To Lap-band or Sleeve??

on 11/7/18 8:55 am - Melvin, IL

I'm trying to decide between the lap-band and VSG, and from what I'm reading on OH, most people say don't do lap-band. My husband is concerned about the permanency of VSG (so his bent is lap-band). I'm scared about either bc of it being such a big decision, lifestyle change.. and the big one - what if it doesn't even work!?

All you lap banders, would you recommend it? Or should I look more seriously into the sleeve??

thanks! I'm grateful for any input!

on 11/8/18 9:40 am - Putnam, CT
Revision on 02/04/15

As a former lap bander I would say run not walk away from it. There are so many long term issues that have come up over the years that many surgeons no longer place the band.

For me due to the damage the band did I could not have the sleeve, so I revised to the bypass which was the best decision ever. I kind of wish I had done that first instead of the band.

I think the sleeve is a good virgin surgery to have, but know that some folks have had to revise from the sleeve to the bypass due to GERD/heartburn/reflux.

Dr. Sanchez Lapband 9/12/2003
hw305/revision w280/cw197/gw150

Revision from Lap Band to Bypass on 2/4/2015 by Dr. Pohl


on 11/9/18 5:20 am - Nashville, TN
Revision on 03/18/15 with
On November 7, 2018 at 4:55 PM Pacific Time, fresnojess wrote:

I'm trying to decide between the lap-band and VSG, and from what I'm reading on OH, most people say don't do lap-band. My husband is concerned about the permanency of VSG (so his bent is lap-band). I'm scared about either bc of it being such a big decision, lifestyle change.. and the big one - what if it doesn't even work!?

All you lap banders, would you recommend it? Or should I look more seriously into the sleeve??

thanks! I'm grateful for any input!

the lap band may not be permanent, but the damage it does certainly is.

That damage can't be reversed so having the lap band is just as permanent as the vsg.

one of the side effects of the vsg is GERD , severe acid reflux. If you have any acid reflux problems not, I wouldn't consider the vsg and would go straight to the bypass.




on 11/11/18 9:19 pm, edited 11/11/18 1:26 pm
VSG on 11/05/18

Here's my experience:

I had Lap Band surgery in 2010. I chose it because I thought it was safer, it was removable, and they weren't cutting out any body parts. "Everybody" was doing it. My (then) surgeon assured me it was great for me, as long as I ate right, exercised all the time, and learned how to live with the band. That was the good part, all before surgery.

At first, it worked great, and over the first year I lost more than 125 pounds. I ate exactly as they taught me, I worked out like a maniac, and I was obsessed with numbers on the scale. But it was unsustainable, the band was too tight and my diet was unbalanced. I always felt like I was starving. My bariatric team advised loosening the band some, and relaxing my super-strict diet. I did that, and over the next two years I regained about sixty pounds. Even returning to my unhealthy diet from before didn't help, and over the few years after that, my weight yo-yo'ed up and down by a margin of almost fifty pounds. The only way I knew the band was there was when I'd get stuck if I ate too fast.

Last year I got very ill, and spent weeks with that cold everyone had that wouldn't go away - I was wracked with long, hard coughing fits that left me breathless and seeing spots. My band didn't slip, but something definitely went wrong, and I started getting stuck or sick at every meal, no matter how tiny a bite I took. Imagine what it's like vomiting through a lap band - not a great thing to experience. I knew I needed to do something, and I went back to the bariatric team at my surgical center. They were all new staff by then, and much more trained (in my opinion), than the people who had been there previously. They emptied the band, which immediately relieved my stuck/sick problems, and we began discussions about what could be done.

Long story short: This last Monday I had my band removed, and a VSG was performed. The surgeon said there was so much scar tissue from the band, it was a very complex surgery, and took them a "long time" to get the band out. They were able to perform a VSG, and I spent only one night in the hospital. I am now six days post-op, and doing beautifully. My incisions are healing well, I am off all "heavy" medications, and down to only Tylenol a time or two a day. I'm active, running errands, drinking my Stage 2 liquid diet of protein shakes and water without issue, and most important - I am feeling zero pain.

Here's the advice part: My surgeon advised me that Lap Band is not the long-term solution it once was hoped to be. There are many, many people who develop complications, which result in additional surgeries. He said the Sleeve process has been "dialed in" to be much more consistent than it used to be, resulting in many more satisfied patients. If your surgeon is experienced at the process, that would be my recommendation. When I asked my surgeon how many bariatric procedures like this he has performed, he said, "I can't put an exact number on it, but it's over four thousand." I trust his judgment quite a bit.

Knowing what I know now about Lap Band, for all the effort I put in, and the problems I encountered even as a "perfect" patient, I would have opted for VSG over Lap Band eight years ago. Instead of having to start over again this week, I'd have reached my sustainable goal years ago. My strongest recommendations is to do this for yourself only once, and choose the Sleeve.

I know everyone is different, and you have to make a choice that fits your situation. Good luck with your decision.


on 1/13/19 6:20 am
VSG on 11/05/18

Update to my post above: I am now 10 weeks post-op with my VSG. I feel excellent, I've had zero issues, and the best part: I'm down over 40 pounds. It's working exactly as advertised. If I had known then what I know now, I'd definitely have chosen the VSG eight years ago. :)


Nic M
on 11/16/18 12:11 pm

I had the lapband done about 15 years ago. My surgeon was terrible, so I was doomed from the beginning.

It's now 2018, I had the band removed almost 13 years ago and I still have damage from it. The left shoulder referred pain that I experienced every single day while banded is not as severe. But I still get it on occasion due to the Vagus nerve damage the band caused. (And it's very common to have damage to the Vagus nerve with the lapband. If you Google, you'll find more information on this.)

I'd advise against the band. It's a terrible device that's harmed many people. Best of luck to you. I hope all goes well with whatever you choose.


 Avoid kemmerling, Green Bay, WI


(deactivated member)
on 11/22/18 2:29 pm

I have a similar story to others. I got my lap and in Nov 2003 and it was fine. I lost about 30% of my excess body weight in the first year and kept it off. In October 2016, my GERD was so severe I feared I had a prolapsed band.

Once I found a bariatric specialist that would see me we decided the band had to come out. I had it removed in May 2018 and just got a sleeve two days ago.

I don't regret the band but I'm in the minority that I went so long without complications.

Good luck

on 12/10/18 6:53 am - Culpeper, VA

I had a lap band for 12 years. Went from 326 (size 28) to 150 (size 4) and did great! In Feb I started throwing up around the clock...every 30 minutes. I didn't eat or drink for 6 days because of it. I went to the ER and was immediately admitted and had emergency surgery to have my band taken out. It took 11 bags of IV fluids before I peed once!! I was REALLY sick. Now, 10 months out, I've gained back 65 lbs and have a sleeve scheduled next week.

I wouldn't choose the lap band. It just isn't permanent and that causes problems.

on 12/10/18 7:49 am
DS on 11/11/14

Many surgeons won't even do lap band any longer.

on 12/23/18 12:36 am

Boy, I remember big city MDs who came to sell us local yokels on it in a free seminar 16 years ago. There is high obesity here, and their eyes were swimming in gov. subsidized insurance fees I guess. they were very blasé' on: a too tight band that left you drooling unable to swallow , or getting a vitamin stuck, just blew off these 'rare' issues. What really scared me was being in a rural area, remote, any emergency adjustment required someone -a specialist- to do it in a hospital. we have quakes, power out for days often in winter, road closure, all I could think of was serious complications or dying because of a plastic belt on my stomach. I brought that up, about being remote, and they had the nerve to say "oh you'd have bigger problems in a quake"

In any case I heard a joke by doctors the other day: the most popular lap band procedure is 'removal' I think this one example proves why long term studies are required for medical procedures.

I just join FB groups to learn what real people's experience is, very helpful.

People who have the BALLOON are always griping on gas, burping and discomfort all the time, the food sits on top the balloon, carbonated soda is a bother, etc. for ~15 lb weight loss, it seems a lot to tolerate for 6 months of having it.--all this is MHO of course. YMMV