What is it?
The gastric band is a restrictive surgical procedure that limits the volume of food intake it requires to feel full. There is no rearranging of the anatomy, cutting, stapling or malabsorption.
How is it done?
The band is an inflatable silicone device that is placed around the upper part of the stomach. The band is locked in place like a collar around the stomach and 3-4 stitches are placed on either side of the band to keep it in position, and to decrease the risk of band slippage. The collar is connected to a tube which has a port attached to it. This creates a closed system so that when saline is inserted via the port, it inflates a balloon inside the collar, creating a small stomach pouch. The saline amount will be adjusted over time based on how much you can eat and how much weight you are losing. The band also slows the emptying of food out of the pouch, causing you to feel full longer.
Will my port be visible?
The port site is sewn on to the fascia (strength layer of the abdominal wall) over the stomach muscle, and the skin is closed over it, effectively hiding it in the abdomen. You may feel the port, especially as you lose weight, but it rarely protrudes from the abdomen.
What should I expect?
The biggest thing to emphasize with the Lap Band® is that it is only a tool to help you reach your weight loss goals. You cannot expect to have the band placed and lose weight without changing your eating and exercise habits. Your weight loss will be steady (about 2 pounds a week) if you are following the rules.
What is the surgery like?
Surgery takes approximately thirty minutes to an hour. This will vary based on your past surgical history and anatomy. The surgery is an outpatient procedure, meaning it does not require a hospital overnight stay (unless your insurance company requires it). Greater than 99% of these procedures are done laparoscopically through 5 tiny incisions. These tiny incisions allow for faster healing time and less risk of infection after surgery.
What kind of follow up will I need?
The band is empty when it is put in. Your first fill will be at four weeks after surgery and then every four weeks after that as needed. During the first year, most patients get between six and eight adjustments. The most common reasons for adjustments are discomfort or vomiting after eating, eating too much without feeling full, or not losing sufficient weight. Once you reach your goal weight, your adjustments typically become less frequent.