What is it?
Gastric band surgery, the most well known is the LAP-BAND®, is a restrictive but adjustable type of bariatric surgery that restricts the amount of food one can ingest at a time, thus aiding in weight loss and portion control. The band is made of medical grade silicone and through a laparoscopic surgery (surgery that uses only small incisions) it placed around the upper part of the stomach. The band portion, also called the collar is attached to a port that is able to be accessed from outside the body in order to adjust the restrictiveness of the band.
How does it work?
The gastric band creates a narrowing in the upper part of the stomach. The portion of the stomach above the band is often referred to as the pouch. This constriction of the stomach thereby reduces the amount of food one can eat in one sitting because food fills up the top part of the stomach then slowly empties into the remainder of the stomach. This aids in weight loss by causing the sensation of fullness quicker and for longer. Through the port on the outside of the body, the physician can increase or decrease the constriction of the band, making the passage of food slower or faster depending on desired outcomes.
Who is it for?
Gastric band procedures are suitable for those with BMIs around 30-40 who wish to undergo a surgical procedure that is more adjustable and less invasive than other bariatric surgeries, such as gastric bypass, and is removable if necessary. The gastric band allows for a certain amount of control over weight loss and the recovery time is quicker than for other surgeries. Weight loss may not be as profound or quick as the gastric bypass or gastric sleeve, but it may be a good option for those who do not have that much weight to lose.
Average Weight Loss
On average, individuals lose about 30% of their excess weight at 6 months and then 65% at 1 yr.
Average cost of the LAP-BAND® System is approximately $14,500. Pricing, of course, varies between clinics, demographics of the region, insurance coverage and demand for the product. Insurance companies have been known to help cover the cost of gastric band procedures, usually if obesity related medical conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, exist.