The gastric band system, or Lap-Band, is a weight loss procedure that involves the use of a flexible band placed around the upper portion of the stomach. The gastric band system creates a small pouch, restricting the amount of food that you are able to eat in one sitting.
The gastric band system is adjustable as you continue through your weight loss process.
The gastric band system is placed while you are under anesthesia, so you are unaware of any discomfort during the procedure. Small incisions are used to complete the procedure laparoscopically. The band separates the upper and lower parts of your stomach once it is placed, and the procedure only takes about 30 to 60 minutes. A small port is placed into your abdomen, which is the access point for the saline solution that is used to make adjustments to the gastric band in the future.
The gastric band system contains silicon for flexibility. The outside of the band is made up of a balloon that is able to be inflated with a saline solution. Inflating the balloon makes the band tighter and the pouch in your stomach smaller. If you are not losing weight as rapidly as expected after your procedure, the doctor might tighten the band in order to encourage your results. Likewise, removing some of the saline solution from the band can loosen the pouch and allow you to eat more. The possibility for adjustments works well for patients who have trouble eating, get full too quickly, or are not seeing optimal results.
Am I a Candidate?
Your weight loss surgeon may suggest the gastric band system if you are obese and are not losing weight through traditional methods. Most patients who have the gastric band procedure have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher. However, if you have a BMI of at least 35 and a condition that seriously affects your health, such as asthma or sleep apnea, you may qualify. Your doctor can help you determine if the gastric band system is the optimal weight loss procedure for you.
Most patients lose weight gradually in the three years following their weight loss surgery.* The gastric band system can help you to lose 33 to 50 percent of your excess body weight, although these results may vary.*
You can help your weight loss progress along by following the diet and physical activity suggestions outlined by your doctor. If you are not accustomed to exercise, your doctor will provide you with a plan that helps you to get started. You can encourage your weight loss process by keeping up with your regular follow-up appointments, which allow your doctor to gauge your progress and adjust the gastric band if needed.