The Benefits and Risk of Laparoscopic Techniques During Weight Loss Surgery

We know for a fact that weight loss surgery is one of the greatest developments in the medical field, and one that continues to develop to this day. In fact, where bariatric surgery was once incredibly invasive, it is now possible to have lap band surgery through a laparoscopic procedure, which means that there is no more need for the long incision across the abdomen. Laparoscopic procedures carry fewer risks of complications with them, and recovery time is also significantly decreased.

At present, the most common laparoscopic technique requires five small incisions to be made. However, the latest development is known as Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery (SILS), in which only a single incision is made. While this sounds great, it is important to understand that it has some downsides as well.

A Brief History of Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery

SILS is the most advanced surgical procedure that exists today, improving further on the already high-tech laparoscopic lap band. In the past, a surgeon would make a single incision across the abdomen, allowing a surgeon plenty of room to maneuver in order to change the stomach. However, this procedure came with long recovery times, significant pain and discomfort, and more chances of complications. This is why the laparoscopic procedure was developed, which led to less scarring, less pain, lesser complications, and quicker recovery.

SILS Bariatric Procedures

So what is SILS? More and more surgeons now use this technique to fit a lap band, which is a silicone band that is placed around the stomach, after which it is filled in order to constrict the stomach, leaving just a small pouch accessible to the patient. It is a reversible and adjustable procedure, which is one of the reasons why it is very popular. SILS can also be used for the vertical sleeve gastrectomy, however, which is a different procedure as it actually removes 85% of the patient’s stomach in order to limit their food intake. It is a preferred procedure over the traditional gastric bypass because patients are less likely to develop vitamin deficiencies and various other problems. If done through SILS, recovery time is quicker and patients experience less pain as well.

Is SILS Perfect?

No procedure is perfect, but SILS comes pretty close. That being said, it is also far more challenging for surgeons, because of the technical difficulties that it presents. Furthermore, the SILS entry point is usually on the belly button, which improves cosmetic outcomes. This, in turn, means that the distance to the stomach is greatly increased. As a result, surgeons must retrain in SILS before they offer it as a procedure to their patients. This is also because new tools are being developed to make SILS easier and doctors have to practice using those. If you are considering a lap band or other type of gastric procedure, do ask your surgeon about whether or not they are able to offer SILS and, if so, whether you are a good candidate for it.