Lap-band surgery is an adjustable, reversible weight loss treatment. While it was popular in the past, it is no longer recommended as frequently because other weight loss procedures have proven more successful at helping people reach their weight loss goals. It has also been associated with several long-term complications that require additional surgery.
While we no longer offer lap band surgery at Duke, we regularly monitor and provide care to people who experience weight loss success following lap-band surgery and require periodic adjustments.
We also evaluate people who did not achieve the weight loss results they wanted and help them understand their options to achieve success. This may include a combination of band adjustments, medical weight loss options, and revision surgery.
Learn more about obesity and weight loss surgery at one of our free information sessions in Durham, Raleigh, and Burlington.
How Lap-Band Surgery Works
Minimally Invasive Surgery
A surgeon uses small incisions and a laparoscope to position an inflatable silicone band around the upper portion of the stomach. The band decreases the size of the stomach so you feel fuller faster. A tube from the band is attached to a port under your skin.
Gastric Band Adjustments
Your surgeon inserts a needle into the port to inject a saline solution that inflates and tightens the band. This makes your stomach smaller. Your surgeon may also use the port to remove fluid if the band needs to be deflated or loosened. These gastric band adjustments take place during regular visits with your doctor.
Expected Weight Loss
According to long-term studies, expected excess weight loss is estimated to be between 40 and 50 percent, however there is a greater percent of people losing 50 percent of their excess body weight when compared to other weight loss surgeries.
Lap-Band Surgery Complications
The number of people choosing lap-band surgery has declined in recent years because studies indicate long-term complication rates are higher for lap-band surgery than for other weight loss surgeries. Many of these complications require additional surgery.
An overinflated band or overeating may cause your stomach pouch to become enlarged. This can cause chest pain, heartburn, and other discomforts. Your doctor can treat pouch enlargement by adjusting the band during an office visit.
The band can slip out of place if it isn’t inserted properly. Lap-band slippage can also occur over time. Lap-band slips can cause GI bleeding, stomach perforation, pneumonia, and other serious complications. A slipped band always requires corrective surgery.
While it’s less common, the lap-band can also erode into the stomach. When this occurs, the eroded band must be surgically removed.
Port Can Break, Leak, Cause Infection
Port infections can occur immediately following surgery or over time. They may be managed with antibiotics or removal and replacement of the port. Over time, the port can break, leak, or become difficult to access. This often requires corrective surgery.
As with other weight loss surgeries, the following complication may occur with lap-band surgery:
- Hiatal hernia
- Bowel function changes and perforations
- Frequent vomiting
- Blood clots, infection, and other risks that are common with any surgery
Attend your pre-surgical evaluation, all appointments, and monthly support meetings near where you work or live. Many of our locations also offer free information sessions so you can learn more about obesity and weight loss surgery.
Duke Regional Hospital is accredited by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery for its high standards of care in weight loss surgery.
Fill out our application if you are interested in being evaluated for weight loss surgery. Once you've submitted the application, we will call you to schedule your first appointment.