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Lap-Band Surgery - 8 Important Facts

  • lap band facts

    What do New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan, singer Carnie Wilson and television personality Sharon Osbourne all have in common? They've all had Lap-Band surgery.

    The Lap-Band System is an FDA-approved weight loss procedure designed to adjust the anatomy of the stomach to help reduce your food intake. This reversible laparoscopic surgery involves placement of a silicone belt around the upper part of the stomach in order to shrink it to about the size of a golf ball. The result? You feel fuller and therefore eat less.

    The cost of Lap-Band surgery can vary depending on many factors, but you can expect a range of $17,000 to $30,000. This is a significant amount of money, but you may be able to get insurance coverage if the procedure is deemed medically necessary. Given the potentially high cost of treatment, itís important that you take the time to evaluate the procedure at length to determine if itís the right option for you ó not only financially, but also for your lifestyle.

    Here are eight interesting Lap-Band System facts that could help you determine whether or not the gastric banding treatment is a fit for you:

  • 1. It's Not a Magic Bullet

    not a magic bullet

    You will not lose weight immediately after your Lap-Band surgery. Surprised? Donít worry, you will eventually begin to lose weight as a result of the procedure.

    The gastric banding procedure helps you put your best foot forward to making healthy lifestyle changes that aid in weight loss. By physically restricting the amount of food that you can eat at any given sitting, on any given day, you are removing the biggest obstacle in your weight loss challenge: overeating.

  • 2. Weight Loss Worth the Wait


    Though Lap-Band surgery is not an instant fix for weight loss, you may eventually see weight loss results of 50-100 pounds within 12-18 months after surgery. But only if you follow your surgeonís postoperative advice and adhere to the appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes.

    The amount of weight lost varies from person to person. During clinical trials, participants lost 40 percent of their excess weight on average. Speak with your bariatric surgeon about the sort of results you should expect to see during your consultation to better set your expectations.

  • 3. Not Everyone is a Candidate

    lap band candidacy

    Candidates for surgery with the Lap-Band System must have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40, which is equivalent to being about 100 pounds overweight for men and 80 pounds overweight for women. Thatís not to say there arenít exceptions. If you have a BMI between 30 and 40 and have an obesity-related illness such as diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, you might be a candidate for Lap-Band.

    The only way to determine whether or not the Lap-Band System is right for you is to schedule a consultation with a bariatric surgeon.

  • 4. Success Not Guaranteed

    how successful is lap band

    Not everyone that has Lap-Band surgery will find success with the procedure. Generally speaking it's an effective method for significant weight loss, but there are instances in which Lap-Band removal is advisable.

    For example, if you are unable to lose an adequate amount of weight after an 18 to 24 month period, your surgeon may recommend removal. (Losing less than 30 percent of your excess weight would be considered less than adequate.)

    There also are situations where the Lap-Band itself causes problems for the patient and must be removed. Some people experience "band intolerance" and have issues with nausea, vomiting, discomfort or pain. Patients may experience gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) after placement, or have difficulty swallowing. In some instances the band itself could slip or the implant site could become infected.

    For these reasons and more, it's essential that you continue to speak with your Lap-Band surgeon after placement and adhere to the strict rules set forth as part of your recovery.

  • 5. Bypass the Risks


    Like any medical procedure, there are risks associated with Lap-Band Surgery. These can include bleeding, infection, erosion of the band into the inside of the stomach, blockage of the stomach, band leakage, etc. However, the Lap-Band System is considerably safer than some of the other weight loss options such as gastric bypass.

    Lap-Band surgery has fewer complications than gastric bypass because it is far less invasive. There is no cutting or stapling of the stomach, and no altering of the intestines required. For this reason it does not require hospitalization in most cases, whereas gastric bypass and other invasive procedures could require multiple days of hospital recuperation. What's more, the Lap-Band System is completely reversible.

  • 6. It's Adjustable

    adjustable lap band

    The Lap-Band System is adjustable, meaning that it can be tightened or loosened as needed without additional surgery. How is this possible? The belt has an attached easy-access port that is placed in the abdominal wall during surgery. This port can be filled (with saline water) or emptied as needed to adjust the size of the stomach passage.

    The port is typically left empty for the first four to six weeks after surgery, after which time your surgeon may suggest a "fill" procedure to tighten the belt.

  • 7. Generally Quick Procedure

    quick procedure

    Treatment time varies, but the Lap-Band System is typically an outpatient procedure that takes less than an hour while the patient is under general anesthesia. The laparoscopic procedure requires only a few tiny incisions in the abdomen so that the band can be inserted and placed. Recovery time varies, but most patients can expect to be back into the swing of things in less than a week.

  • 8. Say Goodbye to Solid Foods... (Temporarily)

    lap band diet

    You will likely be required to stick to a liquid-only diet for at least two weeks after Lap-Band placement. Ice chips, skim milk, fruit juice and sugar-free popsicles are hot menu items during this recovery period as the swelling in your stomach heals.

    After two weeks, you will begin to reintroduce solid foods back into your diet (slowly). Semi-solids and pureed foods may be advised for an additional two to four weeks after the liquid diet, before making a grand return to solid foods approximately six weeks after treatment.

    This period can be difficult for many people to adjust to, but it's also a great way to jumpstart your new healthy eating lifestyle.

  • 9. In Conclusion

    in conclusion

    When it comes to weight loss surgery, you've got a number of options to consider beyond Lap-Band. It's important that you evaluate every procedure and speak with a qualified bariatric surgeon before deciding on any given treatment.

    Contact a local bariatric surgeon today to get the ball rolling on your weight loss surgery consultation.

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