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LAP-BAND® Weight Loss System

The LAP-BAND weight loss system was an innovative approach to treatment for patients who find that diet and exercise were insufficient to help them lose significant amounts of weight. Dr. Hossein Bagshahi, our extensively trained bariatric surgeon, offers care for LAP-BAND patients and patients who are experiencing complications from previous LAP-BAND surgery. If you’re considering bariatric surgery, we can help you determine if gastric banding or another technique can provide the optimal outcome based on your medical needs, lifestyle goals, and personal preferences.

What Is LAP-BAND® Surgery?

The LAP-BAND system was the first form of adjustable gastric banding available in the US and is FDA-approved to help patients lose weight. The procedure is minimally invasive and involves placing an adjustable band around the upper portion of the stomach. The band is filled with saline to create restriction to impede meal size and impart fullness to achieve weight loss. As a result, individuals feel full faster and with less food, leading to weight loss over time.

LAP-BAND® Vs. Gastric Sleeve and Gastric Bypass Surgery

Each weight loss procedure offers unique benefits and is appropriate for different types of patients and their needs. LAP-BAND is an implantable device that is placed around the top of the stomach, and there is now cutting of the stomach and bowel. It is technically less involved than either gastric sleeve or gastric bypass surgery. LAP-BAND surgery was historically referred to as “reversible.” However, it is more accurate to describe it as “removable,” since LAP-BAND naturally leaves scarring and some degree of change around the top of the stomach that makes revision surgery more complicated. Another difference is that the LAP-BAND method only reduces the amount of food that can be comfortably ingested, while gastric sleeve and gastric bypass offer greater satiety and reduced calorie absorption, as well as gut physiology changes that lead to metabolic change and weight loss. Some patients find that a single procedure is the best fit for them, while others have a choice between two or more options. Dr. Bagshahi will review the techniques and guide you toward the one that offers the optimal outcome based on your particulars.

Am I a Candidate for LAP-BAND® Surgery?

The first step in considering weight loss surgery is an evaluation. Dr. Bagshahi will provide a thorough examination to determine if you are a good fit for bariatric surgery and which procedure is ideal for your needs and goals. LAP-BAND surgery is recommended for people who have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40 and have a documented history of trying to unsuccessfully lose weight through diet and exercise. Individuals with a BMI of at least 35 and a weight-related medical condition are also potential candidates. Weight-related medical conditions include issues like hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.

How Is the LAP-BAND® Procedure Performed?

Using laparoscopic (minimally invasive) techniques, Dr. Bagshahi will insert and affix the saline-adjustable gastric band over the stomach to create a much smaller pouch. This small stomach pouch limits the amount of food you can comfortably eat and creates feelings of fullness sooner, reducing your calorie intake and leading to weight loss. The size of the pouch can be adjusted to provide the ideal situation for you, and the band will likely be tightened to reduce the pouch size several times as you lose weight. The band adjustments are a simple in-office procedure that can be completed quickly and comfortably.

What Is LAP-BAND® Recovery Like?

Recovery times are greatly reduced compared to traditional open surgery, since laparoscopic techniques require only small incisions. Most LAP-BAND procedures can be completed on an outpatient basis, so you should be able to return home the same day. Regular daily activity can be resumed in a few days, depending on your unique recovery parameters. We will also schedule regular follow-up appointments to monitor your results and provide adjustments as needed.

How Much Does LAP-BAND® Surgery Cost?

During your initial consultation, we will review the full anticipated cost of your procedure to give you the information you need to make the best decision for you. Many insurance companies cover bariatric surgery, and we can verify your insurance coverage if requested. We work with many healthcare agencies, although we and most bariatrics surgeons do not accept Medicaid, and we also offer a range of weight loss financing options for patients paying out of pocket. We can provide additional information and assistance at your appointment.

Complications from LAP-BAND® Surgery

Thousands of LAP-BAND procedures have been performed since FDA approval in 2002. Many of these patients have experienced successful, life-changing weight loss. However, long-term follow up is still required to ensure patients are doing well and have not developed complications, such as “Band slip, dilated esophagus, acid reflux, obstructive symptoms, and functional gastric obstruction” from the device. Many patients suffering from a functional obstruction from LAP-BAND develop maladaptive eating to meet caloric needs, and these are often liquids or soft, high-calorie foods that eventually lead to weight regain. If you have a LAP-BAND and suffer from heartburn, reflux, vomiting, or painful swallowing, you should have an evaluation with a bariatric surgeon and receive radiologic imaging or an endoscopy to evaluate your band.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions About LAP-BAND® Surgery

Our bariatric surgeon has provided answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about LAP-BAND surgery. If you have additional questions, or if you’re ready to schedule to a consultation, please contact our practice.

How much weight can be lost?

On average, patients may be able to lose 50% of their excess weight; however, not everyone sees “average” results. Some see more and some see less. LAP-BAND surgery typically leads to the least amount of weight loss of all surgical bariatric procedures, but it could still be the best option for you. Your needs, goals, and individual experience will determine the ideal method for you.

How long does it take to lose weight?

LAP-BAND offers gradual weight loss, so the rate at which you lose weight will be slow and steady over time, rather than occurring mostly in the first few months after the placement of the band. It’s important to stay positive and focused on your weight loss journey, and our multispecialty team can help you remain on track throughout the experience.

Is LAP-BAND® removal possible?

One of the many benefits of the LAP-BAND system is that it is removable, meaning you can have the device removed in the future for any reason. Some people decide another technique may be more effective, while others choose simply to have the gastric band taken out for other reasons.

Can LAP-BAND® slippage occur?

Slippage is a rare occurrence that happens in two or three percent of patients. This complication develops when part of the stomach slips up through the gastric band, potentially causing a blockage where foods and liquids can pool in the “pouch” formed during the slip. Signs of slippage include severe heartburn, pain when eating solid foods, chest pain and/or pressure, and night coughs. A severe slippage event could mean vomiting up all solid foods. If you believe you are experiencing band slippage, contact your surgeon right away.

Does insurance cover LAP-BAND® surgery?

All medical insurance policies are unique to their subscriber, and it’s important for you to review what weight loss surgery benefits your policy may include. If your insurance does cover bariatric surgery, it will likely also cover gastric banding, whether that’s the LAP-BAND or another device. We can help you determine coverage and navigate the insurance system. Just talk to our team for more information.

At the current time, Dr Bagshahi is not in favor of new LAP-BAND placement as other procedures are more effective with less long-term issues related to maintenance of the device and costs related to the care.

Would you like to receive a custom quote and a personalized treatment plan? Talk to our medical team today to find an effective weight loss approach for you.