Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Band versus the Sleeve

I'm glad we have choices of different bariatric surgery procedures, but sometimes having choices makes our decisions harder. I'm working on a weight loss surgery decision making tool to help bariatric patients weigh their options, risks, benefits, and so on. In the meantime, I'll just talk a bit about my own WLS decision.

When my surgeon explained the vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) procedure at the educational seminar I attended at the start of my WLS journey, I thought it sounded interesting, but the idea of losing most of my stomach forever unnerved me, whereas the band (and its adjustability) just seemed right for me. I felt that I intellectually understood how the band works (though later I realized that I had understood only a fraction of that), and I had an intuitive sense that it was going to work for me.

For a year or so after my band surgery, I thought that if (God forbid) I ever lost my band, I would revise to the sleeve. Then I learned that the sleeve causes acid reflux in many patients, so that sleeve patients are automatically prescribed acid reducing medication from day one. I could not tolerate one day of acid reflux, and one of my goals in losing weight was to lose some or all of my meds, not gain a new med!

But I also must mention that the sleeve still might be a good choice for me, especially if getting the fills and aftercare the band requires would be difficult for me (logistically or financially). I don't personally know anyone who's had sleeve surgery, so (sadly) I have no stories to tell about it.

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