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Patients are "revising" their Lap Bands to prevent long-term complications.

Valerie got her lap band five years ago...

Baja California Sunset

Valerie looked forward to a weekend-getaway with her husband to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary. They stopped on the way for a bite to eat and soon afterward she felt some annoying stomach discomfort.

Dismissing it as something that would pass, they got back on the road, until the pain grew worse and became so bad, they decided to turn the car around and head home. They made it as far as a local hospital, where Valerie was immediately admitted and prepped for emergency surgery.

Her lap band had slipped. The problem needed to be fixed. Now.

Recently, patients like Valerie whose lap-bands have gone wrong – or most likely will -- have another option. As more and more men and women who suffer from obesity now opt for the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) bariatric surgery instead of a traditional lap band. Some lap-banders are finding that long-term complications from the lap band can be remedied or prevented by a "revision" surgery to the vertical sleeve.

A study at a Brussels hospital three years ago followed 82 patients for at least 12 years after lap-band surgery. Like Valerie, almost half of the lap band patients required at least one re-operation for complications or device failure, most often due to band erosion and "slippage." That meant undergoing another major surgery that once again left them with just about a 50-50 chance of long-term complication.

Conversations that have taken place over the past year on obesityhelp.com speak well for revision surgery from lap band to gastric sleeve.

"I switched. The difference is mind-boggling," says one woman who reports that the gastric sleeve has even further decreased her eating obsession. Another says he experienced lap band slippage after ten years (and a 100 pound loss) with the band. He started regaining the weight. Then he had his lap-band converted to the vertical sleeve. He now expects weight loss without worry about complications.

Another recent post on the forum, from a patient who opted for a revision, says, "This tool has been so much better than the band." The patient reports a loss of 76 pounds over six months – without complications.

Sleeve surgery can cost roughly $20,000 in the United States, where only few insurers are covering revision surgery. A Lighter Me, suggests looking into having the gastric sleeve surgery performed in Mexico, where the price can be less than $5,000. These surgeries in Mexico are performed by expert, fully certified surgeons at top hospitals.

Mexiso Weight Loss SurgeryGastric sleeve surgery has been performed worldwide since 1988. Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy was originally used as a "first-stage" procedure in patients with a very high BMI and/or with serious co-morbidities. The VSG would be performed on the patient with the expectation that a second procedure (either the Roux en Y gastric bypass or the Duodenal Switch) would be performed after the patient has lost enough weight so that the second procedure could safely be performed. It was discovered that many patients did so well with the gastric sleeve alone that they did not need the second procedure.

With a VSG there is no rerouting of the intestines, and no new connections need to be made. This makes it safer, easier, and requires less time under anesthesia. The lack of rerouting eliminates the late risk of bowel obstructions from internal hernias that can sometimes come with the gastric bypass operation. Finally, the lack of rerouting also reduces the risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Another advantage is that the operation can be easily converted to another procedure such as gastric bypass, duodenal switch.

Advantages of the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy
  • Over 80% of type II diabetes cases are resolved.
  • Hypertension is improved or resolved in many patients.
  • With the VSG there is no foreign body to break, slip, or erode.
  • Unlike the Adjustable Gastric Band there is nothing to be adjusted.
  • You don't need to worry about getting follow-up care if you move to another city.
  • The feeling of fullness that you get from the VSG is much more satisfying than the feeling of obstruction or discomfort that you get with the Adjustable Gastric Band.
  • Some patients vomit after the VSG, while many patients continue to have vomiting episodes long after they have their Lap Bands installed.
  • VSG Surgery can be performed on patients that otherwise do not qualify for gastric bypass, such as those with anemia, Crohn's disease, etc.
  • As with every type of bariatric surgery, the overall quality of life for patients improves. A great deal of excess weight is lost.
  • Many patients experience complete resolution of co-morbidities like Type !! Diabetes, improved appearance, social opportunities, and economic opportunities.

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