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What is the Adjustable Gastric Lap-Band?


Updated June 10, 2014

The Adjustable Gastric Lap-Band is a hollow band made of sylastic. The band is placed around the upper third portion of the stomach to create a small stomach pouch that initially holds 2 ounces of food, and eventually holds up to 4 to 6 ounces. Creating this restricted stomach space in the upper portion of the stomach causes a longer lasting feeling of fullness because the nerves that signal the brain when you’re full are located in the upper area of the stomach. The band further works by slowly allowing the food you eat to be released into the lower portion of the stomach for digestion.

Attached to the band is a tube that ends with a port attached to abdominal muscles just below the ribs. The purpose of the port is to provide access to the band to add saline which slowly fills the band, causing increased restriction of the stomach.

Immediately after surgery the band is empty. About six weeks after Lap-Band surgery, or whenever a plateau in weight loss is reached, the surgeon adds a small amount of saline in the band. While the band can hold about 4 to 5 cc’s of saline, only small amounts of saline are added each time. The amount of “fill” in the Lap-Band, and the amount added during each fill vary according to individual patient circumstances.

The Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding Procedure is performed under anesthesia in a hospital operating room. During surgery three to five one-half inch to two inch incisions are made in the upper abdomen. Barring complications, the procedure takes about one hour to perform.

All patients undergoing this procedure should be aware of the possibility of complications such as adhesions from previous surgeries which may make a laparoscopic procedure impossible. In this case, the surgeon will convert to an open procedure with a five inch incision and longer recovery period.

Many surgeons allow patients to return home the same day; however, other surgeons require patients to stay overnight with release from the hospital about 24 hours post surgery. Although most Lap-Band patients feel quite well after two or three weeks, full recovery takes six weeks.

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