What is Lap Band Surgery?
Lap band surgery makes the stomach smaller. Because it puts a limit on the amount of food the stomach can hold, a person feels fuller and eats less. Eating less over time can result in significant loss of weight. It is one weight loss option often recommended for obese patients and performed by a bariatric surgeon.
Lap Band™ is a branded trademark name for the system developed by Apollo Endosurgery, Inc. Another in-use system is the Realize Band. You may also have heard the terms adjustable gastric banding surgery, laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, and gastric banding to refer to the same procedure utilizing different systems – all have the effect of reducing the size of the stomach.
During surgery, small incisions in the belly are made to insert surgical tools and a camera. The surgeon then wraps a banding device around the top of the stomach. This “ring” can is adjusted over time to make it tighter or looser through the use of a tube and an under-skin access port. The Lap Band™ system uses the addition and removal of a saline solution to adjust the size of the band after insertion.
The healing process begins immediately after surgery. Usually, you will experience discomfort, soreness, and some pain that will be managed by your doctor with pain medications.
Post-surgery, you will need to adjust your eating habits to be comfortable. Follow the instructions your doctor gives you to avoid problems such as vomiting and constipation. Drink fluids as prescribed and add solid foods as your doctor instructs. Your band will be adjusted once you are tolerating solid foods well by your surgeon to facilitate weight loss. Your surgeon may make small adjustments (either tighter or looser) to your band over the first few months to achieve a good balance between weight loss and your comfort. Good nutrition is critical and your doctor will suggest supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals from now on.
A gastric banding procedure is a tool to help people with significant weight problems lose weight so that they can have healthier, more active lives. It is by no means a quick fix, and there are risks associated with these procedures that include infection, bleeding, blood clots, pulmonary embolism and more. Other complications may include esophagitis, nutritional deficiencies, a band that slips out of place, food obstructions or expanding of the esophagus if food backs up into the esophagus that may lead to other problems. Following instructions and adhering to your doctor’s follow-up schedule will help keep your surgeon informed of how you are doing after surgery and ahead of any complications that might occur.
Banding is an effective way to lose weight for people that have had difficulty losing weight with diet, exercise or medication. It produces slower weight loss than other surgical procedures, but some people report that they are still losing pounds up to three years after surgery. Banding is a solution for those that have life-threatening conditions caused by their weight or issues related to mobility that are weight-related.
Your lap band surgeon will be able to advise you if banding surgery is appropriate to reach your weight goals and to improve your health. He or she will guide you every step of the way, before and after surgery, to help you lead the healthy lifestyle you have always dreamed of.