LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Band Surgery
By using an adjustable band to reduce the size of the stomach, LAP-BAND® System surgery restricts the amount of food that can be eaten at any one time. The band is actually a tube that is filled with saline solution. The amount of solution can be adjusted, making the band tighter or looser, in order to control the size of the stomach and regulate weight loss. The LAP- BAND® System is a popular choice for patients who want assistance with weight loss without permanently affecting normal digestion.
The LAP-BAND® System Procedure
Through a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure, the adjustable gastric band is placed around the upper portion of the stomach. After LAP-BAND® System surgery, food will fill the small upper section of the stomach, satisfying the patient’s appetite much more quickly. In addition to decreasing the stomach’s volume, the band also constricts the outlet of food from the upper portion to the lower portion of the stomach, slowing digestion to keep the patient feeling full for a longer time. During the LAP-BAND® System surgery, a reservoir for saline solution is placed under the skin so that the band can easily be adjusted when needed.
Recovery After LAP-BAND® System Surgery
Most patients will spend 24 hours in the hospital following LAP BAND® surgery at our New York center, and normal activities can typically be resumed within a week. Full recovery may take up to six weeks. However, the rate of weight loss is usually slower with LAP-BAND® System surgery than with gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery. Therefore, it is critical for the patient to attend regular follow-up appointments so that the band can be adjusted to achieve optimal weight loss results.
Benefits of LAP-BAND® System Surgery
One of the main advantages of LAP-BAND® System surgery is that the procedure is reversible, unlike gastric bypass or sleeve surgery. The band can be placed and removed without permanently affecting normal digestion, and removal is accomplished with relative ease through an additional laparoscopic procedure. The surgery also has the advantage of allowing postoperative adjustment so that weight loss can be regulated. We typically recommend LAP-BAND® System surgery instead of gastric bypass or sleeve surgery for patients younger than 20 or older than 60, or for those who have a high risk of complications with more invasive types of bariatric surgery.
Risks and Complications of LAP-BAND® System Surgery
LAP BAND® System surgery has many of the same risks and complications as gastric bypass and sleeve surgery, including an increased risk of dietary deficiencies. Other complications sometimes associated with the LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Band procedure include:
- Gas bloat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Stomach wall deterioration
There are several rare yet serious conditions associated with LAP-BAND® System surgery that may require additional surgery. The band can cut into the stomach, or it can obstruct the stomach to too great a degree. Occasionally, the stomach pouch may stretch or the band may break or loosen, allowing the patient to overeat.