The Lap Band system is an adjustable gastric banding system that restricts the amount of food your stomach can hold at one time. This means that you can lose wait gradually and keep that weight off. This system works without any stomach cutting or stapling and is easily adjustable. You will feel full sooner and stay full for a longer period of time, allowing you to become a healthy person and stay healthy for many years to come.

What is Lap Band Surgery?

Lap Band surgery is less invasive than others surgeries such as stomach cutting and stomach stapling, and it is 10 times safer than other gastric surgeries like gastric bypass and gastric sleeves. It also has fewer risks and the recovery time is generally faster than other surgeries associated with weight loss. In a typical Lap Band surgery, the patient is put under general anesthesia and the system is placed during a laparoscopic procedure. Long, thin instruments are used to put the system into place through a small amount of tiny incisions. The surgery generally takes about an hour to perform and is done often on an outpatient basis. The system in implanted around the top part of the stomach, very much like a belt. A small access port is placed underneath the skin on your abdomen, which is connected to the system by a tube. Adjustments are made through this access port, most frequently during the first year the system is in place, by adding or removing a saline solution to achieve optimal weight loss. After the surgery is complete, you can expect to recover and be back to your daily routine after about a week’s time.

Who is a Candidate For This Surgery?

Only your doctor or surgeon can give you a complete evaluation to determine if the Lap Band system is right for you, but there are some qualifications to determine if you may be a candidate for this surgery. If you are 18 years old or over and at least 100 pounds overweight, you may qualify. You must be prepared to make major changes to your lifestyle and eating habits, and you must not be pregnant or drink alcohol in excess. If you do become pregnant after having the procedure done, your Lap Band can be adjusted while you are pregnant and changed back afterwards. If you have been overweight for more than 5 years and your previous attempts at losing weight have only shown short-term success, you may also qualify for surgery. You must also currently be healthy enough to recover from minimally invasive surgery. There are some factors that may cause you to not be a candidate, such as ulcers, heart or lung disease, portal hypertension, cirrhosis of the liver, alcohol or drug addiction, or certain other factors that your doctor will determine.

Benefits and Risks of This Type of Surgery

The benefits for this surgery are great and for most cases outweigh the risks. You will be able to take control of your weight and increase your health, allowing you to perform all the functions of daily life. However, just like all major surgeries, there are certain risks involved that you need to be aware of. One of the risks that every candidate for this procedure needs to know about is death. Although there were no deaths recorded in the US study, it is possible and can occur during or after the surgery. A tear in the stomach can also occur during or after the procedure, which can lead to the need for additional surgery. This happened in 1 percent of the patients studied. Age and excess weight can increase the risks for complications of surgery. There are also risks associated with medications used in the procedure and negative body responses to foreign material. Patients may also experience complications after the procedure is completed, such as nausea and vomiting, regurgitation, and band slippage. Most of these complications are not serious but may require hospitalization or additional operations. Studies have shown, however, that this system contains fewer risks than other gastric surgeries to treat obesity.

Average Weight Loss to Expect

The amount of weight you will lose with this surgery varies from patient to patient. The amount lost depends on several factors, and you need to be dedicated to your new lifestyle. Weight should be lost gradually, and sometimes a loss of two to three pounds a week can be attained, although the usual results show a loss of 1 pound per week during the first year after having the procedure done. Losing weight too quickly can be dangerous and may lead to other health problems. Studies have shown that patients typically lose weight at a greater rate during the first year the implant is in place.

Studies Done on This Surgery

Three peer review studies were conducted in the United States showing the results and effectiveness of this procedure. All three studies have shown that the amount of weight lost with the system is generally equal to that of gastric bypass surgery while incurring less risks and complications. The amount of time needed for recovery was significantly less than that of gastric bypass surgery, and it is up to 10 times safer than other procedures used to treat obesity. This system is the least invasive surgical procedure available to treat obesity, and the duration of hospital stay is dramatically shorter than other options. It is the only adjustable and reversible procedure to treat obesity. One study of 99 patients showed that after one year, there was an average loss of 44.4 percent of excess body weight. After surgery, patients were able to return to their normal activities in approximately seven days.

A detailed description of the lap band procedure and how it works can be found at the free encyclopedia, Wikipedia, located here.