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%, however there is a greater percent of people losing 50% 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