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Lap-Band (Gastric Banding)

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LAP-BAND® is an implant that wraps around your stomach to reduce one’s weight. Lap Band Surgery is part of the gastric banding surgery family and is currently the most popular weight loss surgery option. Lap Banding Surgery provides people suffering from obesity a tried and true method to lose weight.

Why is LAP-BAND® So Successful?

Lap Band Surgery is successful for a number of reasons. First, it’s adjustable and reversible; the LAP-BAND is able to adjust for patients as a way to manage their weight loss. Second, it’s less invasive then other weight loss surgery options. Third, it’s the less expensive.

Lap Band Surgery is Adjustable. Lap Band Surgery is completely reversible. By adjusting the Lap Band, patients are able lose weight effectively. By adjusting the band throughout the whole weight loss process, patients are able to get down to their desired weight effectively.

Lap Band is Less Invasive. Lap Band surgery is done laparoscopically (also known as keyhole surgery). A large incision is not required. The stomach area is accessed via four to six tiny incisions (1cm) which are then closed with self- dissolving sutures. Because LAP-BAND system is less invasive, there are reduced risks and complications

The Adjustable Gastric Band operation is performed under general anesthesia and can last from 30 minutes to over an hour.

Lap Band is Inexpensive. The cost of Lap Band Surgery is less than other bariatric (weight loss) surgeries and financing is available.

The LAP-BAND® System was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2001 for use in weight reduction for severely obese adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more, or for adults with a BMI of at least 35 plus at least one severe obesity-related health condition, such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and asthma.

Lap Band is Being Used As a Tool To Rescue Surgeries. With the proliferation of bariatric surgeries, there have been increasing numbers of unsuccessful attempts at losing weight. With failed bariatric surgeries from year’s past, Lap-Band along with Gastric Sleeve have become much tools to help surgeons correct previous surgeries — known as rescue surgeries.

How does Lap-Band System Work?

How does the LAP-BAND System work? Your body gets energy from food while it passes through the alimentary canal. This consists of the mouth, the esophagus, the stomach, and the small and large intestines. Digestion starts in the mouth with chewing and the addition of saliva.

After the food passes through the esophagus, this process continues in the stomach. The stomach then provides temporary storage for food. Gastric juices, which contain enzymes, break down the food. This way, energy can be carried through the body by the blood.


The LAP-BAND System’s adjustable band is a silicone elastomer hollow ring filled with saline and placed around the upper part of the stomach. This creates a new small stomach pouch, with the larger part of the stomach below the band. This way, the food storage area in the stomach is reduced.

The pouch above the band can hold only a small amount of food. The band also controls the stoma (stomach outlet) between the two parts of the stomach. The size of the opening between the two parts of the stomach controls the flow rate of the food from the upper to the lower part of the stomach. This lets you feel full sooner. The feeling also lasts longer.

To change the size of the stoma, the inner surface of the band can be adjusted by adding or removing saline. This process is called inflating or deflating. Saline is a salty solution like other fluids in your body.

The band is connected by a tube to a reservoir placed beneath the skin during surgery. Later, the surgeon can control the amount of saline in the band by piercing the reservoir through the skin with a fine needle. If the band is too loose and weight loss too small, adding more saline can reduce the size of the stoma. If the band is too tight, the surgeon will remove some saline.

This too can be done without more surgery. Being able to adjust the band is a unique feature of the LAP-BAND System and is a standard part of the follow-up. If adjusting the band does not help you lose weight the way you and your doctor want it to, or if the band is still too tight, another surgery may be needed. The band position on the stomach can be changed, or the size of the upper stomach pouch can be reduced.

Placement of the Lap-Band

The LAP-BAND System is usually placed laparoscopically. Laparoscopic surgery requires general anesthesia. First the bariatric surgeon makes a few small incisions in the abdominal wall and inserts narrow, hollow tubes. Thin surgical instruments are then passed through the tubes. The surgeon can see inside the abdomen by using a small camera that also goes through the tubes. The picture the camera takes is shown on a monitor that is like a TV screen. This technique is called “laparoscopy” and is considered “minimally invasive.”


A small tunnel is made from the top of the stomach. Then the band is pulled around the stomach to form a ring. The band has a locking part that securely holds the band in a circle the stomach.

There are clear advantages to this kind of surgery. In an “open” surgery, a larger incision is made. After laparoscopic surgery, most people feel much less pain. There are fewer wound complications. Patients also recover faster and can resume normal activities sooner.

Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, the surgeon may need to make the larger incision to place the LAP-BAND System. The surgeon may need to decide this during the operation. Both techniques are discussed in this web page. You and your doctor should decide together what plan is best for you.

Details of the Lap-Band

The LAP-BAND System is an aid to help you achieve longer-lasting weight loss. It does this by limiting how much you can eat, reducing your appetite, and slowing digestion. You should still remember, though, that the LAP-BAND System by itself will not solve your problem of severe obesity. Nor will it ensure that you reach your goal weight or even lose weight.


The amount of weight you lose depends both on the band and on your motivation and commitment to a new lifestyle and eating habits.

What if the LAP-BAND System needs to be removed?

If there is a problem with the band, or if you can’t lose enough weight or adjust to the new eating habits, your surgeon may decide to remove the band. That decision will come after your surgeon consults with you. Removing the LAP-BAND System will most likely restore your stomach to its original form. Also, the digestive tract will again function normally. Please keep in mind, though, that when the band is removed, your weight will likely increase.

Causes for Removal and Exchanging of the band

  • Slippage Migration Dilatation of the upper pouch Reaction to a foreign bpdy Hemorrhage Intolerance Gastric perforation Emotional issues

How Much Weight Can I Lose With Lap-Band System

The average weight loss in the United States clinical study was approximately 36-38% of excess weight, 2 and 3 years after surgery. A few people lost up to 100% of their excess weight, some did not lose any weight, and a few got heavier. The following table includes information about how much weight patients lost in the U.S. study. Weight loss is described in terms of the percent of the excess weight a person lost (EWL = Weight Loss/Excess Weight X 100).

Excess Weight Loss at 3 Years
All Patients Diabetic Patients Super Obese Patients
(BMI of at least 50)
% # patients % # patients % # patients
Gained over 5% EWL 2% 4 4% 1 0% 0
No change +- 5% EWL 5% 9 0 0 9% 5
Lost at least 25% EWL 62% 110 50% 12 58% 32
Lost at least 33% EWL 52% 93 46% 11 53% 29
Lost at least 50% EWL 22% 39 13% 3 15% 8
Lost at least 75% EWL 10% 18 8% 2 4% 2
Total number of patients 178 24 55

Assume that you weigh 330 pounds. Also assume that for your height your ideal weight is 155 pounds. That means you weigh 175 pounds more than your ideal weight. 38% of 175 pounds is 66.5 pounds.

What are the Risks of Lap Band Surgery

Like all bariatric surgeries, LAP-BAND surgery comes with risks. In considering the risks and complications of Lap Band Surgery, it’s important to realize that weight loss surgery is an investment in your personal health.

In order to fully understand the risks, we need to focus on the two primary types of risks: risks associated with surgery in general and risks associated with the LAP-BAND system.

List of Bariatric Surgery Risks

Risks of surgery are dependent on the individuals undergoing surgery. The more healthier the patient is the fewer risks they face. But, for example if the patient is overweight or significantly overweight, they will be facing more risks.

Failure of Optimal Weight Loss: While most patients do lose adequate weight loss, there is always the risk that weight loss may not occur at the desired rate.

  • Death (freq: 0.3%) Pulmonary Embolism (freq: 1%) Gastrointestinal Tract Leak (freq: 1%) Conversion to Open Procedure (freq: 0.5%) Bowel Obstruction (freq: 1-3%) Stricture (freq: 2%) Bleeding (freq: 2%) Ulcer (freq: 2%) Gallstones (freq: 3%) Infections
  • Protein Deficiency, Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency Too Much Weight Loss – Chronic Symptoms of Nausea, Vomiting, Abdominal Pain Body Image – Emotional Loss – Depression Nerve Problems Low Blood Sugars (Hypoglycemia) Kidney Failure Kidney Stones Complications from Anesthesia

List of LAP-BAND System Risks

Complications associated with the Lap Band System itself can also appear. Lap Band implant can be a cause to minor and major risks.

  • LAP-Band Erosian, Slippage, Leakage Esophagitis Inflammation, Irritation, or Swelling of the Esophagus Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Port Complications: Displacement, Leakage and Infection Stoma blockage Stomach Complications: Pouch Enlargement, Slippage Tubing Complications: Disconnection from port, Leakage

Adjustments of Lap-Band

Lap Band Surgery is the most common bariatric surgery in the world. Lap-Band is the only bariatric surgery approved by the FDA because the Lap-Band is an implant. Worldwide over 500,000 people have had lap-band surgery, making the Lap-Band the most popular bariatric surgery.

How much does it cost to Adjust the Lap-Band?

To Adjust the lap band, physicians fill the lap-band that in turn makes the opening narrower or wider. Prices range from $100 to $300 depending on location, surgeon, experience, etc. Most times, the first year of adjustments are covered with the cost of the lap band.

Do you Qualify for Lap Band Surgery?

Lap Band Surgery is not for everybody. Some patients who think they are perfect candidates may not meet the necessary requirements. Each bariatric surgeon will find out whether they are right for lap band surgery. In this guide you’ ll find whether you meet the medical, financial and committed for Lap Band Surgery.

Medical Requirements for Lap Band Surgery

Typically the ideal candidate is between 35 and 40 BMI and have a health problem that is related to your obesity. Sometimes physicians will require patients to read and fully understand all of the risks and side effects of lap band surgery.

  • You are an adult (at least 18 years old). Your BMI is 40 or greater, or you weigh at least twice your ideal weight, or you weigh at least 100 pounds (45 kilos) more than your ideal weight, or you have a BMI greater than 35 with at least one obesity-related health condition. You have been overweight for more than five years. You are prepared to make major changes in your eating habits and lifestyle. You are willing to continue working with the specialist who is treating you. You do not drink alcohol in excess. Your serious attempts to lose weight have had only short-term success. You do not have any other disease that may have caused you to be overweight.

Financial Requirements for Lap Band Surgery

The cost of any surgery can be quite steep, especially if insurance doesn’t cover the bill. Financially, the cost of Lap Band can be an additional hurdle for candidates to become ready. Not only the cost of surgery, but the amount of time off of work has to be accounted for too.

Are you Committed to Changing Your Life?

After reading all of the information on Lap Band Surgery, you should be aware that the LAP-BAND system is not a quick fix for weight loss. Ideal candidates are committed to changing their dieting and lifestyles. There will be strict after Lap Band Diet, workout routines and schedules and ongoing visits to your bariatric surgeon.

Side Effects of Lap-Band

Lap Band Surgery may help you live a healthier life, but there may be some side effects. These side effects are minor, and should not be confused with the risks of lap band surgery. Risks include death, infections, blood clots and more serious matters; side effects are more benign things like nausea.

Lap band surgery is becoming less promoted and recommended by bariatric specialists. In the past 10 years, statistically, 60% of all lapband patients no longer have their lap band surgery. Lapband failure can be caused by major side effects including:

  • Erosion Slippage Pouch enlargement Poor access to adjustments A certain percentage of patients simply do not lose weight with lap bands

Known Side Effects from LAP-BAND Surgery

Nausea, and vomiting are known side effects (If you start vomiting, you should consult your physician).

Side effects caused by the LAP-BAND implant:

  • Band and Stomach Slippage – If the band slips from the upper part of the stomach Band Leakage – The band can spontaneously deflate because of leakage Band Rotting – Lap Band erode into the stomach

Side effects caused by the effects from the implant:

  • Stomach Pouch may become enlarged and may be twisted. Stomach Blocked – the stomach may also be blocked because of food, swelling, improper placement of the band, band being over-inflated, band or stomach slippage, stomach pouch twisting, stomach pouch enlargement. Esophagus can become enlarged, stretched or dilated.

Rapid weight loss may lead to malnutrition, anemia or related complications.

Questions to Ask your Bariatric Physician:

  • What is the risk of not losing adequate weight? How many LAP-BAND procedures have you done? Considering the risks involved, should I undergo Bariatric Surgery or try another weight loss option?
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