Gastric Banding

While we believe that providing information about the gastric band on our website is essential, this is not a procedure we perform routinely unless under exceptional circumstances. Data has shown that the gastric band often has unacceptably high complication rates over the long term, and we believe that other procedures may be more suitable for most of our patients.

The gastric band, also known by its trade name the LAP-BAND, is a procedure that relies on an implanted medical device to assist the patient in losing weight. Once a prevalent method, the lap -and has waned in popularity due to the longer-term complication rate.

To the benefit of many obese patients who did not qualify for weight loss surgery in the past, the lap-band was approved for patients with a BMI of 30 or over if they also presented with one or more major obesity-related diseases. This is the only bariatric surgical procedure approved at that BMI level, making bariatric surgery accessible to more obese patients.

How does the gastric band work?

The gastric band is performed laparoscopically, meaning that it is placed using five small incisions in the abdomen through which specialized medical devices are passed. The surgeon guides a laparoscope or high-definition camera that assists the operating team in visualizing the abdominal cavity without a large, open incision.

The surgeon places the gastric band around the top of the existing stomach pouch. When tightened, it forms two interconnected stomach chambers that reduce the speed of food passing from the smaller top chamber to the larger lower section. Because of its unique inflatable pillow-like cells, the band can be adjusted by injecting or removing sterile saline.

An injection port is attached to the abdominal wall and connected to the band by a long, thin silicone tube during the procedure. This injection port allows the surgeon to quickly adjust the band at future appointments with minimal discomfort.

Recovery from the gastric band

Since no part of the gastrointestinal tract is cut or removed, recovery from the gastric band is rapid. The band can be performed on an outpatient basis, but most should expect one day in the hospital under observation by the clinical staff. When patients return home, they will have to care for the abdominal incisions and allow themselves some time to heal before returning to work, especially before undertaking any strenuous activities or exercises.

Benefits of the gastric band

  • Fully adjustable and removable in cases of need. It is worth noting that patients will likely regain their weight if the band is removed.
  • Moderate excess body weight loss and obesity-related disease improvement potential
  • Fewer dietary restrictions as compared to the gastric bypass or duodenal switch
  • No staple lines mean no risk of a leak.
  • Shortest hospital stay and the quickest recovery of all major weight loss surgery procedures
  • If patients do not experience sufficient weight loss, the band can be revised.
  • Typically, less costly than other bariatric procedures.

Risks and considerations of the gastric band

  • All of the risks associated with any surgical procedure
  • Lower weight loss and obesity-related disease improvement potential
  • An implanted device is required to maintain weight loss
  • Greater need for follow-up appointments and adjustments
  • Higher risk of long-term complications, including band slippage, erosion into the esophagus, and twisting or leaking of the injection port