The Laparoscopic Gastric Band is an adjustable silicone band placed around the top of the stomach, just below the oesophagus (food pipe). The band creates a restriction or narrowing to the top of the stomach, forming a smaller stomach or “pouch” about the size of a golf ball. This serves to reduce the size of the stomach and the amount of food that can be ingested in any one meal, as well as slowing the passage of food through the restriction.
The band is connected via narrow tubing to a port, which is placed under the skin either to the left side of the abdomen, or over the sternum (chest bone). The band can be adjusted post-operatively by injecting fluid into the port, to inflate the band (rather like the inner tube of a tyre) and creates a further restriction to the passage of food to reduce food intake and encourage further weight loss.
The Operation is performed laparoscopically using keyhole surgery under general anaesthetic. Five small incisions are made into the abdomen into which a flexible camera scope and surgical instruments can be introduced, enabling the surgeon to manoeuvre the band into place from the back of the stomach, securing it with sutures such that it remains in place. This technique avoids the necessity for a large abdominal incision and aids a quicker recovery time for patients.
LAGB avoids large incisions and unlike other forms of weight loss surgery, the operation does not permanently alter or change the anatomy of the gut and intestine. As the procedure is carried out laparoscopically, post-operative recovery times are fast and most patients can expect to be discharged home after 1 day post operatively.
Weight loss tends to be more rapid in the first year post-banding with maximal weight reduction achieved at 18 months – 2 years. Patients can achieve up to 50% excess body weight loss or 30% of initial weight. This weight loss will reduce the risk of disease associated with obesity and improve quality of life for very many patients. Your long term weight loss success can only be achieved by making permanent dietary and lifestyle changes in addition to the band restriction. Having a lap band in place will not effortlessly make you lose weight.
The band is adjustable to suit the individual patient. The band is intended to remain in place permanently to help achieve and maintain weight loss. It can be removed if necessary, but this requires further surgery. Gastric banding does not in interfere with other types of surgery, but your doctor should be informed that you have a band in place.