The Lap-Band was the most popular weight loss operation from 2008-2011. Almost every weight loss surgeon was offering the Lap-Band, but did not teach patients what to expect, or how to use it. As a result, many of the patients who underwent the Lap-Band did not understand how to use the band or discovered the band didn’t work for them. Conversion to the gastric sleeve has become a popular alternative.

Can be done in one or two operations

Most of the time the operation – removing the old band and converting to a gastric sleeve can be done in one operation allowing the patient to go home the day of surgery.

However, if a patient has had dilation of the stomach above the band, or has had a slip of the band, the operation needs to be done twice- one operation to remove the band and another operation to do the sleeve. The reason is to decrease the incidence of a leak of the staple line. Removing or unbuckling the band to allow the upper pouch to decrease in size is often the first operation for those patients.

Advantages that our patients tell us who convert from Lap-Band to Gastric Sleeve

The sleeve is “true” restriction. The lap-band is appetite suppression. Some people love having restriction – eating a small amount and then “feel full.”

There is nothing that gets stuck. For some this is a great thing – no worries about food getting stuck at all. No adjustments to worry about.

You still have to eat Healthy

There is not a weight loss surgery in the world that will make up for a bad diet. Weight loss surgery is one part of changing from obesity to a healthier person. Weight loss surgery is not just “eating a little less” of everything – it is about changing life to take control over foods.

What Is the risk in converting from Lap-band surgery to Gastric Sleeve?

Revision of weight loss surgery can happen for a number of reasons, some of them are good and some of them are not. As with any surgery, there is risk, and when you revise from one weight loss surgery to another there is an increased risk.

The risk of a “leak” from the staple line is about 2.5% for a BMI of less than 50 and 3% for greater than 50. With a prior lap-band the risk of leak is 5.5%. If a person gets a leak that means more time in the hospital, probably two to four weeks, some patients have other operations done, and it isn’t a great time.

Who does great with a Gastric Sleeve revision?

When we look at our patients who have converted from the Lap-Band to the Gastric Sleeve (vertical sleeve gastrectomy or VSG) we find:

  1. They eat healthy. Sometimes they learned to do this when they had the Lap-Band but the band just didn’t work for them.
  2. They are slow eaters. People who eat fast get things stuck in the band, and cause dilation of the stomach above the band. People who keep eating fast can cause the sleeve to stretch out.
  3. Their diet starts out with a balance of protein and vegetables. Those patients who become to protein centered do not do well. But those who incorporate more vegetables in their diet do well.
  4. They love different tastes in foods.