Gastric Banding Main Content

smiling female health care worker preparing for surgery

The LAP-BAND® System, also known as gastric banding, is the least invasive of any bariatric surgical procedure. LAP-BAND® is one of two trade names for gastric banding, the other is the Realize® brand. Patients prefer gastric band surgery because of the safety of the procedure, however, long-term weight loss potential is lower in general.

How Gastric Banding Works

The procedure involves implanting two medical devices, a gastric band and injection port, into the abdomen to control the flow of food into the stomach. The gastric band is essentially an inflatable ring made of high-grade silicone. It is compatible with the body and no allergic reactions have been reported. The band is fitted around the upper portion of the stomach and tightened to mold the stomach into two connected chambers. The smaller, upper pouch will hold the food consumed, causing the restriction that makes the patient feel full sooner. The food that does pass through the new smaller stomach opening is digested normally.


The injection port is attached to the abdominal wall and is the device that gives the surgeon the ability to adjust the band using a special surgical needle. The band and injection port are connected to a thin flexible tube that acts as a path for saline to be transferred to and from the band. The surgeon can adjust the band by injecting or removing saline, making the band tighter or looser depending on the patient’s progress.


Typical Results of Gastric Band Surgery


  • Generally LAP-BAND® patients experience up to a 50% loss in excess body weight
  • Diabetes is eliminated in up to 50% of patients but is dependent on weight loss alone and there are no changes in gastrointestinal hormones

Advantages of Gastric Banding


  • The LAP-BAND® is the safest surgical solution for weight loss since there is no cutting of the stomach or rerouting of the intestine
  • The minimally invasive nature of the procedure results in shorter recovery time, less pain, less blood loss and shorter hospital stays
  • LAP-BAND® is adjustable and can be modified based on weight loss, fullness with meals and ability to eat without difficulty
  • The band can be removed and in most cases, the stomach will return to its normal shape

Risks and Considerations


  • Band slippage may lead to the stomach migrating above the band, which will not only reduce its effectiveness, but may require emergency care and a revisional procedure to remove or reposition the band
  • LAP-BAND® patients require a higher level of aftercare, as the band will have to be adjusted several times during the first year and periodically after
  • LAP-BAND® generally has the lowest potential for weight loss when compared to other bariatric procedures
  • Reflux may improve early after surgery but in the long term may worsen
  • There is a high removal rate of the band, approximately 50% by 10 years

Recovery and Aftercare


The average LAP-BAND® patient may be able to leave the surgical center the day of surgery or the following day. A liquid diet and then soft food diet, will be necessary for four weeks after surgery.


Going back to work will depend on each patient’s progress and recovery, however patients will generally return to work after one to two weeks.


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