Differences between Lap-Band Surgery and Gastric Bypass Surgery

Disclaimer: The content of this post has been gathered from multiple sources, which are listed with the content. It’s important for you to do your own research before making a decision regarding surgery.


From The LapBand AP System website:

Gastric bypass (also known as the Roux-en-Y) is a combination procedure using both restrictive and malabsorptive elements meaning that you absorb fewer nutrients and calories. With this surgery, first the stomach is stapled to make a smaller pouch. Then most of the stomach and part of the intestines are bypassed by attaching (usually stapling) a part of the intestine to the small stomach pouch. Gastric bypass is non-adjustable and has increased risk of post operative complications.

The LAP-BAND® System, on the other hand, involves no cutting or stapling, is adjustable, is designed for sustained weight loss and there’s low malnutrition risk. The LAP-BAND® procedure is a restrictive procedure during which an adjustable gastric band is placed around the upper part of the stomach. This creates a smaller stomach pouch, which restricts the amount of food that can be consumed at one time and increases the time it takes for the stomach to empty. As a result, patients achieve sustained weight loss by limiting food intake, reducing appetite, and slowing digestion.

LAP-BAND® System
Gastric Bypass
Gastric Banding                           Gastric Bypass
Procedure Differences
The LAP-BAND® System requires no cutting, stapling, or removal of any part of your existing stomach, nor any intestinal rerouting
In this procedure, cutting and stapling of stomach and bowel as well as rerouting of the intestine is required
Can be quickly, easily, and non-surgically adjusted to affect weight loss results — during a brief doctor’s office visit To make any “adjustments” or to improve weight loss results from this procedure, additional surgery may be necessary
The LAP-BAND® System is reversible and, if necessary, can be removed —with the stomach usually returning to its original shape Extremely difficult to reverse, requiring additional, complicated surgery — without guarantee of success
  • Long-term results (three to five years) with the LAP-BAND® System yield comparable results to the gastric bypass — without the associated risks of the more invasive bypass procedure
  • And for those with a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 30 and 40, a new study (N=149) shows that the LAP-BAND®System provides significant results.
    In the first 12 months (N=143):

    • The mean Excess Weight Loss (EWL) was 64.5%
    • The mean reduction in Body Mass Index(BMI) was 6.5 points
    • The mean reduction in waist circumference(in inches) for men was 6.1 inches; women 5.9 inches
    • Weight loss was maintained at year 2
  • May offer more rapid initial weight loss but some patients with gastric bypass will regain some weight over time
  • After about three years, weight loss is comparable to the LAP-BAND® System
  • A less invasive operative procedure, the LAP-BAND® System also has a lower rate of operative complications
  • Since none of the intestine is removed or bypassed, there are low risks of problems absorbing necessary nutrients
  • You will not lose as much lean muscle mass and bone mass as with gastric bypass, which means you maintain more of the lean muscle mass you need to keep your metabolism working effectively

  • There is no risk of “Dumping Syndrome” since no part of the intestinal tract is bypassed with the LAP-BAND® System
  • The risk of short term death following surgery is 10 times less compared to gastric bypass30
  • As stomach cutting, removal and stapling are involved in this procedure, gastric bypass can also have more operative complications

  • As this procedure “bypasses” a portion of your intestine, it may increase the risk for anemia, osteoporosis and other medical complications due to nutritional and vitamin deficiencies
  • In addition, you may lose more lean muscle mass than you will with LAP-BAND®
  • Risk of “Dumping Syndrome” – a condition that may occur when food is rapidly passed (dumped) from stomach to upper intestine. Symptoms may include cramps, nausea, speeding or slowing of the heart, etc.
  • Gastric bypass has a higher risk of short-term death following surgery compared to LAP-BAND®30


From the Day One Health website:

What is a Gastric Bypass?

Currently, gastric bypass surgery is the most commonly performed type of weight loss surgery. About 150,000 gastric bypass surgeries are performed each year in the United States. In contrast to the lap-band procedure, the purpose of the gastric bypass is not only to reduce the size of the stomach, but also to inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calories. In other words, gastric bypass is both a “restrictive” and a “malabsorptive” weight loss surgery. Conversely, lap-band only a restrictive procedure.

Normally, when you eat, the food passes through the stomach to the small intestine, where most nutrients are absorbed, and then into the large intestine. During the gastric bypass surgery, the weight loss surgeon cuts out part of the gastric bypass patient’s stomach and connects the part that is left to the middle part of the small intestine. This way, after surgery, patients feel full faster and absorb fewer calories from what they eat.

Because gastric bypass requires cutting and stapling of the digestive tract, the surgery can’t be performed on an outpatient basis. In order to undergo the surgery, patients need to be admitted to the hospital and stay there up to three days after surgery. Moreover, complete recovery may take up to three months.

Studies increasingly show that despite the popularity of gastric bypass, complications and risks resulting from this surgery are even more serious – and occurring at higher rates – than initially thought. And with mortality rates as high as 2% for the gastric bypass procedure, prospective patients must consider their treatment options carefully. Furthermore, the long-term consequences of cutting the stomach and permanently altering the digestive tract, as is done during gastric bypass surgery, are still not fully understood.

LAP-BAND vs. Gastric Bypass Surgery

The adjustable gastric band is safer, far less invasive, and as effective as gastric bypass in fighting the excess weight. The potential risks and complications associated with the procedure are minor in comparison to any other form of bariatric surgery. With the lap-band, as opposed to gastric bypass, doctors don’t cut or staple your digestive tract. As a result, the procedure takes much less time and can be performed on an outpatient basis. This means that after lap-band surgery you’ll be recovering in the comfort of your own home instead of the hospital. In addition, post-surgical recovery time for lap-band patients is faster than for those undergoing gastric bypass – six weeks compared to three months.

The risks to your health, and your life, are significantly lower with the lap-band than with gastric bypass. Since the lap-band is a purely restrictive procedure (reducing the size of the stomach without altering the digestive tract), you will avoid the vitamin and mineral deficiencies and “dumping syndrome” associated with most other forms of obesity surgery, including gastric bypass.Your natural digestive processes remain fundamentally unchanged; lap-band patients simply feel full faster and, subsequently, eat less. Compared to gastric bypass, diet requirements of the lap band are not quite as restrictive, because the body’s ability to absorb nutrients is not affected; however, even with the lap-band, you do still need to ensure that you are eating a balanced diet not too rich in calories and abundant in nutrients.

Of course, as with any medical procedure, there are some potential risks associated with the lap-band. Though infrequent, lap-band risks include problems with placement, movement of the band, and infection or leakage of the band or port. In addition, some patients experience more post-operative gastric symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, than others. There also is the possibility that you may not lose weight, or that you may even gain weight, or that very rapid weight loss could cause health problems. But even these potential complications occur at dramatically lower rates than with gastric bypass.

Furthermore, one of the major advantages of the lap-band is that it is fully adjustable and reversible. While it is intended to be a long-term or permanent solution, if any of these complications become serious or life-threatening, the band can be completely removed or replaced. Moreover, your band can be fully deflated for any reason, such as illness or pregnancy, when your body may need larger portions of food. In other words, without any additional surgery you can bring your stomach to the pre-surgical shape at any point in time. For patients who experience severe problems with gastric bypass, reversal is not impossible, but is difficult and carries high risks and a long recovery.