The idea behind Lap-Band surgery is to create a controlled and adjustable small pouch in the upper part of the stomach thus limiting food intake and inducing weight loss. The anatomy of the stomach is not altered in any way, unlike other procedures.
Some studies have documented weight loss similar to gastric bypass, while others have shown disappointing results. Some patients have required re-operation for long-term complications of the adjustable band, such as port problems, erosion and slippage, or inadequate weight loss. Conversion to another procedure may be more difficult technically and come with more risk of complications than a first time procedure. This is for people who are seriously and dangerously overweight, not those suffering cosmetic cellulite issues.
The Lap-Band Surgery Procedure
The Lap-Band device is inserted through 1cm incisions in the abdomen and placed around the upper stomach. The resulting pouch, or new stomach, dramatically reduces the functional capacity of the stomach. The band has an adjustable balloon on the inside.
The operation can last between 30 minutes and an hour and is performed under general anesthesia.
Recovery From Lap-Band Surgery
A Lap-Band patient can expect to resume regular work within two to three weeks after surgery. During this period the patient must stick to recovery guidelines or risk serious complications. You must only eat recommended foods to allow the stomach to heal completely from the surgery. In the first 48 hours after surgery, you will only be allowed liquids and then only according to a strict schedule. You will be able to start eating solid foods again in your second week, but must stick to your doctor-recommended diet.
Cost of Lap-Band Surgery
Lap-Band surgery will generally be covered by insurance, but check with your insurer for specifics. Costs of Lap-Band surgery vary according to many factors including type of bypass procedure (laparoscopic or open) and how long you are must stay in the hospital. One survey showed the average charge for a Lap-Band procedure to be $17,500.
Risks of Lap-Band Surgery
Lap-band surgery carries the following risks: the port may leak or twist and require an operation to correct the problem, you may not feel full or satisfied after you eat, the band may move or slip, and weight loss will be slower than that following Roux-en-Y-gastric bypass surgery. Some patients have required re-operation for long-term complications of the adjustable band, such as port problems, erosion and slippage, or inadequate weight loss.