LAP-BAND® surgery is similar to gastric bypass because it physically changes the size of the stomach, but instead of staples or sutures, the surgeon uses an adjustable gastric band to reduce food intake. What makes the Lap Band so unique is its adjustability. There are no staples, sutures, or parts of the digestive tract moved or removed.
The LAP-BAND® procedure
Small incisions are made in the abdomen laparoscopically. The LAP-BAND® is placed around the top part of the stomach and held in place with sutures. A port attached to the LAP-BAND® is placed around the top half of the stomach inside the abdominal wall. The port's function is to inflate over time in order to speed up weight loss. Surgery takes about an hour, sometimes with an overnight stay in the hospital, depending on recovery.
LAP-BAND®, connecting tube, and port
The LAP-BAND® port
The port works with the injection of saline for the port to inflate. As it inflates around the stomach, the passage to the lower part of the stomach is restricted, causing a feeling of fullness. If the band feels too tight, visit your doctor to have him or her remove some of the fluid.
Most patients experience a 50 - 60% loss of excess body weight within two years after having the LAP-BAND® surgery. Weight loss requires following a strict nutritional plan, which will likely include being on a liquid diet for the first few weeks. Frequent follow-ups to the doctor for adjusting the LAP-BAND® are mandatory. Patients generally require six to eight LAP-BAND® adjustments during the first 18 months following LAP-BAND® surgery.
LAP-BAND® surgery risks
As with all other major weight loss surgeries, risks can occur. The following complications are possible with LAP-BAND® surgery:
- Bleeding, infection
- Slippage of the band around the stomach as weight loss occurs
- Heartburn or vomiting because of slippage
- Leakage and/or deflation of the band or tubing
- Stomach blockage or pouch enlargement
Get more information on bariatric surgery
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