LAP-BAND® Surgery and What You Should Know

Approved by the FDA in June 2001, the BioEnterics® LAP-BAND Adjustable Gastric Banding System is the newest and the only adjustable surgical treatment for morbid obesity in the United States. It induces weight loss by reducing the capacity of the stomach, which restricts the amount of food that can be consumed. Since its clinical introduction in 1993, more than 150,000 LAP-BAND procedures have been performed around the world. Reported weight loss is usually around 50% of excess weight (around 80 pounds).

Minimally Invasive Approach

During the procedure, surgeons usually use laparoscopic techniques (using small incisions and long-shafted instruments), to implant an inflatable silicone band into the patient's abdomen. Like a wristwatch, the band is fastened around the upper stomach to create a new, tiny stomach pouch that limits and controls the amount of food you eat. It also creates a small outlet that slows the emptying process into the stomach and the intestines. As a result, patients experience an earlier sensation of fullness and are satisfied with smaller amounts of food. In turn, this results in weight loss.

Least Traumatic Procedure

Since there is no cutting, stapling or stomach re-routing involved in the LAP-BAND System procedure, it is considered the least traumatic of all weight loss surgeries. The laparoscopic approach to the surgery also offers the advantages of reduced post-operative pain, shortened hospital stay and quicker recovery.


Perhaps the biggest advantage of the Lap Band system is that it is completely reversible -by releasing all of the fluid in the band. For whatever reason, if the band needs to be removed, this is possible with a second operation, and the stomach will generally return to its original form.

Adjustable Treatment

The LAP-BAND System is also the only adjustable weight loss surgery. The diameter of the band is adjustable for a customized weight-loss rate. Your individual needs can change as you lose weight. For example, pregnant patients can expand their band to accommodate a growing fetus, while patients who aren't experiencing significant weight loss can have their bands tightened.
To modify the size of the band, its inner surface can be inflated or deflated with a saline solution. The band is connected by tubing to an access port, which is placed well below the skin during surgery. After the operation, the surgeon can control the amount of saline in the band by entering the port with a fine needle through the skin.


Some patients do not lose weight with the lap band. Despite correct placement, adequate nutritional follow-up, there are a percentage of patients who will be unsuccessful with the adjustable lap band. In this situation, and only after a thorough workup, it might be recommended to have the band removed.


Potential risks include something called slippage (3/100 people), where the band or the stomach can move out of the normal position. This can cause vomiting or pain, and will require a second operation to remove the band or to reposition the band. In addition, within the first two years of the band, there is a reported incidence of the band eroding into the stomach. This occurs in less than 2/100 patients, however if it does occur, the band would need to be removed with a second operation. Finally, in a small number of patients, the tubing itself can break and would require a second operation to repair.