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What is LAP-BAND® Surgery?

LapBand - nwwls

The LAP-BAND® is a silicone ring designed to be placed around the upper part of the stomach in a gastric banding procedure. This ring is adjustable through a port under the surface of the skin which is connected to a balloon encircling the inner surface of the silicone ring. Sterile saline solution is introduced through the port by a provider in our clinic in an outpatient setting, thereby reducing the diameter of the stomach opening. This procedure creates a new, small pouch in the stomach that can only hold a small amount of food, and you feel full sooner.

How Does Gastric Banding Work?

Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band involves implanting an adjustable gastric band around the stomach to promote weight loss by restricting the amount of food you can eat at one time. Unlike other surgeries, such as gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgery which alter the body’s hunger hormones, gastric banding does not have the same positive effect on the metabolic process. If you are seeking an effective long-term weight loss solution, but you aren’t sure which option is right for you, our free seminars can be a great way to learn more about weight loss surgery.

Preparing for Surgery

The first step is a consultation appointment with one of our experienced bariatric surgeons. Your doctor will review your medical history, discuss your goals and answer any questions you have about weight loss surgery. If you and your doctor decide that gastric band surgery is right for you, you’ll receive detailed pre-surgical instructions with one of our patient care coordinators.

Your Bariatric Procedure

Gastric band surgery is typically an outpatient procedure performed with general anesthesia. Your surgeon will make a series of very small incisions in order to place the gastric band laparoscopically. At NWWC, bariatric procedures are performed at Sound Surgeons, which is our fully accredited specialized surgical center. 

Recovery After Surgery

Patients typically resume day-to-day activities one to two weeks after surgery, although you may be restricted from strenuous activity for up to six weeks. Unlike other bariatric surgeries, gastric band patients require ongoing follow-up appointments for band maintenance.

Alternatives to Gastric Band Surgery

Advances in medical science and research allow us to continually update our best practices. In the case of gastric banding surgery, while it was once very popular, most bariatric surgeons are now phasing out their use of this procedure. When it was first introduced, many surgeons and patients embraced it as a less invasive alternative to procedures such as gastric bypass. However, recent studies have shown that the high rate of complications associated with gastric band surgery combined with a lower than expected rate of weight loss make it a less effective tool than other types of bariatric surgery—specifically, studies report that approximately 44% of gastric band patients do not reach their goal weight or they need to have the band removed due to complications.1

Fortunately there are several tried-and-true bariatric procedures with proven track records of success that are suitable alternatives to gastric band surgery. Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, commonly known as gastric sleeve, is currently the most popular bariatric surgery and it offers many benefits.2 For patients with higher levels of obesity or obesity-related medical conditions, gastric bypass or duodenal switch may offer the most health benefits. Gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and duodenal switch all have one very important feature that gastric banding lacks—they each initiate metabolic changes and reduce the body’s production of ghrelin which is a hormone that causes cravings. Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for weight loss, which is why our surgeons take time during your consultation appointment to determine which option is best for you.

Gastric Band Compared to Other Types of Bariatric Surgery

  Gastric Band Gastric Sleeve Gastric Bypass Duodenal Switch
Average amount of weight lost Up to 50% of excess weight Up to 70% of excess weight Up to 80% of excess weight Up to 80% of excess weight
Rate of weight loss Slow Moderate to fast Fast Fastest
Complication rate High Lowest Low Low
  • Reversible
  • Improvement of conditions such as Type 2 diabetes
  • Decreased hunger
  • Long-term weight loss
  • Improvement of conditions such as Type 2 diabetes
  • Decreased hunger
  • Long-term weight loss
  • Improvement of conditions such as Type 2 diabetes
  • Decreased hunger
  • Long-term weight loss
  • High rate of complications
  • Lower rate of weight loss
  • Requires ongoing maintenance
  • Not reversible
  • Not reversible
  • Potential for malnutrition
  • Not reversible
  • Potential for malnutrition

Frequently Asked Questions About Gastric Band

What kind of complications do people experience with gastric band surgery?

Complications or side effects that can occur after gastric band surgery include:3

  • Band malfunctions, such as band slippage, leakage, or infection
  • Band intolerance, in which the body has a negative reaction to a foreign object in the body
  • Stomach blockages, in which food gets stuck in the outlet between the stomach pouch above the band and the lower stomach
  • Port complications, in which the access port under the skin malfunctions or becomes infected
  • Constipation
  • Dehydration
  • Acid reflux
  • Esophageal dilation
  • Failure to lose weight

Am I a candidate for bariatric surgery?

There are a number of factors that determine if you are a candidate for bariatric surgery, including your weight, body mass index (BMI), and medical history. Our highly experienced bariatric team will review your individual information and review all options with you in order to create a treatment plan that is custom-tailored to meet your needs.

Are there revision procedures available for gastric band patients?

Yes, many patients who had gastric band surgery and experienced complications or failed to lose weight will opt for a revision procedure. At NWWC, our surgeons can remove your gastric band and perform another surgery, such as gastric sleeve, to help you reach your weight loss goals.

Contact Northwest Weight & Wellness Center

If you have any questions about gastric band surgery, gastric band maintenance, or weight loss options, we are here to help! Check out our free seminars or contact us to schedule a personal consultation appointment.

1 Kindel T, Martin E, Hungness E, Nagle A. High failure rate of the laparoscopic-adjustable gastric band as a primary bariatric procedure. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2014 Nov-Dec;10(6):1070-5. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2013.11.014. Epub 2013 Dec 6. PMID: 24630503.
2 Ozsoy Z, Demir E. Which Bariatric Procedure Is the Most Popular in the World? A Bibliometric Comparison. Obes Surg. 2018 Aug;28(8):2339-2352. doi: 10.1007/s11695-018-3163-6. Erratum in: Obes Surg. 2018 Mar 16;: PMID: 29512038.
3 Cleveland Clinic. Gastric Band Surgery. Available:–band-surgery#risks–benefitsAccessed June 6, 2022

Being in my mid-50s, change is not something I undertake casually. I had LAP-BAND® surgery with Dr. Michaelson in 2011 because I knew it was time to prioritize my health. My insurance covered the procedure, and I was able to lose 50 pounds in the first eight months. Unfortunately, by 2017, I had gained back all of the weight, plus some. I was still determined to win my lifelong battle with obesity and returned to Dr. Michaelson for a second procedure. This time I had a gastric sleeve revision, which I paid for out of pocket, so you know I believe in my surgeon! To date, I have lost 64 pounds, and I am continuing to slowly lose.

The revision was by far the best decision I have ever made for myself. I feel absolutely amazing! I traveled from Alaska for surgery on a Tuesday and flew home on Friday.
I was back at work on Monday with no issues at all. I’m loving life post-revision!

Robin M.

Wasilla, AK