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About the LAP-BAND® System
The LAP–BAND is an inflatable and adjustable gastric band designed to induce weight-loss, without stapling or cutting of the stomach or intestines. The band is placed laparoscopically around the upper portion of the stomach to create a small pouch, with the rest of the stomach below the band. By tightening or loosening the band with saline (via a reservoir placed beneath the skin), the size of the opening can be adjusted to control the rate at which food passes to the lower stomach, and from there to the intestines. The new small pouch and narrowed outlet limit stomach capacity and increase the feeling of fullness. This reduction in food intake results in weight loss.
Most adjustments to the band can be made in the doctor’s office. Prior to and after each adjustment, a UGI (radiological examination) may be required. A fine needle is passed through the skin into the reservoir and only takes a few minutes. If the reservoir is not easily felt, the adjustment will need to take place under fluoroscopy.
Weight loss following the LAP–BAND procedure often occurs more slowly than with gastric bypass. However, the procedure has fewer risks than gastric bypass and the weight loss achieved by most people meets the clinical objective — the loss of 50 to 60 percent of the excess pounds. Complications of the LAP–BAND procedure can include mechanical failure or breakage of the band, port and or tubing resulting in the need for replacement or removal of the band; infection of the port; difficulty in accessing port, requiring additional radiological examinations; reaction to the implantable device, slipping and/or erosion of the band; perforation of the stomach/esophagus, resulting in leaks leading to peritonitis.
How the LAP-BAND® System Works
The LAP-BAND System is a gastric banding system that helps you lose weight gradually and helps control weight by reducing the amount of food the stomach can hold at one time.
Unlike gastric bypass, the LAP-BAND System requires no cutting, stapling or intestinal re-routing. The procedure is performed laparoscopically by a surgeon. In the lap-band procedure, an adjustable silicone ring or band is placed around the top part of the stomach, creating a small one to two ounce pouch. The system includes a small port, which is placed beneath the skin allowing for adjustment of the band. Adjustments are made using a fine needle which is passed through the skin into the access port to add or subtract saline. This process usually takes only a few minutes and most patients say it is nearly painless.
Advantages of the LAP-BAND® System
- Minimally invasive.
- No cutting or stapling the stomach or intestinal re-routing.
- Performed on an out-patient basis.
- Successful long-term weight loss comparable to gastric bypass.
- More than 90% improvement or complete resolution of diabetes, sleep apnea, acid reflux and asthma.
- Shorter recovery time — most patients return to normal activities within 10 days.
Benefits of the LAP-BAND® System
- Satiety (feeling of fullness) — LAP-BAND System works by providing satiety, a feeling of fullness that lasts between meals and helps patients develop positive eating behaviors.
- Compatible with Pregnancy — The LAP-BAND can be adjusted to open the stomach outlet in order to accommodate increased nutritional need during pregnancy.
- Proven Safety — Compared to gastric bypass, the LAP-BAND® System has significantly fewer short- and long-term surgical risks.
Frequently Asked Questions for the LAP-BAND® System
- How long will it take to recover after surgery?
- How much weight will I lose?
- Does the LAP-BAND System require frequent visits to the doctor after surgery?
- Does the LAP-BAND System limit any physical activity?
- How is the LAP-BAND System adjusted?
- Do I have to be careful with the access port?
- Is the port visible?
- Can the LAP-BAND System be removed?
- What about becoming pregnant?
How long will it take to recover after surgery?
Patients typically spend less than 24 hours in the hospital when the lap-band surgery is performed laparoscopically. Most people return to work in one week and to regular routine and exercise in about four weeks.
How much weight will I lose?
Weight loss varies between patients and depends on several things. The LAP-BAND System needs to be in the correct position and the patient needs to be committed to a new lifestyle and eating habits. Some patients experience a two to three pound a week weight loss in the first year after the procedure, but one pound a week is a more realistic expectation. Gradual, steady weight loss with the LAP-BAND can be healthy and loosing weight too quickly can create health risks and lead to problems.
Does the LAP-BAND System require frequent visits to the doctor after surgery?
Check-ups after lap-band surgery are an important part of the follow-up. Many physicians see their patients weekly or biweekly during the first month and every four to 12 weeks for the first year. Adjustments may be made during some of the visits. It is normal for follow-up visits to be scheduled every three to six months during the second and third year following surgery.
How is the LAP-BAND System adjusted?
Adjustments to the LAP-BAND are often made using imaging equipment so that the access port can be clearly seen. Sometimes adjustment can be made in an outpatient office. A fine needle is passed through the skin into the access port to add or subtract saline.
Do I have to be careful with the access port?
The access port is positioned under the skin in the abdominal wall. After the incision has healed, there should not be any discomfort. If discomfort is persistent or continuous, you should see your physician.
What about becoming pregnant?
Sometimes, becoming pregnant can be easier after a woman loses weight. Once a woman is pregnant, the LAP-BAND can be loosened to accommodate increased nutritional needs. After pregnancy, the system may be tightened to resume losing weight.