What is the Lap Band®?

The LapBand® is a medical device manufactured by Alergan that is used in a surgical weight loss procedure called laparoscopic gastric banding. For specific details about the device itself you can visit Alergan’s website at lapband.com. During the procedure, the surgeon places the lap band around the top of the stomach and tightens it so that only a very small amount of food can pass through. By doing this, the functional volume of the stomach is reduced to a small fraction of its normal size. This means that after the procedure, only a small amount of food will fit in your stomach at a given time and until this food moves past the small opening created by the lap band, no more food can be ingested. The surgery is done laparoscopically which means that several small incisions are made in the abdomen, a camera, instruments, and a tube that pumps in carbon dioxide are inserted, and the procedure is done looking at screen that projects the images from the camera. This approach enables the surgeons to perform the surgery with a few small incisions rather than one large one and it results in a faster healing time and fewer scars.

How Much Weight Loss Can I expect?

The average person who undergoes weight loss surgery looses approximately 61% of their excess body weight. That means that the average person ends up getting 61% of the way to what would be a normal weight for their height. However, it is important to remember that results vary from person to person and diet and lifestyle changes are required in order to have significant, sustained weight loss.

Do I Qualify for Bariatric Surgery?

The guidelines for eligibility for gastric banding from the National Institute of Health are as follows:

  • Be well-informed and motivated
  • Have a BMI >40
  • Have acceptable risk for surgery
  • Have failed previous non-surgical weight loss
  • Adults with a BMI >35 who have serious comorbidities such as diabetes, sleep apnea, obesity-related cardiomyopathy, or severe joint disease may also be candidates

To calculate your BMI multiply your weight in pounds times 703 and then divide the result by your height in inches squared. Recent research has shown the benefit of bariatric surgery for individuals with lower BMIs and the criteria may be changing in the near future to include those of lower weight.