Qualifying for Bariatric Surgery

Lap Band® Procedure

Lap Band® is a restrictive surgical procedure. During this procedure, two medical devices are implanted in the patient: a silicone band and an injection port. The silicone lap band is placed around the upper part of the stomach and molds the stomach into two connected chambers. The injection port is attached to the abdominal wall, underneath the skin. The port is connected to the band with soft, thin tubing.

Your surgeon may tighten the lap band by injecting saline into the injection port.

As the saline is introduced to the injection port, it travels through the tube to the band. The addition of saline to the band creates a smaller opening between the stomach and the upper stomach pouch. This smaller opening pouch restricts the amount of food you can eat before feeling full. The Lap Band does not alter your digestive function. Food consumed passes through the digestive tract in the normal route. Approximately four to six weeks after surgery, you will visit your clinician and begin a series of periodic procedures to adjust your band. These adjustments may be necessary as long as you have your gastric band.

Lap Band Procedure Animation

How is Lap Band Procedure Performed?

This surgery is performed by laparoscopy. A surgeon makes small incisions in patient’s abdomen in order to access the organs, insert the lap band system and perform the operation. The recovery after laparoscopic surgery is quick and well tolerated.

Advantages of Lap Band

  • Least invasive bariatric surgery
  • No intestinal re-routing
  • No stomach stapling or rerouting
  • Lap Band is reversible
  • Quick recovery

Disadvantages of Lap Band

  • Complications may include band erosion, infection, or slippage
  • Requires close follow up every 3-4 weeks after surgery for about a year and a half in order to adjust the band
  • Slower weight loss compared to the gastric bypass or the gastric sleeve
Lap Band

Follow Up after Lap Band Procedure

Lap Band requires more intensive follow-up care than most other bariatric surgeries. This is mostly because the band is adjustable. Keep in mind that even after reaching and maintaining your success weight, you may still need to see your healthcare professional for further adjustments. The following are the visits after gastric band:

  • 10 day post of visit during which incisions will be assessed, diet reviewed, and questions answered
  • Every 4-6 weeks lap band fills under fluoroscopy performed in the office

Learn about the lap band adjustments.

Risks and Complications

All procedures generally carry some level of complications risks. With lap band surgery complications can include: nausea and vomiting, difficulty swallowing, reflux, port problems, outlet obstruction, band slippage, pouch dilation, band erosion, band intolerance.


How much weight will a patient lose after lap band procedure?

On average, patients that undergo lap band procedure will lose about 50% of their excess weight during first 12 months.

Who qualifies for a gastric band?

These are general guidelines for health insurance coverage:

  • You are more than 100 lbs. over your ideal body weight OR
  • You have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40 OR
  • You have a BMI of over 35 and have comorbidities, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, related to being severely overweight

It is possible to qualify with BMI lower than 35 when paying out of pocket. However, a patient must understand that this procedure will be performed for cosmetic reasons rather than treatment of comorbidities.

Read more about qualifying for bariatric surgery.