A Lap Band is a small device inserted through an incision in the abdomen device that wraps around the top portion of the stomach. The medical terminology for this device is laparoscopic adjustable gastric band.
How Does a Lap Band Work?
A Lap Band works by creating a very small pouch at the top of the stomach. This pouch can only hold a 1/2 cup of food.
In contrast, the stomach can hold six cups of food. The gastric band slows the passage of food from the upper portion of the stomach to the lower portion of the stomach, and this allows the brain to get the message that the stomach is full.
As a result, the person eats less and less frequently.
What Are the Benefits of a Lap Band?
The lap band is less invasive than other gastrointestinal surgeries. The patient does not have to have their intestines re-routed, and there are less risks associated with this type of surgery.
The patient is still able to ingest vitamins and nutrients from their food. The less invasive nature of the surgery results in shorter hospital stays and a shorter recovery time.
What Are the Risks and Recovery Time?
A Lap Band is usually a last resort defense after diet and exercise has failed. This surgery has risks associated with it; however, it is less invasive than other gastrointestinal surgeries.
Laparoscopic surgery is used to insert the gastric band, and this less invasive type of surgery requires a shorter hospital stay than other procedures. A patient can usually recover completely in less than six weeks. A short hospital stay is necessary for most patients.
There are some side effects from gastric banding that are not desirable. For instance, there can be some regurgitation of food. This is also known as Productive Burping.
Patients can also develop ulcers from the device. Irritation of the tissue or lining of the stomach is also known as gastritis.
Internal bleeding and infection are also possible complications.
Am I a Good Candidate for Lap Band Surgery?
A person that has not had prior stomach problems is a possible good candidate for a Lap Band. Also, a person that has already diligently tried diet and exercise consistently without success is another possible candidate.
Those with a BMI 40 or more are typically good candidates for the surgery.
How Much Does Lap Band Surgery Cost?
According to the Bariatric Surgery Specialists "generally speaking the cost of the procedure (facility, surgeon, and anesthesiologist) can cost as much as $30,000 at some hospitals" but it's important to understand that geographical location, experience, and specialties will all play a factor in the exact cost for the patient.