Firstly what is lap-band surgery?
Lap-band is short for laparoscopic gastric banding.
Gastric Banding is the positioning of an adjustable band around the top part of the stomach to shrink the amount of stomach available for eating. This stimulates the feeling of satiety when eating. Usually there is only enough room for upto 50mls of space. This allows the reduction of volume of food eaten. Thus, this is useful for those people who are volume eaters, ie eat more that the people around them. This is not so useful for people who snack or eat small but high calorific foods.
Laparoscopic gastric banding is the positioning of the band by key-hole surgery via 5 small cuts in the abdomen.
What are the benefits for the patient?
There are dramatic benefits from the resulting weight loss. The weight loss is usually 40% of the excess weight of the patient (NOT 40% of the total patient weight). Therefore if someone weighs 200Kg instead of 100Kg, their expected weight loss would be approximately 40Kg.
Patients who do well with this procedure are those who have shown previous weight loss by other means, e.g. dieting or via medication; those who are motivated to change their entire lifestyle, including exercising and changing their eating habits.
This system can be cheated and there are many patients who this is not suitable for. There are many examples of patients initially losing weight and then regaining weight after returning to their old eating habits.
Risks of Surgery
There are many risks involved in this type of surgery. They can be categorised as risks due to the particular type of surgery and risks due to the obesity of the patient.
Risks of Gastric Banding include band migration, band erosion, nutritional deficiencies from reduced intake.
Risks of surgery in an obese patient include increased risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis), myocardial infarction (heart attack), death, lung disease, obstructive sleep apnoea.
If you are contemplating this type of surgery you must see your family doctor first and assess your suitability before seeing a surgeon and be able to prove your motivation to losing weight.