Lap Band Surgery

One of the newest procedures in bariatric surgery uses the LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Banding system – named for its laparoscopic or minimally invasive surgical technique and the implanted medical device, a gastric band. This adjustable band is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen, placed around the upper part of the stomach to create a small pouch or “new” stomach and then locked securely in a ring. To perform the surgery, the surgeon inserts a narrow camera through another incision in order to see the operation on a video monitor. 

 Image of Lap Band Procedure

The gastric band has a balloon on the inside that can be filled with saline solution into an access port that is connected to the band by a tube. The port is placed under the skin in the wall of the abdomen. Inflation of the band reduces the opening (stoma) between the upper and lower part of the stomach, thus limiting food intake, prolonging the period of fullness and assisting with weight loss.

At the time of surgery, the band is left empty. After six weeks, the first adjustment is made by adding saline to the band. Throughout the first year, two to three additional adjustments are made to tighten or loosen the band to find its ‘sweet spot,’ where it is not too loose and not too tight. Each adjustment is done in the office and takes about 15 minutes. Periodic adjustments are continued as needed to allow the patient to lose weight gradually and then maintain the weight loss. Patients find this surgical procedure an effective method in achieving long term weight control. 

LAP-BAND® is different from open gastric bypass surgery where the stomach is actually cut into two parts, creating an upper (“new”) and lower stomach. Next, the small intestine is cut and divided and the lower portion is connected with staples or stitches to the new stomach. Finally, the upper portion of the small intestine is reconnected to the lower stomach so that essential juices from the stomach, pancreas and liver continue to aid in digestion. 

The advantages of LAP-BAND® over gastric bypass surgery include:

  • No cutting or stapling of the stomach 
  • Stoma size can be adjusted to patient's needs after surgery, without an additional operation 
  • More easily reversible 
  • Shorter operation, hospital stay and recovery time 
  • Less pain

In addition, LAP-BAND® patients have fewer long-term problems with vitamin deficiencies. Patients who undergo gastric bypass sometimes struggle to get enough protein, calcium and other essential vitamins to meet daily requirements and therefore, must supplement their diet.

LAP-BAND® surgery allows patients to lose weight gradually and adapt physically and mentally to their dramatic weight loss and new lifestyle.


Do you have questions about the Bariatric Center at Palomar Medical Center Poway in North San Diego County? Visit Our Services for more information or  Contact Us.

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