The question has come up several times about the difference between weight loss surgeries and why I chose the one I did. I’m going to do my best to explain them and why I chose the one I did.
First, let’s talk about the adjustable gastric band, or lap band, also known as AGB.
This is a type of weight loss surgery that restricts room in your stomach so that you eat less than you did before. There is a small port placed just under the skin that acts as an access point to add or remove air from the band. The band constricts to tighten around the stomach allowing for less or more food to go through.
I decided not to utilize this option for several reasons. First, the expected weight loss for me with AGB would have only been around 50 pounds in about a year. Second, the risk of needing a second surgery is higher than I’d like. The port can turn over which would then need to be fixed. The band itself can slip down or up the stomach. It can also eat into the stomach causing major issues. All in all, it just wasn’t the right option for me.
Next, let’s talk about Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, also known as RYGB, or RNY.
This one is the most complicated to explain. First, they take your stomach and make it small. Really small. It will be about the size of a walnut. Then, they bypass the rest of your stomach and about a meter of your small intestines. This makes it so you eat less and digest fewer nutrients. With this, you will be on a strict regiment of vitamins. If you miss a day, it can be life threatening. The mortality rate for this procedure is fairly high. That is the main reason I chose not to use this method.
It is a great option for those who are severely obese, including me. But the risk of death far outweighed any reason to go this route. With this procedure, I would have lost around 110 pounds over 6 months. That is another reason I chose not to go this route. I know that I will have excess skin, but losing that much over only 6 months seemed a little too much for me.
Finally, let’s talk about the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, or VSG.
In this procedure, a tube about the size of a straw is inserted into your esophagus and passed into and through your stomach. Then the doctor cuts the stomach around the straw and puts staples around the edge of the remaining stomach and removes the excess portion. Then he will remove the tube leaving a small sleeve-like stomach.
With this procedure, it will take 12-18 months for me to lose about 90 pounds. For me, losing weight slower made sense. It gives me time to hopefully work my ass off with my trainer to reduce the amount of skin I’ll have. I will still need to take a strict regiment of vitamins, but if I miss a few, it won’t be life threatening. There are still complications that could arise, as with any other surgery. But, the mortality rate is about half of RNY.
For me, it was an easy decision. I talked it through with my doctor and together, we felt VSG was the best way to go.
There you have it. What they are and why I chose the one I did. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments! Thanks for reading and feel free to share.