peritonitis. More commonly, side effects such as vomiting can occur if a strict diet is not followed, if food is not chewed properly, or if food is eaten too quickly.
The average cost of this procedure is $20,000 to $25,000. Insurance may cover a portion of the cost.\
Mini Gastric Bypass
During a mini gastric bypass surgery, the stomach is made smaller, and the intestines are rerouted. It is performed laparoscopically by making 4 to 6 small incisions in the abdomen. The stomach is reduced by up to 90 percent, and then it is attached approximately 6 feet down the small intestines; this allows for food to bypass the upper intestines. It is sometimes chosen over a regular Roux-en-Y gastric bypass because it has a lower likelihood of complications, it has less side effects, and it is reversible. The weight loss results for mini gastric bypass are usually fairly comparable to those of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Mini gastric bypass makes patients feel fuller faster, allows for less absorption of calories and minerals, and is known to significantly improve overall health. Weight loss with this procedure is often fast and dramatic. Most people are also able to keep the weight off long term.
In general, the best candidates for mini gastric bypass are those with a BMI over 40 or those with a BMI between 35 and 40 plus other weight-related health conditions.
Average Weight Loss Results
On average, within the first 3 months after the surgery, patients lose about 30 percent of their excess body weight. Within a year, 60 to 75 percent of excess body weight is often gone. After 10 years, most patients still show a total weight loss of 70 percent of their excess body weight. Results depend upon the patient’s adherence to diet and lifestyle changes.
Patients typically must stay in the hospital for a day or two after surgery. They can usually return to work in 10 to 14 days, and most should be fully recovered after 3 weeks.
Common Side Effects
Patients may experience gallstones from the rapid weight loss and kidney stones from not drinking enough fluids. Hair loss is also somewhat common during the first 3 to 6 months after surgery. Sagging skin can also happen due to the rapid shedding of a significant amount of weight.
Most insurances do not cover mini gastric bypass. The average cost of the surgery ranges from $15,000 to $25,000 in the US. A Lighter Me helps patients receive the mini bypass surgery at a fraction of the cost. Learn more about the mini gastric bypass.