What is LAP-BAND&Reg; Surgery?

A. Carter

For people who want to take off 100 pounds (about 45 kg) or more and for those who may need to augment their own will power after many attempts to lose weight, LAP-BAND® surgery has exploded as a popular option. The procedure takes its name from a medical device called the LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Banding System. The technology was was brought to market by California-based Allergan Inc. and it was the first adjustable gastric band approved in the United States by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

LAP-BAND® surgery is a that helps people lose weight.
LAP-BAND® surgery is a that helps people lose weight.

Despite a person’s level of desire, not everyone is a suitable candidate for the procedure. Eligibility criteria for LAP-BAND® surgery include a minimum age requirement of 18 years, a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher or that the potential recipient have been overweight for more than five years. Individuals with conditions that can improve with weight loss, such as diabetes, sleep apnea and obesity, also are potential candidates for LAP-BAND® surgery.

A scalpel is a small, sharp knife that is used for performing surgeries.
A scalpel is a small, sharp knife that is used for performing surgeries.

The LAP-BAND® is an inflatable, silicone device that is placed surgically around the top portion of the stomach, creating a second and smaller pouch. The new pouch holds less food and liquid and slows down the passage of meals into the lower part of the stomach. This helps people with the band feel hungry less often and feel full more quickly. Patients who undergo gastric banding procedures, such as LAP-BAND® surgery, lose weight at a slower pace than those who have gastric bypass surgery or other operations that remove or re-route portions of the digestive system.

Although LAP-BAND® surgery is considered a drastic move, the device can be adjusted or the procedure can be reversed. The stomach can be returned to its original condition by removing the band. Anyone thinking of having the operation should be aware of the potential for complications. Some patients have experienced regurgitation of food from the upper pouch, irritation of stomach tissues or even the development of an ulcer.

After LAP-BAND® surgery, which takes somewhere between 30 minutes and one hour typically, patients must follow specific diet and exercise instructions for taking off a targeted amount of weight and keeping it off. Food intake during the first 24 hours after the procedure is usually limited to clear liquids. The patient then graduates to soft and pureed foods an on to solid foods high in protein.

If approved for LAP-BAND® surgery, it can cost $15,000 US Dollars (USD) to $20,000 USD. Expect a series of exams and tests beforehand, as well as regular follow-ups in recovery and close monitoring during the first year after the operation. For a listing of LAP-BAND® surgeons and additional information on the procedure, visit their website.

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