LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Band

Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding
The LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Band is a small device made of silicone rubber which is wrapped around the very uppermost portion of the stomach. Gastric banding is a purely restrictive procedure, which means that it works by decreasing the functional size of the stomach. The LAP-BAND® turns the stomach into an hourglass shape -- the upper portion of the hourglass is called the stomach pouch. The food you eat quickly fills the pouch, then empties very slowly through the constriction created by the band, just like sand passing through an hourglass.

The LAP-BAND® was approved by the FDA for general use in June 2001. While the final data has not yet been compiled, the preliminary information suggests that Americans can lose about 40-50% of their excess body weight with this device. This compares to 50-80% of excess weight loss with gastric bypass and BPD-DS.

Advantages of the LAP-BAND®
The LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Band has several potential advantages:

  • Because it is a relatively simple operation, it has a very low operative risk. No cutting or stapling of the stomach is required, and the small intestine is not rerouted. Because of this, the procedure is more easily reversed than other types of weight loss surgery.
  • The band is adjustable by injecting saline into an access port which is located underneath the skin on your abdomen. This allows the amount of restriction to be tailored to your personal needs. No other operation has this adjustability.

Disadvantages of the LAP-BAND®
Some disadvantages include:

  • The LAP-BAND® is a foreign body. Any time a foreign body is placed around the stomach, problems such as infection or erosion may occur.
  • Everyone requires multiple band adjustments (at least 3 or 4). Some people require substantially more adjustments. For some people, it may be difficult to find the "sweet spot" where the band is tight enough for good weight loss but not so tight that it causes vomiting.
  • Weight loss with the LAP-BAND® is quite variable. While some patients have excellent weight loss with the device, others have very little.
  • The LAP-BAND® may have a higher need for reoperation than other procedures. Up to 10-20% of patients may need revisional surgery after the LAP-BAND®.


Q. I have heard there is a "Swedish" band as well. Is this device currently available in the United States?

A. No, as of 2005, the only adjustable gastric band available is the LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Band from the Allergan Corporation. Other gastric bands may be available in the U.S. in the near future.

LAP-BAND® is a registered trademark of Allergan, Inc.

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