The Lap-Band®, or Laparoscopic Gastric Banding, is an adjustable gastric banding system that causes weight loss by restricting the amount of food that can be eaten. Lap-Band® bariatric surgery is performed laparoscopically, which means five to six small incisions are made to insert a small camera and tools needed to perform the operation.
The Lap-Band® is placed around the top portion of the stomach. The band can be tightened like a belt to form a small pouch that serves as a new, much-smaller stomach. The food from the stomach pouch empties into the lower part of the stomach and then resumes the normal digestive process.
The Lap-Band® System and Realize System are the only adjustable weight loss surgeries available in the United States. The diameter of the band is adjustable to meet your individual needs, which can change as you lose weight. The most appealing feature of the gastric binding is the ability to adjust it without additional surgery, allowing a proper fit for every patient, allowing for proper weight loss.
The smaller stomach pouch limits the amount of food one can eat. It also creates a small outlet that slows the emptying process into the stomach and the intestines. As a result of Lap-Band® bariatric surgery, patients feel full sooner and are satisfied with smaller amounts of food; this results in weight loss.
The small pouch created by Lap-Band® surgery can hold about one cup of food. Food must be well chewed and eaten slowly. Eating more than the stomach pouch can hold may result in nausea and vomiting.
The Lap-Band® is connected by tubing to a port that is placed under the skin during surgery. This port is not visible. After the operation, the surgeon can adjust the amount of saline in the band by entering the port with a fine needle through the skin. The band can be inflated or deflated with saline solution, which affects the amount of food one is able to consume and modulates the weight-loss effect.
In Lap-Band® surgery:
- no stomach staples are used
- no part of the stomach or intestine is removed
- the digestive process remains intact
Lap-Band® surgery takes 45 to 60 minutes and patients generally spend one day in the hospital. Patients generally take one to three weeks off work. Weight loss is more gradual with Lap-Band than with gastric bypass. Lap-Band® can be adjusted or reversed, if needed. In recent years less bands are being done because the long-term results of the gastric bypass and gastric sleeve procedures have proven to be more effective than banding. And even though the banding procedure is adjustable, the adjustment process can cause issues in some patients.