A laparoscopic adjustable gastric band (or lap band) is an inflatable device that is placed around the top of the stomach.
The band presses into the stomach to form a small pouch, and helps restrict the amount of food that can be consumed. The band pressure is adjusted by injecting fluid into the band – often via a port that is fitted just beneath the skin.
- The Gastric Band is considered to be the safest and least invasive of all the weight loss surgeries
- Patients typically have a shorter stay in hospital, a quicker recovery time, and have smaller scars and less pain afterwards
- There is no permanent changes to the human body, and it is totally reversible
- The band can be adjusted (tightened or loosened) at any time after surgery without further surgery
- There are fewer problems with vitamin deficiencies in comparison to other bariatric procedures
- Gastric bands have a slower weight loss than other gastric surgeries, and worse overall weight loss outcomes
- Sometimes the band can end up scarring of the stomach, or even erode into it
- Sometimes it can slip out of place or leak and become ineffective
- Many surgeons do not recommend them any more because of complications and them being less effective than bypasses and sleeves
- According to a study about complications, 50% of gastric band patients require a further operation, including 25% who experience major late complications – and 73% of patients saying they wouldn’t chose a gastric band again
My surgeon doesn’t fit gastric bands any more, although there are others in Ireland that are still performing the procedure. Some people also choose to get the surgery abroad because it’s cheaper.
Personally, I never considered it as an option, because I’ve heard too many horror stories – about people who have had complications, or people that put all the weight back on again, and eventually opted to have the band removed and get a gastric bypass or sleeve instead.