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Nurse's Guide - Is Lap Band Surgery Right For You?

Oct 31, 2007
You may have come to the point at which you're not sure which way to turn. You've tried diets and nothing seems to work for one reason or another. At this point some people turn to the Lap-Band system or other adjustable gastric banding as a temporary solution to their weight loss problems. Yes it is surgery and major elective surgery should always be considered carefully. However it's a better alternative to gastric bypass surgery, which is permanent.

The LAP-BAND System has been around since it received approval from the FDA in June of 2001, for use in the US. The choice for anyone to undergo any type of weight loss surgery should not only be a carefully thought out medical decision but a consideration of the total costs, whether or not covered by insurance, as well. Adjustable gastric banding, including the Lap Band, is a form of restrictive bariatric or weight loss surgery designed for patients with obesity problems with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater or between 35 and 40 for those who have conditions that have been known to improve after losing weight.

Bariatric surgeons have certain criteria they use to determine whether one can be considered for lap band surgery. For example, emotionally unstable people can't be considered for lap band surgery. In order to be considered one must completely understand the risks and benefits of the gastric band procedure and have a willingness to follow the substantial lifetime dietary restrictions required for long term success. Generally the failure of dietary or weight-loss drug therapy, if that has been tried, for more than one year can make one eligible for the adjustable gastric band procedure. If someone has a dependency on alcohol, pain killers or prescription or hard drugs, they won't be eligible for adjustable band surgery.

In general, gastric banding, which includes the Lap Band procedure and weight loss system is indicated for people with a Body Mass Index above 40, as mentioned, or those who are 100 pounds (45 kg) or more over their estimated ideal weight according to the Tables from the1983 Metropolitan Life Insurance Tables which are still used today, or for those between 30 to 40 years of age with what are called co-morbidities (high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, and arthritis) which may improve with weight loss.

The following may explain part of the procedure in this short space. Lap band before and after pictures or photos or a video would give you a better idea and those should be available with a little bit of research and I strongly recommend this. You want to have a full and complete understanding of what takes place in this surgery as it will affect you in many ways for years to come.
The adjustable gastric band or Lap Band is an inflatable silicone prosthetic device which is placed around the top portion of the stomach using what is called keyhole laparoscopic surgery, which is exactly what it says - an insertion through a keyhole size incision. A side note: If the adjustable gastric band post-surgical patient is considering becoming pregnant, ideally the patient should be in the best nutritional condition prior to conception and deflation of the band may be required prior to the planned conception.

The bariatric or lap band surgeon uses a specialized needle is to avoid damage to the port membrane. The band is inflated and adjusted via a small access port placed just under the skin subcutaneously. A radiopaque isotonic solution or saline solution is introduced into the band by way of the port. As the upper part of the stomach thinks it's full the message the brain is receiving is that the stomach is full and this sensation helps the person eat smaller portions and lose weight over time. Now when fluid is introduced into the stomach the lap band will expand, placing pressure around the outside of the stomach. This will decrease the size of the passage in the stomach and restrict the movement of any food.

There will be a diet to follow initially. Regaining weight can happen with any surgical weight loss procedure including the more radical procedures that initially result in rapid weight loss. Some patients may find that that before their first 'fill' they are still able to eat fairly large portions.

Regarding pregnancy: the lap band may remain deflated during pregnancy and once breast feeding or bottle-feeding is completed the band may be gradually re-inflated to help with postpartum weight loss if needed.

The World Health Organization recommendation for monthly weight loss is about 1.1 to 2.2 pounds each week and an average gastric banded patient may or may not lose this amount. Using the proper and most sensitive adjustment of the gastric band is essential to weight loss and the long term success of the lap band procedure.

Complications like slippage can occur over time, which is an unusual occurrence where the lower part of the stomach may prolapse over the band and cause an obstruction. Adjustable gastric band problems or lap band complications that can occur are: erosion, abdominal pain, loss of strength, infection, fever, hernia, pain, chest pain, incisional infection, incision pain, and even death.

A very common occurrence for lap band patients is the regurgitation of non-acidic swallowed food from the upper pouch, commonly known as productive burping, which is not normal. And erosion can occur where the band may wear a small area on the outside of the stomach which can lead to the migration of the band to the inside of the stomach.

Many patients choose to travel to Mexico and other countries for low cost lap band surgery. In the US, Houston, Texas is a popular place. The amount you pay for your surgery will vary. There isn't a set price for lap band surgery. Financing may be available if insurance doesn't cover it. The adjustable gastric band surgery is fully reversible, has a short hospital stay and there is usually a quick recovery. Reading lap band success stories or testimonials may help you in making a decision. Blogs or forums may be of help. Think it through very carefully if you decide to go ahead.
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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