Adjustable Gastric Banding Or Lap Band

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Adjustable Gastric Banding (Lap Band)


Adjustable gastric banding is one the procedures for weight management approved by the FDA since 2001. It is ideally suited for individuals with morbid obesity i.e Body Mass Index of over 40 who have tried simpler methods of weight loss without success – the surgical alternative being a last resort. People with Body Mass index of between 35 and 40 may also consider having the procedure if they have obesity-related medical conditions.

The aim of adjustable gastric banding is to reduce the stomach capacity such that the individual would experience a feeling of fullness within a short interval of commencing eating.

However as the name implies the band can be adjusted around the stomach to decrease or increase the tension depending on the circumstances.

Adjustable gastric banding is also called lap band being a short form for laparoscopic gastric banding, because most surgeons perform the procedure now via key hole technique. The lap band as an obese surgery technique is purely restrictive in nature but not malabsorptive in its design.

The most common type of band used today is the inflatable silastic silicone prosthetic band. Your lap band surgeon will determine what type of band suits you most, taking into consideration the stomach physical appearance at the time of surgery.

How is adjustable gastric banding procedure or lap band performed performed?

As stated earlier most bariatric surgeons now perform the operation using key hole technique as opposed to open surgery because of the advantages of shorter stay in hospital and shorter recovery.

A small incision is made around the navel (belly button). A long instrument called trocar is introduced inside the belly after inflating the belly with carbon dioxide gas to create space in the belly for surgeon to work. Don’t worry the gas is safe and does you no harm.

A telescope is then introduced inside the tummy with a camera attached at the top of it. The camera images are then fed on to a video monitor through which the bariatric surgeon visualises the “inside of the tummy”.

That way he can see clearly what he is doing. Two more small incisions are made for more long shafted instruments to be introduced inside the belly to help move the contents of the belly for safe working.

The bariatric surgeon will then mobilise the stomach and sling the silicone band around the stomach around the upper part of it in a 360 degree manner. The band is then connected to an access port by a very slim tube.

This small access port is placed under the skin of your tummy. This port is the point through which fluid (usually sterile saline solution) is introduced through a needle to inflate or deflate the silicone gastric band.

When the surgeon is satisfied with the positioning of the band and the port, the gas is deflated from the tummy, the instruments removed and the small skin incisions stitched up.

 How does the adjustable gastric banding or lap band work?

After the lap band procedure is performed, you will make some visits to your doctor’s office for the band to be adjusted to the desired tension.

The idea behind the procedure is to reduce the stomach capacity by 85 – 90%. Sounds harsh, but morbid obesity requires drastic measures to ensure weight is lost in a controlled manner.

The band inserted by the bariatric surgeon creates a smaller upper stomach, (about the size of a golf ball), which is where the food you eat will collect and the band acting as a valve that lets through digested food to the rest of the alimentary canal. More importantly, the band is positioned at a point on the stomach to seriously reduce its volume.

The upper stomach (the pouch) on account of its small capacity sends messages of fullness to the brain soon after you start eating. The implication of this is that you consume less food. The food also takes longer to digest and the feeling of fullness last longer which means you eat less often.

Less food eaten, less often means you lose weight over time.

 Who is suitable person for adjustable gastric banding or lap band?

If you fall into the following category, then a lap band may be for you.


Who is not a suitable person for adjustable gastric banding or lap band?

The procedure is best avoided if you fall into the following category below:

 What are the benefits of adjustable gastric banding or lap band?

 What problems can arise with adjustable gastric banding or lap band?

 What care is provided after adjustable gastric banding operation?

All centers offering bariatric surgery should and do provide adequate post operative care and support. Medico-legally it is the right thing to do anyway.

Following the lap band operation, your diet will need to be adjusted. Initially you start off with liquid diet before graduating to semi-solid and finally solid diet.

How long you continue with each of those diets before moving on to the next, will depend on your progress and your doctor’s particular style.

You should note that adjustable gastric banding or lap band on its own will not let you lose weight unless you change the way you eat.

This operation must be accompanied by dietary behavioural modification for it to succeed. It is also imperative that you include an exercise regime to your weekly routine.

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