Gastric Band Surgery (LAP-Band): What It Is, Requirements & Procedure (2023)


Gastric Band Surgery (LAP-Band): What It Is, Requirements & Procedure (1)

What is gastric band surgery (Lap-Band)?

The adjustable gastric band is a surgically implanted device to help people with obesity lose weight. It’s one of several types of bariatric surgery that restrict how much you can eat at one time (restrictive weight loss surgery). The adjustable gastric band reduces the size of your stomach without permanently dividing it as other surgeries do. The “Lap-Band” is the only brand of gastric band that is currently available in the U.S. It was approved by the FDA in 2001.

How does the gastric band (Lap-Band) work?

The gastric band is an adjustable, inflatable tube made of soft silicone. It’s placed around the upper portion of your stomach to form a ring. This inflatable ring is connected to a port that is placed underneath your skin. Your surgeon can tighten the fit of the band by accessing the skin port and injecting with saline fluid, enough to allow a small outlet between the upper portion of your stomach and the lower part. When you eat, this upper stomach pouch will fill up quickly, making you feel fuller faster.

Who is gastric band surgery for?

In general, you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery if you’re suffering from health conditions related to obesity and if other methods of weight loss haven’t worked for you. Your healthcare provider may suggest the Lap-Band if you’re looking for an intervention that’s less invasive and less permanent than other weight-loss surgeries.

Compared to other bariatric procedures, the gastric band has the lowest complication rate after surgery, and there is no division of stomach or intestines. It can also be removed if needed. However, the Lap-Band leads to less weight loss than other bariatric procedures. It also requires several frequent follow-up office visits and adjustments, especially over the first year.

(Video) Benefits of Lap Band Surgery | Morning Blend

Currently, other bariatric surgery procedures, like the sleeve gastrectomy and the roux-en-Y gastric bypass, are more widely used. As of 2019, the rate of gastric band surgery was estimated to be 0.9% of all bariatric procedures performed in the United States.

How much weight can you lose with Lap-Band?

The average weight loss with Lap-Band is about 40% of excess weight over two years. That means if you were 100 lbs. overweight, you’d lose 40 lbs. Results can vary, depending on how much you change your habits after surgery. Weight loss with the gastric band is typically less than with other bariatric surgeries.

Can gastric banding help treat obesity-related health conditions?

Just losing weight can do a lot to improve obesity-related health conditions, including:

  • High cholesterol.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Heart disease.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Non-alcohol related fatty liver disease.

The gastric band doesn’t have the same effects on metabolism and hormones as other weight-loss surgeries. It’s considered a purely “restrictive” procedure, meaning that it works primarily by limiting the amount of food you can eat at one time.

Procedure Details

What are the requirements to qualify for Lap-Band surgery?

Your healthcare provider may recommend bariatric surgery if you have:

  • A BMI of 40 or higher. The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a way of estimating how much body fat you have based on your height-to-weight ratio. A score of 40 or higher is associated with a higher risk of obesity-related diseases.
  • A BMI of at least 35 and at least one obesity-related disease. A BMI of 35 without a related disease is considered class II obesity. With a related medical problem, it qualifies as clinically severe, or class III obesity.

You’ll also have to undergo medical screening to make sure you’re healthy enough for surgery. You may have physical exams, blood tests, or imaging tests of your abdomen. If you smoke or overuse alcohol or opioids, you’ll have to quit before qualifying for surgery.

Is Lap-Band a major surgery?

This is a subjective question. However, the procedure and recovery time are relatively short, and like most bariatric surgeries, you can have the adjustable gastric band installed by minimally-invasive surgery methods (laparoscopic surgery). This means that instead of one large incision across your abdomen, your surgeon can perform the entire operation through a few small “keyhole” incisions.

What happens during the Lap-Band procedure?

  • You’ll be put under general anesthesia, so you’ll be asleep and unaware during the operation.
  • Laparoscopic surgery begins with a single keyhole incision in your abdomen. Your surgeon will use this first keyhole to install a tiny pump and inflate your abdomen with carbon dioxide gas. This allows for your surgeon to see, and for there to be room to perform the surgery.
  • Your surgeon will install the laparoscope — a tiny lighted video camera. The laparoscope will project your organs onto a screen. Your surgeon will use long, narrow tools to access your stomach through additional keyholes.
  • Your surgeon will secure the gastric band around the top portion of your stomach and tighten it to form a pouch. Your stomach will look a bit like an hourglass, with a narrow channel between the top and bottom portions.
  • The gastric band has a hollow channel that can be filled with fluid. This is what makes it adjustable. Your healthcare provider will be able to adjust the pressure of the gastric band by adding or extracting fluid through this port.
  • The gastric band is attached to a small plastic tube that will run just under your skin and into a port. After surgery, your healthcare provider will be able to access the port with a special fine needle to inject or extract fluid as needed.
  • When everything is in place, your surgeon will release the gas from your abdomen and close your keyhole incisions. The procedure takes about 30 to 60 minutes.

What will my diet be like after gastric band surgery?

Your healthcare provider will give you specific dietary instructions. You’ll be on a liquid diet for the first several weeks, gradually progressing from pureed foods to soft foods and finally, solid foods. This is to give your stomach time to heal. When you do return to solid foods, you’ll have to limit your portions to fit your new stomach pouch. Overeating will likely cause nausea and vomiting. You’ll have to choose high-quality foods to make sure you get enough nutrients and chew your food well.

What kind of follow-up care will I have?

You'll visit your healthcare provider often in the first year after surgery to make adjustments to your gastric band. As you lose weight, your Lap-Band may need to be tightened in order for you to sustain your weight loss. You’ll also have regular blood tests to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients on your new diet. You may have nutritional counseling to help you learn new ways of eating. If necessary, your healthcare provider may prescribe supplements.

(Video) How gastric banding surgery is carried out

How many years does a LAP-Band last?

The Lap-Band is designed to last a lifetime, but whether it does isn’t yet proven. Studies show that 35% to 40% of people may have their gastric bands removed after 10 years.

There are many reasons why the gastric band may be removed, including:

  • Inadequate weight loss.
  • Complications such as esophageal dilation.
  • Severe heartburn/reflux.
  • Inflection.
  • Slippage of the band.
  • Erosion of the band.
  • Obstruction.

Some people eventually move on to a more permanent bariatric surgery with a higher success rate.

(Video) Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding

Risks / Benefits

What are the advantages of gastric band surgery over other types of bariatric surgeries?

The main advantage of the adjustable gastric band is that it has a lower risk of complications immediately after surgery. While sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass are both considered very safe, the gastric band is estimated to have an even lower risk of complications. There’s no division of your stomach or intestines involved. Additionally, it can be removed if necessary.

(Video) Is the Lap Band Right for Me?

What are the disadvantages of gastric band surgery?

There are several disadvantages to gastric band surgery. First, it leads to less weight loss than the other bariatric surgeries. It also may require frequent adjustments, especially during the first year after placement.

Over time, there may be additional issues that arise. For example:

  • Studies suggest the risk of complications after a gastric band to be as high as 50%.
  • The rate of repeat procedures to fix or remove the gastric band may be as high as 35%.
  • The rate of failure due to inadequate weight loss or regaining weight is higher with gastric band than with other bariatric procedures.
  • Additional surgery means additional expense and risk.

What are the possible complications or side effects of the Lap-Band?

  • Nausea and vomiting. This is a common side effect in the early days after the surgery. It usually resolves over time, as you learn new ways of eating: smaller, more nutrient-dense meals, smaller bites and thorough chewing.
  • Constipation. Some people develop constipation with the gastric band because they find it difficult to drink enough fluids. Your stomach won’t be able to hold much fluid at once, and your healthcare provider will direct you not to drink fluids while eating in order to leave room for your food. Hydration is very important after any type of bariatric surgery.
  • Difficulty swallowing. Sometimes your body may react to the smaller stomach pouch and slower gastric motility by making it hard to swallow food. Loosening the band, or slowing down and eating smaller bites can help. If it doesn’t help, it could indicate an intolerance to the band.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux. A tight band can trigger acid reflux (GERD), also called heartburn. Loosening it to relieve symptoms may interfere with weight loss. But, persistent GERD may damage the walls of your esophagus, causing acid erosion. GERD can often be treated with medication, but some severe cases may require removal of the gastric band.
  • Port problems. The port that your healthcare provider uses to access and adjust your Lap-Band can malfunction in various ways. It can become dislodged from its original location or flip upside down, making it inaccessible from the outside. The port or tubing can leak, making it impossible to fill the gastric band. If you lose a lot of weight quickly, the port can stick out of your skin, causing tenderness or skin erosion at the site. These malfunctions may require minor operations to fix or replace the port. Infections at the port site can also happen, which may require antibiotics or an additional procedure to correct.
  • Outlet obstruction. Food can get stuck in the outlet between your stomach pouch (stomach above the band) and lower stomach, causing a blockage. You’ll notice when you can’t eat anymore. Your healthcare provider can try to clear the blockage by deflating the band, but it might need surgery to fix.
  • Band slippage. The band is secured in its position during the surgery. However, the band could slip from this position. When this happens, the stomach pouch (stomach above the band) becomes bigger. If this happens slowly, this may affect your weight loss benefits, or cause symptoms such as reflux. Sometimes it can happen very quickly, which can cause stomach necrosis (dying of stomach tissue). This would require emergency surgery and removal of the band.
  • Esophageal dilation and/or pouch dilation. Pressure from food building up above the gastric band can cause your stomach pouch — and sometimes your esophagus — to dilate or widen. This allows more food to back up above the band, causing nausea, reflux and vomiting. It may take surgery to correct, and/or removal of the band.
  • Band erosion. Friction from the band rubbing against your stomach or your esophagus over time may cause the band to erode through your stomach. This makes the band ineffective and can also cause infection. The solution is usually removal.
  • Band intolerance. Some people have adverse reactions to a foreign implant in their bodies. They may develop excessive scar tissue around the band, or feel persistent nausea and discomfort. In these cases, the band may have to be removed.

Recovery and Outlook

What is the long-term outlook after gastric band surgery?

Many people lose weight with the gastric band in the first year or two after surgery. The gastric band placement itself rarely causes complications immediately after surgery, but some complications may develop down the road. Complications may require reoperation or removal of the Lap-Band. Some people decide after removal that they desire another bariatric procedure.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

(Video) What are the Side Effects of Lap Band Surgery?

Any bariatric surgery is a major commitment with important pros and cons to consider. Gastric band surgery is no exception. As a reversible and removable option that doesn’t require cutting your organs, the Lap-Band may be an easier commitment up front. It also means more follow-up care, however, including frequent adjustments in the first year or two and possible revision surgeries later on. And it will require lifelong changes to your eating habits.

For some people, this is the option they need to take the next big step toward significant weight loss and lifelong change. Depending on how it works for you, it might be the end of your weight loss journey, or a step along the way. Some people use the Lap-Band to effectively retrain themselves to change the ways that they eat and live. Others may fail to lose enough weight or maintain their weight loss over time. If this happens, you’ll have other treatment options.


What is the process of getting a lap band? ›

In this surgery: Your surgeon will make 1 to 5 small surgical cuts in your abdomen. Through these small cuts, the surgeon will place a camera and the instruments needed to perform the surgery. Your surgeon will place a band around the upper part of your stomach to separate it from the lower part.

What is the minimum weight for lap band surgery? ›

To ensure that you can lose weight safely with the Lap-Band, you need to meet the following qualifications: Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) that is at least 40 kg/m² or you have a BMI of at least 30 kg/m² with one or more obesity-related comorbid conditions.

What are the rules for gastric band? ›

You will need to follow a low fat diet and avoid simple sugars for life. You should aim to consume about 60g protein per day and a calorie intake of between 800-1200 kcal per day. Remember to include 6-8 glasses of water and low calorie beverages each day. Make sure you drink enough to keep yourself hydrated.

How much weight can you lose with a lap band? ›

How much weight can you lose with Lap-Band? The average weight loss with Lap-Band is about 40% of excess weight over two years. That means if you were 100 lbs. overweight, you'd lose 40 lbs.

What foods can you not eat after lap band surgery? ›

Experts recommend that people who have LAP-BAND surgery avoid foods that are very high in fiber, like celery, corn, oranges, asparagus, pineapples, and sweet potatoes. These foods may get caught above the band, leaving you with an unpleasant feeling that takes some time to subside.

How many years does a lap band last? ›

Complications of Lap Band

Many studies have shown that more than half of the gastric bands are removed due to inadequate weight loss or complications after 7-10 years.

Can you drink soda with lap band? ›

Carbonated beverages pose another concern that it is wise to avoid. Carbonated drinks can cause stomach discomfort and can enlarge the "pouch" created by the Lap-Band. Soda, beer, and sparkling wine are not a good idea after Lap-Band surgery.

What is the downside of gastric band? ›

Disadvantages of the gastric band

Firstly, the band can slip and cause pain. It may need to be emptied fully or may need to be removed. A band can erode into the stomach and, if this happens, it will need to be surgically removed. The patient needs to come back to the consultant for band adjustments.

Can you eat out after gastric band? ›

“Will I be able to eat out after my bariatric surgery” is one of common questions that people are worried about before bariatric surgery. – Yes, you will be able to eat out and also to enjoy time with your friends and family out or at home celebrations.

What happens if you overeat with lap band? ›

If you overeat after having an Adjustable Gastric Band, the following is likely to happen: Vomiting – It can be difficult for large amounts of food to pass from the small pouch, through the band, into the larger section of the stomach.

What is better the lap band or sleeve? ›

While a lap band procedure may be a better option for some, gastric sleeve surgery is generally the better, more permanent option. During gastric sleeve surgery between 70-80 percent of the stomach is completely removed, resulting in a sleeve or banana-shaped stomach tube.

How long are you off work for lap band surgery? ›

Typically, we recommend that patients wait between 1-2 weeks (for Lap-Band procedures) to 2-4 weeks (for stapled procedures such as gastric sleeve or bypass) before returning to their jobs. This assumes that the job does not require strenuous activity.

Are you put to sleep for lap band surgery? ›

The actual Lap-Band procedure is relatively straightforward and quick. You'll be placed under general anesthesia to ensure that you're fully asleep during the operation.

What is the safest weight loss surgery? ›

The Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy is the most widely used, and safest, in the bariatric world. As with any major surgery, gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries pose potential health risks, both in the short term and long term.

Do you have to be put to sleep for lap band surgery? ›

Lap Band Implant Surgery

We give you medicine to help you fall asleep and not feel any sensation during the procedure (general anesthesia). Our surgeon makes up to 5 small incisions in your abdomen.

Can you drink coffee with a lap band? ›

Coffee should not be consumed until a person has completely recovered from their bariatric procedure, and are no longer experiencing any ill side effects of the surgery.

How do you prevent loose skin after lap band surgery? ›

Here are your options for addressing extra skin after weight loss surgery.
  1. Plan Your Meals Around Protein. One of the things to expect after weight loss surgery is a change in your diet. ...
  2. Take Vitamins That Promote Skin Elasticity. ...
  3. Stay Hydrated. ...
  4. Alternate Cardio With Strength Training. ...
  5. Medical and Med Spa Treatments.

Why no straws after bariatric surgery? ›

First two weeks after surgery

If it can go through a straw, or even a little thicker, it's OK (but don't actually use a straw, because this can make you drink too fast and cause discomfort).

Can the body reject a lap band? ›

It's extremely rare, but possible, your body could reject or react to Lap-BAND as a foreign object. Nausea or vomiting from food. Some types of food can block the outlet from the top to the bottom of the stomach. The smaller portion of the stomach may stretch.

Why are lap bands no longer used? ›

Adjustable gastric banding does not last forever.

Many patients have the band removed because it slips off or deteriorates to the point of needing replacement surgery. In other cases, people choose to have their bands removed because of the strict diet, lack of weight-loss results and potentially painful side effects.

Can you eat popcorn after lap band? ›

However, we recommend avoiding popcorn as it can irritate your digestive system after you have had weight loss surgery. You may be able to add some popcorn back into your diet after you have healed following your bariatric operation, but we suggest you take it easy.

Can you eat oatmeal with the lap band? ›

Oats are a whole grain, the kind of low glycemic index carbohydrate that gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients should eat instead of white flours.

Does lap band cause acid reflux? ›

Acid Reflux

If the band is too tight or if it has slipped out of position, it may lead to acid reflux and heartburn. Mild regurgitation may also occur. Deflating the band sometimes helps resolve this issue, but if there is no change in reflux symptoms, lap band revision surgery may be necessary.

Is a gastric band worth having? ›

Benefits of a gastric band

It's a relatively simple low risk, minimally invasive procedure with few complications. Gastric band surgery usually results in a shorter hospital stay (just one night), a faster recovery time (approximately one week), smaller scars and less pain than other gastric surgery procedures.

Does a gastric band hurt? ›

Most patients do experience some pain, which is to be expected after any surgery. This pain is usually mild to moderate pain rather than severe or chronic pain. Many patients describe feeling as if they have been punched in the stomach or done a hundred sit-ups.

Is gastric band surgery worth it? ›

It can lead to significant weight loss and help improve many obesity-related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. But it's a major operation and in most cases should only be considered after trying to lose weight through a healthy diet and exercise.

How long do you stay in hospital after a gastric band? ›

You can usually leave hospital 1 to 3 days after having weight loss surgery. You'll be able to start to return to your normal activities 4 to 6 weeks later. But you'll need to make long-term lifestyle changes to help make the most of your surgery.

Can I eat pizza with gastric band? ›

Pizza and pasta are normally favorites, but after bariatric surgery, they should be consumed in moderation. If you are having pizza, order a thin crust and add veggies and lean meats, such as chicken or Canadian bacon. Overall, you should choose a menu item that is centered on protein, like grilled chicken or seafood.

How long does it take to put in a gastric band? ›

It is performed through keyhole incisions. The surgeon makes between one and five small surgical cuts in the abdomen. Surgery is carried out using a laparoscope, a long narrow tube with a camera. The procedure often takes 30 to 60 minutes.

Does Lap-Band cause loose skin? ›

Because the Lap-Band helps you lose weight more gradually than other bariatric procedures, you may not experience saggy skin. It also depends largely upon your body; everyone is different, and age and skin quality plays a role.

How much water can you drink with a Lap-Band? ›

Follow these guidelines to ensure you stay hydrated after surgery: Drink at least 2 to 3 quarts (64 to 96 ounces) of non-carbonated water/liquid per day. Drink sugar-free beverages (i.e. Crystal Light) or drinks with NO MORE than 5 calories per 8-ounce serving.

Can you exercise with a Lap-Band? ›

Exercise is an important part of Lap Band surgery recovery, long term success, and learning how to lose weight. Most patients can participate in exercise within six weeks after their operation.

What age is lap band for? ›

LAP-BAND®, also called adjustable gastric banding surgery, is a weight-loss procedure. It is FDA-approved for teenagers and adults 18 years of age or older. If you are considering bariatric surgery and are at least 18 years old, LAP-BAND may be an option for you.

How much weight do you have to lose before gastric sleeve? ›

Amount of pre-surgery weight loss

Some patients are required to lose 10 percent of their weight before weight-loss surgery is performed. For other patients, losing just 15 to 20 pounds right before surgery is enough to reduce the risk of complications.

Can you gain weight back with lap band? ›

Even with all its benefits, bariatric surgery does not guarantee permanent weight loss. In fact, people who undergo certain weight loss procedures, such as gastric bypass, gastric sleeve or lap band surgery, gain about 8 to 10 percent of their weight back on average.

Can I lose 100 pounds with lap band surgery? ›

For example, if a patient weighs 350 pounds but their ideal weight is 150 pounds, their excess weight is 200 pounds and they can expect to lose 100 pounds with Lap-Band surgery.

How long does it take to get a lap band? ›

Gastric banding (LAP-BAND) and sleeve gastrectomy can be performed in 1-2 hours while gastric bypass is generally performed in 2-3 hours. What are the different types of weight loss surgery? There are four main types of procedures.

How long are you down after lap band surgery? ›

Generally, lap band surgery offers you a short hospitalization period with a quick recovery compared to the gastric bypass process. However, most patients can return to work one week after surgery (if their job is not too physically demanding). Regular activity can usually resume after six weeks.

Are you awake during lap band surgery? ›

Lap Band Implant Surgery

We give you medicine to help you fall asleep and not feel any sensation during the procedure (general anesthesia). Our surgeon makes up to 5 small incisions in your abdomen.

Is lap band considered major surgery? ›

Despite the fact that some surgical techniques can be done laparoscopically with reduced risk, all bariatric surgery is considered to be major surgery.

How much weight can you lose in a week on a lap band? ›

Most patients lose about half of their excess weight following gastric banding, and they lose it slowly and steadily, about one to two pounds per week.

Can you eat normal after lap band surgery? ›

You will eat only liquid or pureed food for 2 to 3 weeks after your surgery. You will slowly add in soft foods, and then regular foods. When you start eating solid foods again, you will feel full more quickly. Just a few bites of solid food may fill you up.

Is lap band painful? ›

You may be feeling some regular nagging pain in your abdomen. Again, most of the pain will be at the site of the Lap Band port. This is typically located a few inches under your ribs on your left side. Continue to take your pain medication as needed.

What happens to your stomach after lap band removal? ›

Following removal of the gastric band, most people's stomach returns to its normal, pre-operative state. If you have developed good diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits and are able to maintain these habits following removal of your band, you may be able to keep the weight off.

Can you drink with a lap band? ›

It is recommended that you avoid alcohol for at least six months following your procedure. When your specialist gives you permission to start drinking alcohol again, avoid sugary and carbonated beverages.

Can you drink soda with a lap band? ›

Carbonated drinks can cause stomach discomfort and can enlarge the "pouch" created by the Lap-Band. Soda, beer, and sparkling wine are not a good idea after Lap-Band surgery. Many of these beverages are also high in calories and pass quickly through the Lap-Band without satisfying hunger.

Which is better lap band or sleeve? ›

While a lap band procedure may be a better option for some, gastric sleeve surgery is generally the better, more permanent option. During gastric sleeve surgery between 70-80 percent of the stomach is completely removed, resulting in a sleeve or banana-shaped stomach tube.

What can go wrong with a gastric band? ›

If you have gastric band surgery, there's a small risk that the band could move out of position.
Gastric band slipping out of place
  • heartburn.
  • feeling sick.
  • vomiting.


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