The Lap Band Adjustable Gastric Banding System is designed to reduce the size of the stomach so it will hold less food, facilitating weight loss in morbidly obese patients.
Candidates For The Lap Band
While many obese patients can benefit from Lap Band surgery, it is not always an appropriate choice for every obese patient. Certain criteria must be met before Lap Band surgery is performed to ensure that the patient will reap its full benefits. Patients, between the ages of 18 and 65, will be evaluated in terms of the following criteria.
Candidates must be approximately 80 to 100 pounds overweight, having a body mass index, or BMI, of 40 or higher, or have a BMI of 30 or higher combined with a serious obesity-related medical condition. In addition, patients preparing to undergo LAP-BAND surgery should have been overweight for at least five years and have been unsuccessful in nonsurgical methods of weight loss.
While Lap Band procedures are designed to greatly improve overall health through weight loss, there are certain medical problems which may be exacerbated by this surgery. It is not recommended for patients with particular gastrointestinal disorders, such as ulcers or Crohn’s disease, or with some types of heart, lung or kidney disease.
It is important that patients be prepared psychologically for a Lap Band procedure. Underlying psychological or psychiatric disturbances, such as an eating disorders, which may interfere with a successful post-surgical outcome, must be ruled out.
Compliance With Lifestyle Changes
Patients for whom Lap Band surgery is considered appropriate must be committed not only to losing weight, but to making permanent lifestyle changes. Counseling before and after the Lap Band procedure is necessary to help ensure the patient’s compliance with the weight loss program. The patient will have to adjust to a diet low in fat and calories and participate in regular exercise in order for the procedure to work long term.
Patients who are pregnant are not candidates for LAP-BAND surgery.
Advantages Of The Lap Band Procedure
Lap Band surgery has several distinct advantages than other bariatric procedures. These advantages may make this operation more appealing to many individual patients. The LAP-BAND medical device is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for adults age 18 and older who have not been able to lose weight with non-surgical methods or who have a health condition related to their obesity. Additional advantages include:
- Less Invasive
Lap Band surgery has a low rate of complications and mortality than other bariatric surgical procedures. Not only do most patients see a rapid, but safe, loss of weight after Lap Band surgery, but in the majority of cases their overall health and quality of life improves. As with other bariatric procedures, obesity-related medical conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension or asthma, tend to abate or disappear after Lap Band surgery. In a tong-term study, severely obese patients have lost an average of 60 percent of excess weight 5 years after their Lap Band surgery.
The Lap Band Procedure
This laparoscopic bariatric surgery involves the placement of a hollow doughnut-shaped tube around the upper part of the stomach which is then filled with a saline solution to restrict the amount of food the stomach can hold. This means that the patient will feel full faster, eat less and lose weight.The surgeon positions the gastric band around the upper part of the stomach and fastens it with a lock to hold it in place. An access port is placed in the patient’s abdomen so that the tightness of the band can be adjusted by adding or removing saline. This process is known as inflating or deflating and can be performed throughout the patient’s life as deemed necessary. While minimally invasive, the Lap Band procedure is performed under general anesthesia.
Risks Of Lap Band Procedure
There are certain risks associated particularly with Lap Band surgery which may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach obstruction
- Band leakage, erosion, or slippage
- Dilation of the esophagus
While the Lap Band procedure is considered safer than other weight loss surgeries, there are certain risks associated with any type of surgical procedure. Though rare, these may include excessive bleeding, blood clot, adverse reaction to anesthesia or medication, breathing problems or post-surgical infection.
Recovery From The Lap Band Procedure
After Lap Band surgery, patients can usually return home within 24 hours. Most patients can return to work after 1 week, and may begin an exercise program after 4 to 6 weeks. Once the patient has resumed eating a regular diet, usually after a few weeks, it is recommended that small quantities be consumed at each meal to prevent discomfort or complications. In addition to adhering to a healthy diet and a program of regular exercise, it is recommended that the patient continue with counseling to maintain weight loss.