How the LAP-BAND Actually Works

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Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, also known as the LAP-BAND, can be an effective way for obese individuals to lose weight when other weight loss options have failed. The procedure is designed to reduce the size of the stomach and limit the amount of food that it can hold. The smaller stomach size causes you to feel full quicker, so that you eat smaller portions.

The Gastric Band Procedure

The gastric band procedure is minimally invasive and is typically performed on an outpatient basis in about an hour. The surgeon starts by making several small incisions in the abdomen that are used to insert a camera and surgical tools. A ring is placed around the top portion of the stomach. This ring has a thin tube attached to it that leads to an access port that will be implanted just under the skin. The port is used to add or remove saline that causes the band to tighten. This causes food to sit in the pouch so that you feel full longer before the food slowly enters the main part of the stomach where it goes through the normal digestive process. The actual saline will not be added for approximately four to six weeks when you have had a chance to fully recover from the surgery. You may need to have the amount of saline adjusted several times, especially during the first year, to get just the right amount of restriction.

The Gastric Band is a Tool for Weight Loss

It is important to remember that the LAP-BAND is not a quick fix, and it will only work if you commit to the necessary diet and lifestyle changes. For example, you will not lose weight as expected if you consistently overeat following your surgery, which can stretch the stomach pouch. You can also sabotage your weight loss if you regularly eat small amounts of high-fat or high-calorie foods. Your doctor or dietician will give you explicit instructions for your immediate post-surgery diet, how to transition to solid food, and the type of diet and exercise regimen you should follow to achieve the best weight loss results.

Expected Results Following Gastric Band Surgery

According to ObesityCoverage, patients who adhere to diet and exercise guidelines typically lose approximately 40 percent of their excess weight by the first year and 43 percent by the third year following surgery. These patients also show a significant reduction in obesity-related health conditions, including acid reflux, sleep apnea, and diabetes.