The LAP-BAND® System is a surgical weight-loss procedure in which an inflatable band is placed around the upper portion of the stomach. The band will limit your stomach’s capacity and create a lasting feeling of fullness. As a result, you’ll lose weight due to eating smaller portion sizes.
The long-term results of the LAP-BAND are comparable to gastric bypass surgery when it comes to keeping off excess weight. The LAP-BAND is considered the least invasive surgical option when it comes to weight-loss surgery. The LAP-BAND requires no cutting or stapling of any internal organs, and is the only reversible type of weight-loss surgery available today. The LAP-BAND is also fully adjustable, which will allow for your surgeon to adjust the fit of the band over time to accommodate your lifestyle and overall weight-loss goals.
The LAP-BAND System assists in weight loss by reducing the capacity of the stomach and restricting the amount of food that can be consumed in one sitting.
During LAP-BAND surgery, the bariatric surgeon will make a series of small incisions across a section of the patient’s abdomen to prepare for surgery. The surgeon will then insert small, long-shafted instruments into the stomach area and use these tools to implant an inflatable silicone band around the upper portion of the stomach. The band is then fastened to create a new, smaller stomach pouch that limits the amount of food patients can eat in one sitting. The surgery allows patients to feel full sooner after eating smaller portion sizes, and results in absent or decreased cravings for snacks between meals, which helps result in weight loss.
Gastric banding is also the only adjustable type of weight-loss surgery available in the United States. Since an individual’s weight loss and lifestyle needs can change over time, a surgeon can adjust the diameter of the band at any time. Women who become pregnant, for example, can visit the CarePoint Health Center for Bariatric Surgery to have the gastric band deflated to accommodate a growing fetus.
The LAP-BAND gastric banding system is just as unique as you are. The band can be adjusted regularly throughout your weight-loss program to accommodate your changing needs. Adjustment needs will vary between individuals, and are evaluated on an individual basis. Throughout your weight-loss program, it will be important to communicate with your provider regarding the frequency at which you eat, the types of food you are consuming, and your hunger levels in-between meals. Your surgeon will work with you on making adjustments to your gastric band based on these factors, and on your weight-loss progress.
When your LAP-BAND is initially placed, it will either be empty of saline or only partially inflated. Immediately following surgery, our goal is to help your body become familiar with your band and focus on healing.
The first few weeks following your LAP-BAND surgery are extremely important. You must take every precaution needed to avoid vomiting and prevent any pressure from being applied to your “new,” much smaller stomach.
What is a LAP-BAND adjustment?
Your first LAP-BAND adjustment will take place about 4 to 6 weeks following surgery; however, this time frame may vary depending on the individual. You and your surgeon will determine the best time to have the adjustment based on your:
- weight loss
- food intake
- exercise level
- band’s current fluid level
One of the greatest advantages of the LAP-BAND is the ability to adjust the band based on your individual weight-loss needs. This particular weight-loss procedure ensures that you and your surgeon will be able to determine the appropriate level of restriction for your health, comfort, and overall weight-loss success.
To adjust your LAP-BAND System or REALIZE Band, your bariatric surgeon will inject or remove saline fluid into or from the band’s access port located under your skin. The saline fluid is added or removed using a very thin, special needle. During the procedure, you may feel a small prickling sensation that is described by most patients as being relatively painless.
Your gastric band must only be adjusted by a bariatric surgeon or trained medical professional. Do not ever attempt to adjust your own band. Self-adjustments or adjustments performed by untrained medical professionals could result in permanent damage to your gastric band and cause adverse health reactions.
Weight-loss success comes when you’ve found the ideal “fill” volume of your band. Finding the right fill volume can only be achieved by visiting your surgeon on a routine basis and by undergoing regular adjustments. The ideal fill volume zone is often referred to as “the Green Zone:” the point at which the gastric band is filled most effectively for a particular patient.
The Green Zone: The optimal fill volume in which a patient feels full after eating small meals and experiences prolonged satisfaction after these meals. Patients are usually losing between 1 and 2 pounds per week, or are able to maintain weight loss after their goal weight has been reached.
The Yellow Zone: When the gastric band is too loose, a patient will feel hungry even after eating their regular small portion sizes. Saline must be added to the band so that smaller meals will once again provide a sustained feeling of fullness.
The Red Zone: If the gastric band is too tight, the patient may have difficulty with eating, and swallowing may become difficult or painful. A tight band may sometimes even cause an obstruction so that even saliva and other fluids will not be able to pass through the band. If this should occur, saline will need to be removed from the band as soon as possible to prevent more serious health complications from occurring.
New eating habits
Once you resume eating solid foods, it will be important to monitor your diet. Liquids and soft foods will not be filling because they pass through your digestive system quickly. Throughout the course of your weight-loss treatment, it will be best to avoid high-calorie drinks, desserts, and other forms of junk food. Instead of high-calorie drinks such as regular soda, sugary fruit drinks, and energy drinks, choose water, broth, tea, or coffee.
Chewing your food completely before swallowing is important because this habit will help you feel full and satiated even sooner. Chewing your food thoroughly will also help prevent your stomach pouch outlet from becoming blocked due to swallowing large chunks of food.
For the best weight-loss results, strive to eat just three small meals per day. Try to keep all your meals healthy and balanced by consuming lean meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and dairy products.
The importance of staying active
Exercise can often be difficult and painful when you’re carrying lots of excess weight. However, as you begin to lose weight through gastric banding, you’ll find that exercise becomes easier, more fulfilling, and far more enjoyable.
Your new goal will be to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day between three and five days per week. If you’ve just started exercising for the first time in months, or even years, you may want to start out simple by adding more physical activity to your daily routine, such as by parking your car farther away from a store, or cleaning the house more often. In time, you’ll be able to include more exercise into your life, such as aerobics, jogging or cycling.
Consult with your doctor about the exercise program you’re planning, and update your program as needed to accommodate your growing fitness level.