Gastric Banding (Lap-Band)
Approved by the FDA in 2001, gastric banding (or Lap-Band) is one of the
least invasive treatments for morbid obesity. It induces weight loss by
reducing the capacity of the stomach, which restricts the amount of food
that can be consumed. Since its clinical introduction in 1993, almost
150,000 banding procedures have been performed around the world and more
than 30,000 in the U.S. alone.
In 2011, the FDA approval expands the use of the Lap-Band to include obese
individuals with a BMI of 30 to 34 who also have an existing condition
related to their obesity.
During the procedure, surgeons usually use laparoscopic techniques (using
small incisions and long-shafted instruments) to implant an inflatable
silicone band into the patient’s abdomen. Like a wristwatch, the
band is fastened around the upper stomach to create a new, tiny stomach
pouch that limits and controls the amount of food you eat. It also creates
a small outlet that slows the emptying process into the residual stomach
and intestines. As a result, patients experience an earlier sensation
of fullness, making it easier for patients to lose weight by consuming
Since there is no division of the stomach, the gastric banding procedure
is described as being less traumatic compared to other weight-loss surgeries.
As with the gastric bypass, the laparoscopic approach to the surgery offers
the advantages of reduced post-operative pain, shortened hospital stay
and quicker recovery.
To modify the size of the band, its inner surface can be inflated or deflated
with a saline solution. The band is connected by tubing to an access port,
which is placed below the skin on the upper abdomen during surgery. After
the operation, the surgeon adjusts the amount of saline in the band by
entering the port with a fine needle through the skin.
Generally, patients require at least 6-12 adjustments in the initial months
after surgery to obtain the appropriate degree of "tightness”
to feel full on an appropriate amount of food. The band may require further
adjustments as months and years pass, so patients need to be committed
to frequent doctor visits.
Physician Referral and More Information
To be referrered to a bariatric surgeon or for more information on Alvarado's
Surgical Weight-Loss Program, call the bariatric program coordinator at
e-mail her. You can also call our customer service representatives at (800) ALVARADO
(800-258-2723) or click here to access our
online physician directory.
Alvarado Advantage Club
Join the free Advantage Club and take advantage of extra perks: Priority
parking, free newspaper delivered with breakfast if hospitalized, pharmacy
discounts, discount at Alvarado cafe/gift ship, membership welcome gift
and a free cup of gourmet coffee for you or a guest. To sign up,