Photograph of Lap-Band Gastric Banding System for Weight Loss

In this procedure, a hollow band made of special material is placed around a small portion of the upper stomach, creating a small pouch and a narrow passage, or stoma, into the larger remainder of the stomach. The band is then inflated with a saline (salt) solution through a reservoir implanted beneath the skin during surgery. The band can be tightened or loosened over time to change the size of the passage by increasing or decreasing the amount of saline solution. When a patient eats, the pouch, or “new” stomach, fills quickly with solid food and empties slowly to relieve hunger and produce a feeling of fullness. Overeating results in pain or vomiting.

Although restrictive operations lead to weight loss in almost all patients, they are less successful than malabsorptive operations in achieving substantial, long-term weight loss. Some patients regain weight. Others are unable to adjust their eating habits and fail to lose the desired weight. Successful results depend on the patient’s willingness to adopt a long-term plan of healthy eating and regular physical activity.

Illustration of laparoscopic placement of Lap-Band around stomach

Expected Weight Loss

Using the LAP-BAND, a patient can expect to lose roughly 40 percent to 50 percent of excess weight over two years.

Benefits of LAP-BAND Surgery

Laparoscopic approach offers faster recovery, fewer complications

LAP-BAND surgery is performed laparoscopically, which means the procedure doesn’t require incisions. Laparoscopic surgery generally offers a shorter operative time, less scarring and a faster recovery; patients generally can return to work after one week. One of the major benefits of the LAP-BAND is the ability to adjust the band to the individual patient's needs. In addition, the band can be removed through a minimally invasive procedure. Compared to gastric bypass surgery, the LAP-BAND procedure typically allows patients to eat a more varied diet.

Surgical Risks

Surgeons with a great deal of LAP-BAND experience report fewer complications

First, you should know that all surgical procedures have risks, particularly for morbidly obese individuals. Discuss potential risks of surgery with your surgeon so that you are prepared to make an informed choice.

An adjustable silicone band is placed around the upper part of the stomach

There is a risk of gastric perforation (tear in the stomach wall) during or after the procedure that might require another surgery. In a clinical trial, the most common post-operative complications included mild, moderate and severe nausea and vomiting, gastroesophageal reflux, band slippage/pouch stretching and stoma obstruction.

Finally, you should know that surgeons with more experience performing this procedure report fewer complications.

Reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional.

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