Lap-Band Surgery 2018-02-15T10:28:14-05:00


Lap-Band Surgery

More than two-thirds of adults in the United States are classified as overweight or obese. We all know obesity is an epidemic, but did you know it can subtract more years from your lifespan than smoking cigarettes? Individuals with a BMI of 50-55 are likely to die earlier than smokers of the same age. Obesity kills, and it’s not always possible to lose the weight with just diet and exercise. If this applies to you, lap-band surgery is an option that can help accelerate much-needed weight loss. To qualify for lap band surgery, you must have a BMI of 40 or higher, with at least one obesity-related problem like high blood pressure, type II diabetes, sleep apnea or acid reflux.

What is Lap-Band?

Lap-band surgery is reversible, does not remove or alter any part of your stomach or intestines, and can be performed in less than an hour, followed by a short hospital stay and recovery period. The lap-band itself is an inflatable silicone band that is placed around the top part of the stomach by a surgeon. It is designed to restrict your food intake by reducing the room in your stomach for food, making you feel full after eating very small amounts. Your stomach is now a 1-2 oz container, as opposed to the average adult stomach, which is about 32 oz, depending on the size of the person. A small device known as a port is placed under the skin of your abdomen during surgery. This port is connected to the lap band by a tube, and it allows the surgeon to adjust the tightness of your lap-band by injecting saline water into the port, which expands the lap band and tightens it around the top of your stomach. The lap-band surgery is performed laparoscopically, which is a less invasive approach than open incision surgery. The surgeon will place special instruments and a camera into several small incisions in your abdomen to install it.

Over-eating with the lap band in place will cause nausea and vomiting. The idea is that these unpleasant experiences will motivate you to avoid overeating and help you lose the weight you need to be healthy. However, if you are addicted to eating, a lap-band will not likely help you lose weight. If you are determined enough, you will find foods your body can tolerate in larger amounts. It is important for you to decide on fundamental lifestyle changes that you implement along with the procedure. If you are thinking about lap-band surgery, make sure you are willing to drink 6-8 cups of water per day, and eat three small high protein low carb meals daily with no snacking in between. Your average calorie intake during the initial 2-3 year weight loss period should be 800 calories per day. Once your goal weight is achieved, you can move up to 1000-1200 calories per day. No fluid should be taken with meals because it causes your stomach to empty too quickly. You should also be willing to eliminate high-calorie beverages like sodas, fruit juices, milkshakes, and smoothies. You also need to avoid high-calorie snacks like candy, ice cream, and chocolate. Avoiding fibrous, dry, or doughy foods is also important; they can get stuck if eaten. You will also be asked to take a daily multivitamin and calcium supplement. It is important to follow these rules—just think of all the effort, pain, money, and time you are giving up to have this procedure. You don’t want to end up in the same position you were in before the surgery. If you commit to the required diet and exercise plan, you can lose up to 2 or 3 pounds per week during the first year following your lap band surgery. You will settle at your final weight about four years after surgery.

Post-Op for Lap-Band Surgery

Lap-band surgery, like any other surgical procedure, carries risks and complications. 1-3% of patients experience bleeding, infection in the abdomen, blood clots in the leg that can travel to the lungs, and a perforation in the stomach or esophagus during surgery. Damage to the liver, spleen, and death rarely occur (less than 1% of the time). Problems that can occur after the surgery include nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, stomach ulcer, heartburn, gastritis, trouble swallowing, gas bloats, diarrhea, dehydration, constipation, or even weight regain. You will also be required to go to your doctor for regular fills and adjustments to your lap-band. Your lap-band may deflate if a leak occurs in the tubing, port or band itself. If your lap-band needs to be removed or replaced, you will have to go in for additional surgery. The first study of lap-band patients done in the U.S. showed that 25% of patients had the band removed for a variety of reasons. Ultimately, it is up to you to weigh the risks and benefits of lap-band surgery. Most importantly, you need to be honest with yourself about your commitment to a change in lifestyle.


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