Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band - The Newest And Safest Option
Although laparoscopic adjustable gastric band, or lap band, surgery has only been approved for use in the United States since 2001, it is becoming an increasingly popular weight-loss surgery option and is undoubtedly the safest form of bariatric surgery available today.
Approved as recently as 2001 by the FDA, laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery is fast becoming accepted as the safest and least invasive form of weight loss surgery.
Lap band surgery is a form of purely restrictive weight loss surgery and uses a small inflatable band around the upper portion of the patient's stomach to restrict the quantity of food that the patient can consume and also to slow the emptying of food from the stomach so that the patient has a constant feeling of being full. Like many surgeries today, lap band surgery is often performed laparoscopically and operations typically take about one hour, with patients being required to remain in hospital for no more than one night following surgery.
A normal stomach will have a capacity in excess of 1000 ccs but laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery typically reduces this to as little as 15 to 30 ccs. This very much reduced stomach size limits the intake of foods severely and forces the body to begin burning off its fat reserves, thus creating weight loss.
One beauty of this particular form of weight loss surgery is that the surgeon is able to adjust the restriction on the stomach post-operatively through a port which is embedded in the wall of the abdomen just under the skin. This allows the surgeon to monitor the patient's progress and to either increase or restrict further the amount of food that an individual can consume. This feature of lap band surgery not only leads to a safer recovery, but also results in a healthier long term weight loss.
Patients must of course adhere to a strict diet following surgery and for some 18 months will be restricted to consuming less than 800 calories per day. Between 18 and 36 months patients will normally increase their intake gradually until they are consuming about 1200 calories each day. Patients will also need to learn to drink fluids in small quantities throughout the day, avoiding fluids with meals, and will need to take nutritional supplements for the remainder of their lives.
Most patients undergoing laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery will experience a weight loss of approximately 60% of their excess weight, which is slightly less than would typically be seen in other forms of gastric bypass surgery.
Although there are many advantages to lap band surgery it is not without its problems, including such things as a malfunction or slippage of the band, problems with the adjustment port, erosion of the band into the wall of the stomach and infection. Perhaps its biggest problem for many patients though is the fact that weight loss tends to be fairly slow and, of all the procedures performed today, lap band surgery requires the greatest effort on the part of the patient in order to lose weight and to maintain that weight loss.
Although lap band surgery is certainly a very popular option, it is not for everybody and patients undergoing laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery need to be disciplined when it comes to following a strict diet and, ideally, should be prepared to undergo and enjoy an exercise program.
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