Gastric Lap-Band Procedure
How It's Done

The gastric lap-band procedure is fairly simple:

  • An adjustable silicone band is placed, like a belt, around the upper part of your stomach.
  • The band is connected to an access port which is fixed to the muscle wall under your abdominal skin. Your surgeon uses this port to later adjust the diameter of the band.
  • The band is made tighter or looser by controlling the amount of saline in it. This is called a "lap-band fill" and is done by piercing the access port through the skin with a fine needle.

Watch this video to see how the gastric lap-band procedure is done.

The procedure is:

  • minimally invasive
  • adjustable
  • reversible

Laparoscopic Surgery vs. Open Surgery

How does the surgeon get into your belly to perform the surgery?

Follow the proper pre-surgery diet to help assure your surgery is laparoscopic!

Ideally the procedure is done laparoscopically (as in the video above):

  • Under general anesthesia, a few incisions are made in your abdomen
  • Narrow, hollow tubes are inserted into the incisions
  • Surgical instruments are passed into the tubes...one of them being a camera
  • The surgeon watches a monitor like a TV screen to see inside your abdomen as he performs the procedure

This is preferable to cutting you abdomen open. (Think big, long scar!)

Benefits of having the procedure done laparoscopically include:

  • Smaller scars
  • Less pain
  • Fewer wound complications
  • Shorter hospital stay (average 24-hours)
  • Faster recovery
  • Resume normal activities faster

Note: A planned laparoscopic procedure can turn into an open surgery if there are problems in the operating room. For example, once inside your abdomen, if the surgeon finds it difficult to place the band because your liver is too large (i.e., too fatty) he may have to open you up or cancel the procedure.

(Read about the importance of a proper pre-bariatric-surgery diet in preventing a fatty liver!)

Also, if you're thinking about going to Mexico for weight loss surgery, you should know ahead of time what will happen if things don't go as planned in the O.R.!

Gastric Lap-Band Procedure is Reversible

If there's a problem with your gastric band, or if you can't lose enough weight or adjust to the new eating habits, it can be removed and your stomach will most likely return to its original form.

People often ask, "Can I have it removed after I lose my excess weight?"

While that's possible, it's not recommended because there's a good chance if you do that you'll just gain all the weight back...over even more!

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