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Lap Band Surgery: How Does It Work?

Sep 16, 2008
Lap band surgery is a procedure aimed to promote weight loss for people struggling to cope with obesity. Overall, the lap band surgery is a simple procedure where, in short, a small implant is placed around the top portion of the stomach to form a 'gastric pouch'. Here's how it works:

A 'gastric band' with a small balloon inside is attached around the top portion of your stomach, forming a smaller 'gastric pouch'. The placement of the band creates a small pouch at the top of the stomach that holds up to approximately 30 ml, which works out to about 1/8 cup. You are inclined to eat less because the pouch holds less food than the whole stomach. As the upper part of the stomach registers itself as being full, it sends a message to the brain saying that the entire stomach is full. This is the main principle behind the lap band procedure; this tightening of the stomach feeling or sensation helps the person to:

1. be hungry less often
2. to eat smaller portions
3. and lose weight over time.

This pouch is filled with a saline solution or a Radiopaque isotonic solution which is injected into the band via a port. Via the port, the surgeon has control over the amount of saline solution that is inserted into the band. When fluid is injected, the lap band expands and places pressure around the outside of the stomach. This causes a decrease in the size of the passage between the pouch and the lower stomach; restricting the movement of food.

The gastric band is adjusted or inflated via a small port inserted just under the surface of the skin. When adjusting the lap band (same as gastric band) a specialized needle must be used as to avoid causing any damage to the port or the port membrane. These ports come is many different styles and designs and may be placed based on the surgeon's recommendations.

Once the procedure is done, (usually takes about 45 minutes) the next stage is the post operative follow-up adjustments, support, and lifestyle changes. The patient will need to visit their doctor every few weeks in order to receive their saline injections. Over this time the band is filled to the point where the patient feels they've hit a 'sweet spot' where optimal restriction has been achieved. This is just based on personal preference and each person will be different.

Interestingly enough, the entire lap band operation is fully reversible! The lap band surgery is the ONLY weight loss surgery that is reversible. That's because gastric band placement, unlike other procedures like malabsorptive weight loss surgery (an example would be Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery), doesn't cut or remove any part of the stomach or the digestive system. It's usually easy to remove the band and reverse the surgery, requiring only a laparoscopic procedure, after which point the stomach should return back to its normal pre-banded state.

So that's how the entire lap-band procedure works, but we still haven't touched upon post-surgery support, diet plans, proper nutrition, healthy lifestyle, the list goes on and on, so be sure to keep coming back to Lap Band Blog as we continue to examine the new weight loss surgery craze that is the the lap band surgery.
About the Author
Looking for information about lap band and lap band surgeries? Then check out Lap Band Blog, your online source for lap band news and information from around the globe. Covering a wide range of topics related to lap band surgeries and post surgery support.
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