The gastric band procedure (commonly known as Lap Band) is a restrictive weight loss surgery.The Lap Band was FDA approved for the treatment of morbid obesity in 2001 in the United States. Next to gastric bypass surgery, gastric banding is the second most frequently performed bariatric surgery.
- You should lose weight.
- It does not reduce hunger.
- You will have to make a long term dietary change after surgery.
- Its reversible but requires another surgery.
- The band remains for a lifetime.
- Snacking can lead to weight gain.
- You will not get dumping syndrome if you eat sugar like you could with gastric bypass surgery.
- Its a quick, minimally invasive surgery.
- You will likely improve most of your obesity related comorbidities.
- There are complications but they are typically less severe compared to other weight loss surgeries.
How Lap Gastric Banding Works
During surgery the Lap Band, made by Apollo Endosurgery Inc., is placed around the top portion of the stomach directly below the esophagus. A small port is inserted under the skin and fat and tubing is attached to the band. This allows the doctor to adjust the tightness of the band after surgery. The band is then filled with saline that fills the band and compresses it around this area of the stomach. Food then sits above this area giving the patient a full feeling until the food slowly makes its way into the rest of the stomach where it goes through the normal digestion process.
- The Lap Band is typically adjusted a few weeks after surgery.
- Your surgeon will fill the band with saline multiple times until a balance of restriction and ability to eat is achieved.
Lap Bands are successful when you change your diet and lifestyle. Constant snacking and unhealthy foods can lead to no weight loss or weight gain after weight loss.
Amount of Weight Loss from Lap Band Surgery
Lap Bands have a history of good long term weight loss based on clinical reporting. However, some patients lose little or no weight from lap gastric bands. Typically this is because dietary guidelines are not followed.
- 1 Year: 40% excess weight loss
- 3 Year: 43% excess weight loss
Obesity related comorbidities are also improved after surgery:
- Acid Reflux Disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep Apnea
Does the Lap Band Remain Forever?
While the Lap Band can be removed, it is typically only removed if there is a complication. Surgery is required to remove the band. If there is scarring or the band has eroded portions of the esophagus, the surgery to remove the band can be difficult.
When choosing the Lap Band it is assumed that the device will remain for the rest of your life.
Who is it for?
The gastric band procedure tends to work well for people who are committed to losing weight. If you are someone that drinks a lot of soda, milkshakes and generally has an addiction to food, this procedure might not be appropriate for you unless you are willing to make lifestyle changes. Why? Because its easy to cheat with the band. Its also reversible. There are people who eat constantly and eat small amounts of bad food (i.e. chips, shakes, and other fattening snacks). The band might not prevent you from doing this.
Does it work?
- Yes. But you must be prepared to make lifestyle changes. Lap Band surgery is not a quick fix and if you don’t change your diet and your lifestyle you will fail to lose much weight.
Complications from Lap Gastric Banding
Complication rates from surgery are low but can occur:
- Band slip.
- Infection of band or port.
- Bleeding Damage to esophagus or liver.
- Prices range from $9,000 USD to $22,000 USD.
- Its usually covered by insurance.
- Check your insurance carrier coverage for Lap Bands.
Lap band surgery can be a safe and effective tool to lose weight. Lifestyle change is important for long-term success. The Lap Band will help you get the weight off, but it’s up to you to keep it off. Permanent dietary changes along with an exercise program that can be maintained for life is required.
Long-term complication rates are higher than other bariatric surgery options. However, the rate of serious short term complication is very low.
While the Lap Band has decreased in popularity compared to other surgical options, it can still be an effective tool for those who are willing to make permanent changes.
Reviewed by Dr. Enrique F. Elli
Dr. Enrique F. Elli was one of the first surgeons trained in a two-year fellowship in Robotics and Bariatric Surgery at the Minimally Invasive Surgery Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Dr. Elli completed his general surgery residency at the Department of Surgery at UIC.
He was previously trained at the University of Buenos Aires, where he obtained his title of Gastrointestinal Surgeon by the Argentinean Surgical Association. He later served as Coordinator of Bariatric Surgery at the University of Buenos Aires Teaching Hospital.
Dr. Elli joined the division of General, Minimally Invasive, and Robotic Surgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he acts as an Assistant Professor in Surgery.
He has broad experience in the entire range of general and minimally invasive surgery, with special attention on robotics, foregut surgery, hepatobiliary, solid organ, and hernia repair, as well as bariatric surgery offering minimally invasive LAP-BAND®, gastric bypass, and sleeve gastrectomies. Dr. Elli is also skilled in single incision laparoscopic surgery and LINX® reflux surgery.
He has more than 12 years of experience in bariatric surgery, especially LAP-BAND surgery, being one of the first bariatric surgeons during his training to perform outpatient LAP-BAND surgery. Dr. Elli joined the division of General, Minimally Invasive, and Robotic Surgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he acts as an Assistant Professor in Surgery and a Chief of Bariatric Surgery.