Lap-Band Surgery

Obesity, defined as having a BMI over 30, is a major concern in America. Therefore, bariatric surgeries, like lap-band surgery, are increasingly more common.

Gastric Banding

Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, or LAGB, is a procedure that uses a laparoscope to place an adjustable belt around the upper portion of the stomach.

This band is made of silicone and can be tightened by adding saline into the band through a port placed under the skin of the abdomen.

This port can also remove saline from the band. While there are other companies that make gastric banding devices, the lap-band is the most common.

How it Works

In addition to restricting the size of the stomach and the amount the stomach can hold, lap band surgery also slows the passage of food to the intestine. This tells the brain that you are full and satisfied with the consumption of less food.

Candidates for Lap-Band

Typically, to be eligible for lap-band you need to have a BMI of 40 or more, or at least 100 pounds from their ideal weight.

People with a BMI of 35 or more accompanied with obesity-related medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, are also good candidates.

Generally, providers want to see that you have a history of failed weight loss. This procedure is only for adults and patients must understand the procedure and be committed to adhering to a strict lifestyle change. Lap-band surgery isn’t right for everyone.

Your provider will do an in-depth evaluation to make sure that you are healthy enough for the procedure.

During the Procedure

Lap-band is done under full general anesthesia. This procedure takes one to two hours to perform and is done laparoscopically. The provider will make three-to-five small incisions in your abdomen and insert the laparoscope and other surgical tools.

This allows the surgeon to precisely place the gastric band and suture it into place. Then the port is placed in the abdomen and secured with sutures as well.


Recovery varies from one person to the next. However, lap-band generally offers a short hospital stay and quicker recovery than gastric bypass procedures. Most people return to work one week after surgery and resume normal activities after six weeks.


After surgery, there is a healing period before the first adjustment takes place. This usually around six-to-eight weeks. Prior to your first fill, you may not notice a change in appetite.

During the first fill, saline will be injected into the port. This is painless and is performed by the surgeon. These adjustments are used to enhance weight loss and can also be used to help you overcome side effects such as nausea and vomiting.

Lifestyle Changes

After surgery, you will have some pain and discomfort. This is easily controlled with medications. After around six-to-eight weeks you can return to normal activities.

Weight loss with lap-band is a gradual process. Initially, it may be drastic, but it will slow down over the long term. Of course, your food choices and activity level will impact your weight loss rate.

Typically, weight loss tends to slow significantly around 18 months after surgery. On average, people lose 40% of their excess weight within the first year and an additional 10-20% in the second year.

Side Effects of Lap-Band

Common side effects of lap-band surgery include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Ulceration at the band site
  • Esophageal reflux
  • Weight regain
  • Dehydration
  • Constipation

Risks and Complications

Lap band has a low risk of surgical complications compared to other bariatric surgeries. Complications may include infection, bleeding, pain, and slipping or eroding of the band.

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