What is lap band surgery?
Lap band surgery, also known as gastric banding, is used to aid weight loss in obese patients who have failed to lose weight by conventional means.
During lap band surgery a physical barrier is put in place around your stomach, three quarters of the way up, to create a small pouch. The food you eat fills this pouch much quicker than it would fill your whole stomach so you feel fuller sooner and eat less. The food then passes through the small opening left by the gastric band and continues along the normal digestive process.
Risks lap band surgery operation
As with all operations that involve having a general anaesthetic, lap band surgery carries a small but significant risk, and can be fatal. Although this is extremely, rare and occurs in less than 1% of cases, the fact that patients undergoing this procedure are normally significantly overweight increases this risk. If your weight problems have also lead to diabetes, breathing or heart problems, or other associated conditions these will increase the risk further.
This article on lap band surgery is written by Jackie Griffiths, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.
Although lap band surgery is done laparoscopically (keyhole surgery), through a small incision in the abdomen, there are still a range of complications which can occur during the surgery itself, including:
In around one in twenty cases, the laparoscopic procedure will need to advance to a full ‘open’ surgery as a result of complications. In around 10% of procedures a second operation is needed to fix a problem and this should be considered when making your decision. However, the more experienced your surgeon the lower the risks have been shown to be.
Common complications of lap band surgery
There are a range of post-operative problems reported with gastric bands, and over 80% of patients will experience one or more of the following symptoms:
Nausea and vomiting (50%)
Reflux or regurgitation of food (35%)
Slipped band (25%)
Obstruction or blockage (15%)
If these complications cause you serious discomfort your band may need to be adjusted or removed. This involves further surgery, exposing you to all the associated risks once again.