Adjustable Gastric Band
Adjustable Gastric Band, also called lap band surgery, is quickly losing popularity due to a high re-operation rate. But the procedure still has a lot going for it that’s not available with any other surgery. So you might be asking yourself what is lap band surgery? Let’s check it out…
What is lap band surgery?
Lap band surgery works by wrapping a silicone and Silastic band around the top part of the stomach and sewing it into place.
The inner surface of the band has a balloon attached (imagine the inside of a bicycle tire) which is connected to a tube that leads to a half-dollar-sized port above the abdominal muscles (but below the skin). This balloon is where saline solution will be “filled” and “unfilled” during the recovery period until your ideal tightness is found.
Because the procedure works by shrinking your stomach to make you feel full sooner, it is known as “restrictive.”
The entire procedure usually takes about an hour to complete, and the procedure is either performed on an outpatient basis (go home the same day) or inpatient basis with one night in the hospital.
Lap Band Surgery Vs. Other Procedures: Pros & Cons
Bariatric lap band surgery is better than other procedures in four ways…
“Lap band surgery is better than other procedures in 4 ways, but it also has 4 trade-offs.”
- It has less severe short-term complications
- The overall cost of lap band surgery is typically lower
- The band is adjustable
- It is relatively easy to reverse the procedure
The four main trade offs are…
- You’re likely to lose 15% to 25% less weight on average than other procedures, and weight loss is much more unpredictable
- It requires more follow-up visits with your doctor – 10 to 15 in the first year, 4 to 6 in year 2 and two or three per year thereafter
- It has more minor and annoying complications
- It has a much higher rate of re-operation and long-term complications – as many as one in three patients or more eventually have their bands removed due to complications
What are the risk with the surgery?
Serious complications are far less common immediately following lap band surgery than with other procedures. Again, the trade off is a much higher rate of minor and annoying problems along with more reoperations over the long-term. Some of the most common complications and/or problems with lap band surgery include:
- Band problems
- Blood clots
- Bowel function changes
- Bowel perforations
- Esophageal dilation
- Food trapping
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Hiatal hernia
- Indigestion (Dyspepsia)
- Intolerance to certain foods
- Nausea and vomiting
- Port problems
- Pouch dilation
What life-changing events can occur after lap band surgery?
- Addiction swapping, replacing your food addiction with another addiction (like drugs, shopping, etc…)
- Divorce, relationship problems
- Need for additional operations because of problems with weight loss
- Multiple adjustments on the lap band, which are required to be done in your doctor’s office
- Failure to lose enough weight if you snack on high-calorie foods and don’t exercise
After lap band surgery, now what do I do?
It’s important to stop and change your unhealthy habits right away. For most of us this includes:
- Addressing your addictive personalities and relationship issues
- Exercising daily
- Drinking water daily (and lots of it)
- Taking daily vitamin supplements (for the rest of your life)
- Eating a healthy diet with 6 small meals per day
- Sleeping 8 hours a night to allow your body to heal itself (we do put it through a lot during the day)
- Enjoy your new body that allows you to do even more than before
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