Although gastric bypass surgery is the most popular weight-loss surgery in the United States, there are other surgical options as well. One is laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding ("lap banding"), which is the second most popular weight-loss surgery. This laparoscopic surgery also shrinks the stomach to the size of an egg, but it uses an inflatable silicone band wrapped around the upper part of the stomach instead of staples. A surgeon can adjust the band to make it looser or tighter, depending on the patient's needs. This procedure has the advantage of being reversible -- the band can be removed entirely if the patient suffers from any serious side effects.
Another procedure is vertical banded gastroplasty. This procedure also shrinks the stomach to a small pouch by using techniques found in both the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and lap banding surgeries. The surgeon creates the small stomach pouch using both staples and a plastic band, with no bypass of the small intestines. However, with the introduction of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and lap banding surgeries, the use of vertical banded gastroplasty has decreased. Only 5 percent of surgeons in the United States perform the procedure. This decline in popularity is partially due to the lack of long-term weight loss in many of the patients.
For some people, the benefits of gastric bypass surgery far outweigh the risks associated with it. Being able to reach a healthy weight can also make the long-term dietary changes required after surgery worthwhile. To learn more about healthy weight loss, weight-loss surgeries and related topics, see the links on the next page.