Lap-Band Vs. Gastric Bypass: Which Weight-Loss Surgery Works Best?

Last week, the FDA expanded approval of the Lap-Band for use in those with a body mass index (BMI) as low as 30. A new study, however, states that gastric bypass surgery has weight-loss advantages over Allergan's more widely permissible banding device.

Published in the Archives of Surgery, the study compared 100 patients who had undergone a Lap-Band procedure, which involves placing an adjustable band around part of the stomach, to 100 patients who had gotten gastric bypass (Roux-en-Y) surgery, which involves surgically reducing the size of the stomach.

Although previous studies have shown that banding is safer than bypass, this latest study shows that it's not as effective. Specifically, 86% of gastric bypass patients lost more than 40% of their excess weight, whereas only 31% of Lap-Band patients lost that amount.

That doesn't necessarily mean that gastric bypass is the right choice for every obese patient. The study involved only patients who were morbidly obese-a minimum requirement for gastric bypass. Patients in the lower range of obesity may not qualify for gastric bypass but may, in fact, qualify for the Lap-Band under the FDA's new rules.

Therefore, if you're less obese and seeking a surgical weight-loss intervention, the Lap-Band may be your only option. But even though gastric bypass surgery may be more effective than the Lap-Band, the Lap-Band can be more effective than no surgical intervention at all.