Lap Band Surgery (Gastric Banding)

  • Medical Author:
    Ruchi Mathur, MD, FRCP(C)

    Ruchi Mathur, MD, FRCP(C) is an Attending Physician with the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and Associate Director of Clinical Research, Recruitment and Phenotyping with the Center for Androgen Related Disorders, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

How is the lap band (LAGB) procedure performed?

Lap band or LAGB is a surgical procedure done under full general anesthesia and takes about 1 to 2 hours to perform. It is done using a laparoscopic technique. This involves making 3 to 5 small incisions, each about 1 inch in length. The surgeon inserts a small camera attached to a tube into one of these incisions and views the procedure on a screen. The other incisions allow for the use of surgical instruments and placement of the band. The gastric band is placed around the upper part of the stomach and set into position with sutures. The port is then placed in the wall of the abdomen and sutured in place.

How do I prepare for lap band surgery?

Depending on the surgeon or the program, the preparation for surgery will vary. Many centers like to see a commitment from the patient to the necessary lifestyle changes even before surgery. It may be suggested that the patient start eating 5 to 6 small meals a day to prepare for the changes ahead. It may be recommended to wean off "slippery" high calorie foods such as ice cream or milk shakes (since these will continue to be easily absorbed after the procedure).

If the BMI is greater than 50, or if there are other medical issues, medical risk reduction may be needed preoperatively and should be discussed in detail. In addition, a weight loss of 5% to 10% prior to surgery has been shown to improved post operative outcomes, and may be a goal that your surgeon or preoperative care team will discuss with you.

How long is the recovery after lap band surgery?

Recovery varies with each individual. However, in general, LAGB offers a shorter hospitalization and quicker recovery than gastric bypass procedures. In general, most people can return to work 1 week after surgery (if their job is not too physically demanding). Normal activity can usually resume after 6 weeks.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/17/2016

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