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Adjustable Gastric Band

A Gastric Band restricts the amount of food the stomach can hold by placing an inflatable silicone band around the upper part of the stomach. The new, small upper stomach pouch limits the amount of food that can be consumed at one time, and a narrowed stomach outlet increases the time it takes for the stomach to empty. The subsequent reduction in food intake results in weight loss.

The Lap Gastric Band Surgery

Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) is a restrictive procedure, which involves placing a silicone band with an inflatable inner collar around the upper part of the stomach. The band is connected to a port that is placed under the abdominal skin and is used to inflate the balloon and adjust the gastric band. The inner diameter of the band can be adjusted according to weight loss by injecting saline through the port.

When the band is inflated, the gastric band tightens and decreases the upper part of the stomach, which ultimately decreases the amount of food passing through. When the balloon is deflated, the band deflates and loosens and the stomach regains its original shape and size. The gastric band slows the emptying of this pouch, prolonging this effect. Weight reduction occurs because the food remains in the stomach for a prolonged time creating a sensation of fullness and a lack of desire to eat.

Most patients are able to have the Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding surgery performed laparoscopically. Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgery technique that utilizes special tools inserted through small incisions, rather than cutting open the abdominal wall.

By performing the adjustable gastric banding surgery laparoscopically, patients can heal faster, recover quicker, experience less pain, and get released from the hospital sooner. LAGB is the simplest bariatric surgery to perform and requires less operating time than other procedures. The procedure is reversible and, if patients fail to lose adequate weight after laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, it can be converted to a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

Currently two types of gastric bands are on the market: the Lap-Band System and the newer Realize Band. Gastric banding surgery takes about one to one and a half hours. It can be done on an outpatient basis or may require a one-day hospital stay.

Advantages of Lap Gastric Band Surgery

There are a number of advantages to having the Lap-Band surgery performed as a weight loss option. When the procedure is successful, and the weight loss occurs, the control of diabetes improves. Most individuals start to show a decrease in blood cholesterol and an improvement in blood pressure. There is no cutting of any organs involved with this surgery and the gastric pouch can be adjusted. On average there is a weight loss of 20-50%, and best of all the procedure is reversible. This procedure has the lowest death rate compared to other weight loss procedures as well as the lowest risk of malnutrition.

Risks of the Lap Gastric Band Surgery

Using the LAP-BAND® System includes the same risks that come with all major surgeries. Weight loss is slower than gastric bypass. One can still eat high calorie food. Some or all of these disadvantages occur in 10-22% of patients, and about 10% of individuals require another surgery to correct the condition. The laparoscopic gastric banding is not a permanent procedure and does require either removal or replacement in the future. Best estimates indicate that at least 40% of patients undergoing this procedure lose less than half their excess body weight. Some of the risks associated are: slippage of the band around the stomach to an abnormal position, the band can erode into the stomach, the port may malfunction, the band may malfunction, and there is a risk of gastric perforation (a tear in the stomach wall) during or after the procedure that might lead to the need for another surgery.

Although these risks can occur, studies have shown that they have only happened in 1% of the patients. There are also risks that come with the medications and the methods used in the surgical procedure, and how your body responds to any foreign object implanted in it. There are also added risks in any operation for patients who are seriously overweight. Death is one of the risks and can occur any time during the operation or as a result of the operation. There were no deaths during or immediately after surgery in the U.S. study.