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Lap-band Surgery

When extra pounds keep coming back despite your best efforts, you can feel trapped in a cycle of lose, gain and self-blame. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Weight loss experts at Baptist Health can help you break the cycle of weight gain and loss with laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (Lap-Band®). 

What is a Lap Band?

This bariatric treatment uses an implantable device to help you lose weight. The  implantable device is made of two parts: 

  1. The “band” is a rubber ring we place around the top portion of your stomach to create a pouch that is a fraction the size of a normal stomach. The inside of the band works like an inflatable water balloon that allows us to adjust the device to meet your needs. 
  2. The ring attaches to tubing where we can periodically inject a medically safe solution (saline) to adjust the tightness of the band. 

How Lap Band Works

Once the Lap Band is in place, you feel full after small amounts of food. How quickly you feel full and how long you stay full depend in part on how tight the band is around your stomach. 

We adjust the band:

  • A few weeks after implant surgery: Immediately after surgery, the band is not very tight. Having a loose band allows you to get used to eating small meals while limiting your risk for unpleasant side effects, like cramping and nausea. 
  • As you get more comfortable with healthy eating habits: Over time we make the band tighter, so that food slowly empties from the stomach pouch to your small intestine. Slow stomach emptying helps you feel full longer. 

What Is Lap Band Revision Surgery?

If you are not able to lose weight or keep it off after Lap Band surgery, you may need Lap Band revision surgery to replace or remove the device. Lap Band is designed to stay in place for life, so while most patients are able to achieve and maintain their weight loss goals, a small number of people gain weight or do not lose much. 

Common reasons for Lap Band revision surgery include: 

  • A stomach pouch that becomes stretched out due to over-eating or natural changes in stomach tissue
  • The band slipping out of place 
  • Having a band grow into the stomach (erosion) so that it no longer limits food intake
  • An infection in the area of skin near the tubing that allows us to add saline to the ring
  • Complications from a ring that is too tight, such as stomach acid irritating the lower part of your throat (reflux), nausea, vomiting or difficulty swallowing

Lap Band Surgery Requirements: Is it Right for Me?

At Baptist Health, our primary focus is on your long-term well-being. We will only recommend Lap Band implant or revision surgery if it is a medically safe option for you. We also consider your willingness to commit to permanent lifestyle changes as well as your insurance coverage. 

You may also want to consider the risks and benefits of Lap Band. Understanding how Lap Band is different from other weight loss treatments can help you make good decisions about your care. We discuss these risks and benefits with you and answer any questions you may have before surgery. 

Advantages of Lap Band 

Benefits to Lap Band surgery include:

  • A less invasive procedure: The procedure involves no staples and no rerouting of your intestines.
  • Reversible: You can have the Lap Band device removed if you change your mind.
  • Low risk for nutrition problems: Your risk for vitamin or mineral deficiencies is lower with Lap Band compared to other forms of weight loss surgery. Maintaining good nutrition helps you avoid complications such a lack of iron in your blood (anemia), which can lead to poor bone health.

Risks, Side Effects, and Disadvantages of Lap Band 

As with any medical procedure, Lap Band carries some risks you should know about, including: 

  • Slower weight loss: It can take longer to see results with Lap Band compared to other surgical procedures.
  • Slippage or other complications: On rare occasions, the Lap Band slips out of place or grows into the tissue of the stomach. When this happens, it is no longer effective in helping you control your appetite. 
  • A higher likelihood of needing additional surgeries: Of all weight loss surgery options, patients who receive Lap Band are more likely to seek another form of weight loss surgery. If Lap Band does not work for you, you are not out of options. We can remove it and perform a different procedure, such as a gastric sleeve surgery or gastric bypass surgery.

Lap Band Surgery: What to Expect

Lap Band surgery is the start of a new chapter in your life. This new chapter includes breaking old habits and learning how to make healthy eating and exercise a part of your daily life. 

At Baptist Health, you are not alone. Our team of experts is here for you every step of the way. 

Lap Band Implant Surgery

During Lap Band implant surgery, here’s what to expect: 

  1. We give you medicine to help you fall asleep and not feel any sensation during the procedure (general anesthesia). 
  2. Our surgeon makes up to 5 small incisions in your abdomen. Through these incisions, we place a camera and special instruments to carry out the surgery.
  3. The camera sends real-time video to a monitor in the operating room. We use this video to see inside your stomach during surgery.
  4. We place the Lap Band around the upper part of your stomach, creating a small pouch the size of an egg. The pouch has a narrow opening that empties into the lower part of your stomach.
  5. Thin tubing connects the Lap Band to an access port, which we secure beneath your skin. The access port allows us to make the band tighter or looser by adding or removing saline. However, we do not adjust the band until after you have recovered from surgery. 
  6. The surgeon checks the placement of the Lap Band to ensure it is securely in place. 
  7. We then complete the surgery by removing the camera and instruments and closing the incisions with stitches. 
  8. About 4 weeks after surgery, we tighten your band by adding fluid to it during an office visit. After a “fill,” you should notice small changes, such as feeling full after smaller meals, but you should not experience any discomfort.  
  9. You receive ongoing care and support to help you achieve your weight loss and healthy living goals. Your care includes regular follow up visits with our nutritionists. You may also wish to receive additional support by attending our monthly support group.

Lap Band Revision Surgery

The lap band device does not have to be installed forever. During revision surgery, we remove the Lap Band device. Once we remove the band, you will no longer feel full on small portions of food, which is why we recommend replacing the Lap Band with another bariatric treatment, such as gastric sleeve or gastric bypass. We are often able to remove the Lap Band and deliver the other treatment during the same procedure. 

During Lap Band revision surgery, here’s what to expect: 

  1. We give you medicine to help you fall asleep and not feel any sensation during the procedure (general anesthesia). 
  2. Our surgeon makes up to 5 small incisions in your abdomen. Through these incisions, we place a camera and special instruments to carry out the surgery.
  3. We remove the Lap Band, connective tubing and access port. 
  4. If the Lap Band device has grown into the stomach tissue, we remove scar tissue and repair damaged stomach tissue. 
  5. If you wish to switch to a different bariatric option, it is possible to receive gastric sleeve or gastric bypass during the same procedure. However, if there is a lot of scar tissue or damaged stomach tissue, we may wait until you have healed. 
  6. We then complete the surgery by removing the camera and instruments and closing the incisions with stitches. 
  7. We help you make steady progress toward your weight loss goals with regular follow-up care and personalized support. We help you adopt healthy eating habits and give you support to overcome common challenges, such as eating healthy when you’re busy.

Bariatric Surgery at Baptist Health

Each of our surgeons is dedicated to meeting the unique needs of bariatric patients. We have performed a high number of Lap Band surgeries, giving us a level of expertise that assures a safe surgery and exceptional outcomes.

Other highlights of our program include: 

  • Minimally invasive surgery: Our surgeons use the smallest necessary incisions along with sophisticated tools and technology. Minimally invasive surgery helps you avoid complications, like infections, that are common with other surgical techniques. 
  • Convenience: We’ve made it easy to get the care you need. If you live near one of our 4 Baptist Health locations, all of the services you need are available under one roof. If you are coming to us from far away, you can get some of your care, such as screening tests, right in your home community.
  • Revision surgery expertise: If treatment with Lap Band fails to help you achieve your goals, there’s still hope. During revision surgery, we replace the Lap Band device with a different surgical treatment, such gastric sleeve surgery. This type of surgery is more complex than original weight loss surgery, but our surgeons have the expertise to assure safe, effective surgical care.
  • Our comprehensive approach is one of the reasons our patients are able to lose weight and keep it off. In addition to surgery, our team also offers ongoing support and personalized recommendations to help you break old habits and maximize your chances for success. Many of our patients tell us that this support makes all the difference in their results.

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