Lap Band Surgery: Health Benefits, Cost, Treatment & Aftercare

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Lap band surgery is one of many FDA-approved surgical procedures to treat obesity. This procedure, which makes the stomach smaller with an inflatable and adjustable band, is fully reversible with a short recovery time, especially when compared to other bariatric procedures like gastric bypass.

If you’re considering your options for bariatric surgery to help you lose weight, it’s important to understand how the lap band procedure works and how it can help you lose a substantial amount of weight over time.

Health Benefits of Lap Band Surgery

The lap band procedure, also known as a laparoscopic adjustable gastric band (LAGB) procedure, can help you reduce food consumption by effectively reducing the size of your stomach opening. This is done gradually in stages by adjusting the band to restrict how much food you can eat at each meal and how fast food leaves the stomach. The long-term success of a lap band procedure will depend on how well you can change your eating habits, however.

Unlike some bariatric procedures, the lap band procedure does not cause malabsorption as food is digested and absorbed normally. It’s considered a restrictive procedure, not a malabsorptive procedure like gastric bypass.

According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, the laparoscopic adjustable gastric band procedure also comes with other health benefits:

  • It does not require rerouting the intestines or cutting the stomach.
  • The procedure is adjustable and reversible.
  • This laparoscopic procedure requires a shorter hospital stay than other procedures. Most people stay in the hospital less than one day.
  • It has the lowest rate of early complications and mortality among all FDA-approved bariatric procedures.
  • Because it does not cause malabsorption, it has a low risk of causing mineral and vitamin deficiencies.

Further, a recent report revealed that weight loss achieved after stomach-narrowing surgery in extremely obese individuals resulted in reduced knee pain.

Bariatric surgery is considered the most effective treatment for morbid obesity, according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity. A successful procedure can reduce your risk of fatty liver disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, musculoskeletal disorders, some types of cancer, and other chronic health conditions.

If you are considering lap-band surgery, know all the risks and benefits, and talk to your bariatric surgeon to determine if it is the right option for you. It might be helpful to talk to other patients who have already had lap band surgery.

How Much Does Lap Band Weight loss Surgery Cost

The average cost of lap band surgery is about $14,500, although this cost varies significantly by area. When performed as an outpatient procedure, the cost can be much lower. Most health insurance companies also cover laparoscopic lap band surgery, even though it was considered experimental just a few years ago.

Overview of Lap Band Surgery Procedure

The LAGB bariatric technique is based on a simple principle of reducing your food intake by reducing the volume of your stomach. The procedure is performed laparoscopically using very tiny incisions in the abdomen for small surgical instruments and a camera. The gastric band will be wrapped around the upper section of the stomach to create a ring.

The ring will then be attached to an access port under the skin, which allows the surgeon to insert a needle to add or remove saline that tightens or adjusts the band to reduce the size of the stomach. The first adjustment of the band usually occurs within one to two months (typically within six to eight weeks) following surgery but multiple adjustments will be necessary.

Lap Band Surgery Aftercare

Soreness and discomfort are common after lap band surgery, although this can be managed with pain medication. For the first two weeks, it’s important to stick with a liquid diet while the stomach heals. While some people do not notice much difference at first, others feel full after a small amount of liquid. Solids can be slowly reintroduced to your diet after two weeks, although you will feel full after eating a much smaller amount of food than normal.

Once you can eat solid food, the lap band will be adjusted through the port. Several adjustments are usually necessary during the first year to find the correct size that helps you eat less, feel full with the proper amount of food, and not feel nauseous after eating.

It’s imperative that you go to all of your doctors appointments for band adjustments following lap band surgery in order to receive optimal results.

During the first year, you can expect to lose about two to three pounds per week with a commitment to a healthy diet and exercise. While this procedure has a slower rate of weight loss than gastric bypass, you can still expect to lose 40 percentor more of your excess weight within the first year.

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