Lap Band Revisions


It is very frustrating to have spent hard earned money, taken the emotional step to proceed with weight loss surgery, possibly told friends and family and co-workers, and not get the results from the band that you wanted. I am sure those inner voices are asking why did this happen? Why can’t I be successful? And there usually is some shame.

The people that do well with the band are people that are very good planners in their daily lives and are able to go to their surgeons office frequently for adjustments and support. Most likely the band seemed like the best choice at the time because it was low risk and possibly was the least expensive. But it does have the highest failure rate as compared to the sleeve or bypass. You may have been like many people and felt that the bypass was just too drastic of an operation to lose weight, or maybe you had heard a story of a gastric bypass gone wrong. Most likely the sleeve was not even given as an option when you decided to proceed.

So you can beat yourself up all you want, but like all decisions we listen, we think, and we choose. And no one always makes the best decision. One of the secrets to the successful mindset is to not let failure beat you down. Learn from it and then go to plan B.

There is no operation that will do all the work for you. You have to learn to follow some eating rules. The gastric bypass, the band, and the sleeve are tools to help you follow these rules. We use tools every day for almost everything we do. They vary in their effectiveness and so does the above procedures. The bypass and sleeve have an advantage over the band because of the way they cause chemical changes to our bio-chemical pathways involved in metabolism. In other words, they do more of the work for you.

The sleeve had its beginnings around 2003. In the beginning we thought that its effectiveness and risk was somewhere between bypass and band. We now have some five-year results that show it to be as effective as the bypass with much lower risk of problems. The more we do the sleeve the better the results seem to be.

We underestimated the sleeve’s ability to trick these complicated bio-chemical pathways that make weight loss so difficult. We have all felt that gnawing feeling that drives you to eat. It is very uncomfortable. With the bypass and sleeve that sensation is gone on the night of surgery. These chemical effects will disappear over time, but it takes years. These two operations give you plenty of time to learn good eating rules and lock them in. If you do not take advantage of this time to learn and lock in these rules you will re-gain weight.

In my opinion, the sleeve is better than the bypass. For two reasons; the sleeve is a very safe operation and I think patients find it easier to lock in the eating habits needed for long term success. With the gastric bypass I think many patients let the tool do all the work for them and never locked in good eating habits. Over time they would re-gain weight. By the way, I did the gastric bypass for twelve years and now only perform the sleeve gastrectomy.

Over my 10 years of doing the lap band, I think about 60% were successful and about 40% struggled. Of that 40%, patients had different levels of success depending on how many of the eating rules they were able to lock in. Before the sleeve was available the only real choice was converting to a gastric bypass or duodenal switch, both somewhat risky operations.

If you are struggling with your band and have re-gained weight converting to a sleeve is a very good option that is relatively safe and very effective.

Insurance often approves the conversion and if not, we have very good cash prices.

Most often the lap band is removed and the sleeve performed in one operation. The hospital stay is usually one night and patients usually can return to work in one week. Patients usually lose somewhere around 25 pounds the first month.

Most patients find locking in the important eating rules easy because the operation makes them want to eat that way.

Learn more about your Houston Weight loss surgery options by requesting an appointment with one of the best Houston weight loss surgeons, Dr. Thomas!

For more information on what to look for when researching Houston weight loss surgery options, be sure to check out our page on “choosing the right surgeon” here.