Gastric Banding (Lap Band) Surgery and Complications

Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery — also called lap band surgery or adjustable gastric banding — is an increasingly popular weight loss procedure performed in the United States.

Quick View of Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band (Lap Band) Surgery
Description:

Inserts a thin, inflatable ring or — gastric band — to create a new, smaller stomach pouch.

Unlike conventional gastric bypass surgery, gastric band surgery is:

  • Minimally invasive — no cutting, stapling, or re-routing of the intestinal tract.
  • Reversible and adjustable.
Method:

Your bariatric surgeon will perform this gastric banding surgery laparoscopically, making several small 1/4- to 1/2-inch abdominal incisions.

How you lose weight: Because the adjustable lap band controls the outlet between the upper and lower parts of the stomach, it regulates the flow of food between the two so you feel full sooner.
Weight loss: Weight loss is slow and gradual. Expect to lose 40 to 50 percent of excess body weight over 24 or more months after gastric band surgery.
Surgery time: Less than one hour.
Hospital stay: One or two days.
Recovery time: About 10 days.

What to Expect: Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band
Surgery

If you're considering a minimally invasive gastric banding procedure, here's what to expect.

During Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band (Lap Band) Surgery

After you receive general anesthesia, your bariatric surgeon will:

  • Make several small incisions on your abdomen to insert the laparoscope — a tool with a light and a tiny camera that sends pictures to a nearby computer monitor.
  • Implant an inflatable silicone band around the upper portion of your stomach — like a belt — and create a new, smaller pouch. The larger, lower part of your stomach will remain in tact.
  • Connect the band system, using a tube, to an access port located directly beneath the skin of your abdomen.
    • The access port allows your surgeon to adjust the band in the future.
    • Although you can have the band completely removed if necessary, it is intended to remain in place for life.

After Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band (Lap Band) Surgery

  • You can expect to stay in the hospital for one or two days.
  • The morning after your gastric band surgery, you will start a clear liquid diet for at least one week. It's very important that you drink at least 64 ounces of fluid every day to avoid becoming dehydrated.
  • Immediately before discharge, your bariatric surgery team will give you instructions on how to care for yourself at home, including:
    • Incision care
    • Pain control
    • Vitamin supplements

Follow-up: Modifying Your Laparoscopic Adjustable
Gastric Band (Lap Band)

Follow-up appointments are very important after laparoscopic adjustable gastric band (lap band) surgery.

Multiple times a year, your bariatric surgeon will need to adjust your laparoscopic adjustable gastric band to:

  • Achieve appropriate restriction
  • Slow the passage of food from the small stomach pouch
  • Help you meet your weight loss needs

Your surgeon will pass a fine needle through the skin and into the access port to add or subtract saline. This usually takes just a few minutes and most people say it's nearly painless.

Gastric Banding Complications

As with any surgery, gastric banding has potential complications. Some of the gastric banding risks include:

  • Band slippage, erosion, deflation
  • Obstruction of stomach
  • Dilation of esophagus
  • Port malposition, infection, breakage, or hernia
  • Wound infection or skin separation

Your bariatric surgeon will review all potential gastric banding surgery risks and side effects with you prior to lap band operation.

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