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Gastric Lap Band

Gastric Lap Band

Many people across the world are now opting for Weight-loss surgeries. This definitely is not a solution for people who want a quick fix or who do not want to diet. Patients who undergo this surgery must adhere to a strict diet plan combined with a minimum of 30 minute exercise everyday after the surgery.

The other Weight loss surgeries that are commonly opted for are:

  • Gastric Bypass Surgery- This is a procedure where the surgeon re-routes the digestive system which causes rapid weight loss
  • Gastroplasty- This is a procedure where the surgeon re-routes the digestive system and also restricts the amount of food that is eaten by making the stomach smaller

Both the above said procedures are open surgeries where the doctor makes a five to six inch long incision with a 3-4 day stay at the Hospital. Neither of these procedures are reversible. A potential fatal complication involved when doing a Gastric Bypass and Gastroplasty is Anastomotic Leak. This leak happens at the staple line and is quite rare, happening in less than 2 percent of the cases.

A Gastric Lap Band Procedure on the other hand, is minimally invasive, performed by a laparoscope with small incisions and is completely reversible.


The Gastric Lap band is a hollow band that is made of Sylastic. This is a kind of plastic that does not have any reactions to internal tissues. The band consists of an inflatable tube, which when filled with saline solution can be adjusted to change the size of the stomach pouch.

The procedure is done under General Anesthesia. Three to five small incisions (1.5-2 inches long) are made and with the help of a Laproscope the gastric lap band is placed around the Upper third portion of the stomach pouch. The band is adjusted through a small access port that is placed just under the skin. Saline solution is injected into the band through this port. These ports are available in various designs and are usually placed based on the preference of the bariatric surgeon. The positioning is usually done near the left rib margin.

When injecting the saline solution, a specialized needle should be used to avoid damage to the port. The port can either be sutured or stabled into place. Immediately after surgery the band is empty. After about 6 weeks the surgeon adds small amounts of saline. The amount of saline that is added will vary from one person to another.

This stoma or pouch that is created would be able to hold about 100-220grams of food during each meal. Once the pouch is full, the band slowly allows this food to be passed on to the lower portion of the stomach. Eventually, the procedure enables the patient to feel hungry less often, feel full more quickly and helps the patient to eat smaller portions of meal.

Associated Risks

The most significant complication that can occur is alteration of the stomach pouch, due to slippage of the band or stretching of the wall of the pouch. In addition there is always the risk of erosion of the band in the stomach.

Other risks include:

  • Band leakage
  • Reflux or vomiting
  • Erosion of band into stomach
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Enlargement of stomach pouch or band slippage
  • Dehydration
  • No weight loss
  • Blockage of stomach outlet
  • Gas bloat
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Ulceration
  • Weight regain
  • Gastritis

One of the main advantages of a Gastric Lap Band Surgery is that it can be reversed if any of the above complications become serious.


Usually patients are able to return home the same day. However, some patients may be required to stay overnight at the hospital, depending on how they recover after the procedure.

It takes about 6 weeks for complete recovery.

Bariatric Surgeons usually give a planned customized diet plan for every patient. The pattern is such that a gradual increase in the intake of food is made over a period of several weeks. This is done to help the body to get accustomed to the new size and shape of the stomach pouch. This needs to be followed strictly to reduce discomfort and avoid potential side-effects.

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