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Nurse's Guide To Lap Band Surgery

Oct 16, 2007
There are about seven or eight adjustable gastric bands on the market today. Unlike gastric bypass surgery, the adjustable gastric band or lap band surgery procedure is reversible. The decision to undergo weight loss surgery is not only an important medical decision but a significant financial decision too.

In general, gastric banding, including the Lap Band procedure and weight loss system, is indicated for people for whose Body Mass Index is above 40. Also for those who are 100 pounds (45 kg) or more over their estimated ideal weight according to the 1983 Metropolitan Life Insurance Tables or for those between 30 and 40 with co-morbidities that may improve with weight loss; some examples are high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, and arthritis. It's almost always contraindicated if the surgery or treatment presents an unreasonable risk to the patient. People who have a dependency on alcohol or drugs are not eligible for adjustable band surgery.

The failure of a dietary or weight-loss drug therapy for more than a year can make a person eligible for the adjustable gastric band procedure. In order to be considered for the surgery one must fully understand the risks and benefits of the gastric band procedure and the have the willingness to comply with the substantial lifelong dietary restrictions that are required for long term success.

The adjustable gastric band or Lap Band is an inflatable, silicone prosthetic device which is placed around the upper portion of the stomach using keyhole laparoscopic surgery.
Whenever fluid is introduced into the stomach the lap band expands, placing some pressure around the outside of the stomach; this decreases the size of the passage into the stomach and restricts the movement of food. As the upper part of the stomach believes it's full the message to the brain is that the stomach is full and this sensation helps the person eat smaller portions of food and lose weight over time.

Calcium supplements and Vitamin B12 injections are not usually required following gastric banding as they are with Roux-en--Y gastric bypass surgery and some other types of weight loss surgery. And gastric dumping syndrome problems don't happen in lap band surgeries because none of the intestines are removed or re-routed.

Lap band or gastric band placement, unlike the traditional malabsorptive weight loss surgery (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, biliopancreatic diversion and duodenal switch) does not cut or remove any part of the digestive system. Following surgery, adjustments, which are also called 'fills', may be performed using a fluoroscope so the radiologist can evaluate the placement of the band, the tubing and the port which runs between the port and the band. Some patients may find that before their first 'fill' they're still able to eat fairly large portions of food. And regarding fills, some doctors are more aggressive than others, but most seem to require a two to four week wait between fills

Many doctors make the first adjustment between six to eight weeks after surgery to allow the stomach enough time to heal. Then after that the fills are performed as needed. Initial weight loss in gastric banding is slower than with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery but statistics indicate that over a five-year period the weight loss outcome is very similar.

Adjustable gastric band post-surgical complications include: abdominal pain, loss of strength, infection, fever, hernia, pain, chest pain, incisional infection, incision pain, and even death. Other complications that can occur with gastric band surgery include ulceration and irritated stomach tissue.

Some of the adjustable gastric band post-surgical digestive complications are nausea, vomiting, gastro-esophageal reflux, stoma obstruction, constipation, dysphagia, diarrhea, and abnormal stools. Some of the adjustable gastric band surgery complications involving the band itself and port include: band slippage, pouch dilation, esophageal dilatation or dysmotility and the erosion of the band into the gastric lumen.

Mexico is one of the top low cost travel destinations for adjustable gastric band surgery outside the United States, where the cost for lap band surgery is usually between $8,000 and $10,000. Some post-surgical weight loss surgery teams offer support groups, but some of them mix gastric bypass surgery patients with gastric banding patients, so try to find a support group for gastric banding only if you have this surgery. Make sure if you do travel away from home for any surgery that you factor in the cost of the travel time and related travel expenses for both the surgery and any follow-up appointments.
About the Author
For information on lap band weight loss surgery and lap band surgery complications go to http://www.Lap-Band-Surgery-Info.com a nurse's website for tips on lap band surgery, adjustable gastric band surgery, medical travel for low cost lap band surgery and cost of lap band surgery
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