Weighing the Facts: Deciding about the Lap-Band

In this two-minute educational video, bariatric surgeons Dr. Ron Hekier and Dr. Rachael Keilin note things that patients should consider when deciding whether to undergo Lap-Band® surgery.

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DR. RACHAEL KEILIN: I think there are a lot of advantages and disadvantages to the different operations that are out there. Probably the two biggest operations — the most commonly performed operations — are the gastric bypass and the Lap-Band®. And if you are deciding between the two of them, there are different things that you would have to consider. There are things about both operations that are wonderful, and there are drawbacks to both.

DR. RON HEKIER: When people are looking at weight loss surgery, or specifically at Lap-Band surgery, what I would recommend is for them to involve their friends and their family members — to involve everyone that’s part of their support network — because this is an important decision that will affect the rest of their lives, in a positive way. So I would ask them to involve their family and friends, and get as much information as you can — that’s very important. Call or seek out physicians in your area that do the weight loss surgery, [or] that do the Lap-Band surgery.

DR. RACHAEL KEILIN: Probably the best thing, I think about the Lap-Band, is its adjustability — the way that you can change it to certain life needs, whether that’s a pregnancy, or having an operation, and maybe a little bit of fluid needs to come out. Or, you might find yourself ten years down the road, gaining a little bit of weight, you need to have it adjusted up a little bit [laughs].

The flip side, though, is for people who don’t have easy access to their doctors. If you’re outside of a major city, or if you change locations, it’s a lot harder sometimes to get the follow-up that you need. Because I think a lot of any kind of weight loss surgery, is not so much the surgery itself. It’s the difference between a wedding and a marriage — the wedding lasts for a day, the marriage lasts forever. Surgery is “a thing”, but the weight loss happens for a year, two years, ten years, forever. And so, if you’re not in a place where you can get that kind of close follow-up — if you can’t come in to the office every six weeks, eight weeks, depending on what practice you’re in — then that may not be such a good option.

The gastric bypass also has a huge track record, and the Lap-Band somewhat less so, because it’s much more new as an operation than the gastric bypass. So I think there’s not a good or a bad, there are just different things about both that kind of depend on the individual situation.