Adjustable gastric band (also known as the lap-band or LABG) is a type of bariatric surgery, or surgery intended to help people lose weight. Bariatric surgery may be considered as a treatment for people with a body mass index (BMI) above 35. Some surgeons will consider candidates with lower BMIs if they face serious medical complications.
What does it involve?
The goal of bariatric surgery is to shrink the stomach and limit the number of calories you can absorb.
You will be under general anesthetic for gastric band surgery. During gastric band surgery, the surgeon will make several small, minimally invasive incisions (laparoscopy) to open your abdomen. The surgeon will place a device around the upper portion of your stomach. After four to six weeks, when you have recovered from surgery, the doctor will inflate the band with saline solution, tightening the device and making your stomach significantly smaller. The band can be adjusted by a doctor by adding or removing saline. The band can be removed, making gastric band surgery reversible.
After gastric band surgery, you can expect to leave the hospital within 24 hours, perhaps even the same day. Most people can return to work within one week after gastric band surgery.
Bariatric surgery has been proven effective for weight loss and improved blood glucose control.
Any surgery carries risks including blood clots, blood loss, infection, breathing problems, reactions to medication, and heart attack or stroke during the surgery.
Some bariatric procedures can result in malabsorption of nutrients and nutritional deficiencies. Malabsorption can also result in gas, constipation, and diarrhea.
After bariatric surgery, there is a risk for complications such as reflux, incisional hernias, leaks, and bowel obstructions.
You will need to change your lifestyle significantly after bariatric surgery. You will need to change what and how much you eat and be sure to get enough exercise. You may need to take nutritional supplements to remain healthy. If you were diabetic, you will still need to check your blood glucose levels regularly. Hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) can return after bariatric surgery.
If you lose a lot of weight quickly after bariatric surgery, you may develop significant amounts of loose skin. Some people feel embarrassed about the way the loose skin looks, and some choose to have plastic surgery to remove it.
Depending on your diagnosis and what type of healthcare insurance plan you have, your plan may not cover all or any of the costs of bariatric surgery.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Bariatric Surgery Procedures - American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric Surgery for Type 2 Diabetes Reversal: The Risks – American Diabetes Association
Recovery From Bariatric Surgery - University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester, NY