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Adjustable Gastric Banding


Adjustable gastric banding, better known as the LAP-BAND® System, is one of the most popular and successful weight loss surgeries available. (Over 850,000 procedures have been performed since 1996.) Surgeons with The Bridges Center for Surgical Weight Management frequently recommend the LAP-BAND System due to the technique’s effectiveness and many benefits, detailed below.

LAP-BAND surgery is laparoscopic, meaning the operation is done through tiny incisions on the abdomen–just 1.5-2.5 cm each. Your surgeon at The Bridges Center is able to view and complete the entire procedure with the assistance of a tiny camera inside the abdomen. Because there are no major incisions, most patients go home just a few hours after surgery and enjoy a relatively quick recovery.

Is Weight Loss Surgery for You?

How It Works

The purpose of the LAP-BAND System is to reduce the capacity of the stomach, which in turn reduces the amount of food you can eat. As a result, patients who have LAP-BAND surgery eat less, feel full faster and stay full longer. Ideally, these behaviors will lead to significant long-term weight loss.

During the surgery, the LAP-BAND System is placed inside the abdomen. Small saline-filled “pillows” using OMNIFORM® technology constrict the upper portion of the stomach, creating a smaller upper pouch. The new size of the stomach reduces food intake. One of the most recognized benefits of this procedure is that the gastric band is adjustable. Your physician can increase or decrease the amount of saline that fills the band via the Access Port, which is discreetly and comfortably placed just beneath the skin. More saline results in a smaller stomach pouch, while less saline increases the stomach size.

LAP-BAND System Results & Benefits

According to several studies…*

  • Patients experience an average loss of 65% of excess weight after one year
  • Patients with a BMI between 30 and 40.5 experience an average loss of 70% of excess weight after two years.
  • Severely obese patients experience an average loss of 65% of excess weight after five years.
  • LAP-BAND patients lose an average of six inches off the hips and waistline
  • Weight loss that results from gastric banding has been shown to improve or resolve several serious weight-related health issues, including asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • “Gastric banding was shown to be safer and less invasive than other weight loss surgeries.”

Other benefits to adjustable gastric banding include:

  • The procedure can be adjusted and reversed. No irreversible anatomical changes are made. (This is, perhaps, the most significant differentiating factor between adjustable gastric banding and other bariatric surgeries.)
  • Because food does not bypass the stomach as it does in some other procedures, there is no need to be concerned about protein-calorie malabsorption or vitamin/mineral deficiencies caused by malabsorption.
  • No rerouting of the intestinal tract.

Is Adjustable Gastric Banding Right for You?

As a patient at The Bridges Center for Surgical Weight Management, you will have the support of a full health care team with specialists in surgery, psychology, diet, physical therapy and other fields. Because The Bridges Center offers a wide range of solutions, patients are able to receive the form of care that’s not just “good enough,” but the best for their needs. The LAP-BAND System may be a good choice for patients who…

  • Are at least 18 years in age
  • Have a BMI of 40 or higher; weigh at least twice their ideal weight; weigh at least 100 lbs. more than their ideal weight
  • Have been overweight for 5+ years
  • Have made serious weight loss attempts with only short-term success
  • Do not have a disease that may have caused them to become overweight
  • Are prepared to make significant dietary and lifestyle changes
  • Are willing to continue treatment/management with a specialist in the years following surgery
  • Do not drink alcohol in excess

Adjustable gastric banding is not a good solution for patients who…*

  • Are under 18 years of age
  • Are pregnant
  • Have an alcohol and/or drug addiction
  • Have an inflammatory disease or condition of the GI tract (e.g. ulcers, Crohns disease, severe esophagitis)
  • Have severe heart/lung disease
  • Are at risk for bleeding in the esophagus or stomach
  • Have portal hypertension
  • Have certain anatomical abnormalities in parts of the upper digestive system
  • Have experienced a gastric injury during a previous surgery
  • Have an infection that could contaminate the operative area
  • Have cirrhosis
  • Have chronic pancreatitis
  • Have an autoimmune connective tissue disease or symptoms of such a disease (e.g. systemic lupus erythematosus or scleroderma)
  • Are undergoing long-term steroid treatment
  • Are allergic to materials in the LAP-BAND system
  • Are unable or unwilling to comply with dietary restrictions necessitated by the LAP-BAND system
  • Are unable to tolerate pain following device implantation

It is essential that patients who undergo LAP-BAND surgery (or any surgical weight loss procedure) are highly motivated to take on a proactive role in weight loss. While bariatric surgery is an excellent catalyst for dramatic weight loss, the patient’s willingness to follow through with diet and lifestyle changes is paramount.

What Risks Are Associated With the LAP-BAND System?

There are risks and drawbacks associated with the LAP-BAND System. Patients who undergo this procedure do not typically experience the same degree of rapid weight loss as patients who undergo sleeve vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG). However, it’s important to remember that all surgical weight loss procedures should be approached with a long-term view. Bariatric surgery is not a quick fix, but a lifelong commitment to a weight loss and maintenance journey.

Patients who undergo adjustable gastric banding surgery are exposed to the same risks that accompany all laparoscopic surgeries. Laparoscopic surgery puts patients at risk for damage to major blood vessels and organs, blood clots, and perforation of the esophagus or stomach during surgery. It is also worth nothing that, according to a U.S. Clinical Study, surgeons had to switch to an “open” procedure in approximately 5% of LAP-BAND procedures.

In addition to ordinary surgical risks (laparoscopic and open), patients should be aware of the risks of mechanical failure and a slipping or eroding band, which could require a second operation. Patients should also be informed that the LAP-BAND System requires follow-up adjustments.

The LAP-BAND System poses the following potential health risks and complications:

  • Stomach ulcers
  • Gastritis (irritation of the stomach tissue)
  • Gastric reflux
  • Heartburn
  • Bloating
  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
  • Dehydration
  • Constipation
  • Weight regain
  • Death

Can the LAP-BAND System Be Removed?

The LAP-BAND system is intended as a long-term implant. However, it may be removed or replaced if you experience adverse reactions or if the device is found insufficient by your physician in meeting weight loss goals. These are the only reasons why it would be necessary to remove a device. In the event that the band needs to be removed, it can typically be done laparoscopically (assuming it was placed in the same way). Because the adjustable gastric banding technique is relatively new as a surgical procedure, it’s unknown if devices will remain in place for a lifetime.

What Happens After Adjustable Gastric Banding Surgery?

General post-LAP-BAND surgery recommendations are as follows. However, you should follow the specific instructions provided by your bariatric surgeon at The Bridges Center. In the days immediately following the procedure, you will take small sips of water or suck on an ice cube for hydration. Clear liquids with some caloric value may also be taken.

At one to two weeks post-op, your stomach may be able to tolerate a liquid diet. Sugar-free popsicles, fruit juice, skim milk and clear broths and soups may be good options.

At three to four weeks post-op, your stomach is typically ready to graduate from liquids to pureed foods. Your health care team will talk to you about prioritizing protein-rich foods in your diet at this stage so as to maintain muscle. Mashed potatoes, peas, low-fat yogurt, and pureed skinless chicken or fish may be good options for getting protein into your system. Note that in this stage you may be advised to have foods that will not be a part of your regular diet with the LAP-BAND System. At this point in your journey, it’s more important to let the stomach adjust than it is to lose weight. If the protein-rich foods sit well with your stomach, then you may also add in fruits and vegetables.

At five weeks post-op, patients can transition from pureed foods to soft foods. Fish and ground turkey (cooked tenderly), along with non-pureed fruit and vegetables, can form the basis of a good soft foods diet at this stage. Be sure to eat small bites and chew thoroughly so as to not irritate the stomach. Gradually, you can replace soft foods with solid foods. However, seek the advice of your health care team at The Bridges Center as you make these transitions.

Approximately four to six weeks after surgery, you will have a follow-up appointment with your bariatric surgeon at The Bridges Center for a LAP-BAND System adjustment. During these follow-up appointments, which are completely normal and routine parts of having a LAP-BAND System, the surgeon increases or decreases the amount of saline in the band, using a thin needle via the access port. This decision is made based on a variety of factors, such as weight loss to-date, exercise routine, the amount of food you are currently able to comfortably eat, and the amount of saline already in the band (when the band is initially placed, it is usually unfilled or lightly filled with saline).

Life With the LAP-BAND System

General nutrition recommendations for patients with the LAP-BAND System:

  • Drink 6-8 cups of water per day
  • Limit drinking during and immediately after meals
  • Remember that the stoma opening with the LAP-BAND System is about the size of a dime. Chew food so that it passes into this opening easily.
  • Eat three small meals a day; learn what nutrients need to be a part of these meals.
  • Remember that your stomach with the LAP-BAND System can only hold approximately 2 oz. or one-quarter cup of food at a time.
  • Learn how to stop eating when hunger is gone or you feel comfortable.

Your weight loss surgeon at The Bridges Center will provide you with more specific guidelines for eating after LAP-BAND surgery.

It is also important to continue or begin an exercise routine following LAP-BAND surgery. Your health care team at The Bridges Center can advise you on getting daily exercise, such as walking or swimming.

Ultimately, your motivation is a key-driving factor behind your success with the LAP-BAND System. Commitment to dietary and exercise recommendations can have a tremendous impact on the procedure’s long-term success.

The LAP-BAND System In Phoenix Mesa, AZ

To learn more about the LAP-BAND System and whether it’s right for you, you are encouraged to attend a weight loss webinar or seminar at one of our East Valley locations. Learn about…

  • Obesity and its health risks
  • The Bridges Center’s proven program
  • Our professional health care team
  • Weight loss surgery options in Phoenix and Mesa

To register for a seminar, call 602-251-8828 or select the link below.

Attend a Weight Loss Seminar or Webinar

*Please note: Results are not 100% guaranteed and may vary from one person to another.


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Please note: Results are not 100% guaranteed and may vary from one person to another.

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