Lap band surgery (sometimes also called ’gastric band surgery’) is a procedure most people associate with weight loss. Although this is true, what many people don’t realize is that lap band surgery can help with alleviating other problems that are oftentimes connected to obesity and higher BMI (body mass index) of over 30 or 40. In most cases, each person within that BMI range will automatically qualify for the lap band surgery.
The Idea Behind the Procedure: Lap Band Surgery Explained
The basic idea behind the lap band surgery is this: a bariatric surgeon places a thin, adjustable ring (gastric band) around the patient’s upper part of the stomach. The patient’s esophagus leads directly to the small stomach pouch that the bariatric surgeon created. The adjustable gastric band stands between the two newly created stomach ’chambers,’ limiting the amount of food or liquid a person can take in.
The stomach remainder and the duodenum are now an ’extension’ to the small stomach pouch, which means that the food or liquid has to get through these two stomach ’chambers’ rather slowly. That’s why patients who have lap band surgery must chew their food very slowly. They also need to abstain from drinking fluids while eating. Any type of liquid should be taken 30 minutes before or after the meal.
Eating Less Equals Weight Loss
As we’ve mentioned, by having lap band surgery, the patient gets a smaller stomach pouch, which can’t process higher volumes of food like before. Patients with gastric bands and lap band surgery feel full already after a few bites. This leads to a caloric deficit which eventually leads to significant weight loss. The math behind this is rather simple: the less food an individual can take during the day, the more weight they lose. This happens much faster with having an adjustable gastric ring inserted.
It’s Not Only About Weight Loss
This surgery can help patients with various other health problems as well: lap band surgery is not only about treating obesity. There are recent studies that show that bariatric surgery leads to long-term remission for type 2 diabetes. The surgery also can improve cardiovascular health, relieve depression, eliminate obstructive sleep apnea, give joint pain relief, improve fertility, and help alleviate other medical conditions like metabolic syndrome, pregnancy complications, and gallbladder disease.
How Safe Is Lap Band Surgery and How Much Does It Cost?
Lap band surgery is very safe if it’s performed in a facility with extensive experience in this field. Although surgery is performed under general anesthesia, the procedure is minimally invasive. A surgeon makes a few keyhole incisions (usually between one and five small surgical cuts in the abdomen) and uses a laparoscope (a long narrow tube with a camera) to place the lap band.
The cost of the surgery varies greatly, and it’s usually much higher if a person doesn’t have health insurance. Non-insured patients can expect to pay around $20,000, while the cost of the surgery is significantly lower for those who are insured – approximately $3,500, depending on the clinic. This amount is supposed to cover most expenses, including the lap band removal cost – which shouldn’t incur any further surgical fees. We’d recommend you to discuss the cost of everything in advance, and ask for a written quotation. That way you’ll be sure that the fee covers everything – the surgery, follow up, dietician, bariatric physician, and psychological counseling.
What Are the Advantages of Having a Lap Band Surgery?
We’ve already mentioned some of the health improvements a patient can expect to see and feel, but there are also very concrete reasons why you should choose a lap band surgery over other similar options.
For starters, the lap band procedure is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for everyone with a BMI of 30 or over, in case they’re facing other health risks that are tightly connected to obesity. Secondly, the lap band procedure is the least invasive surgery for weight loss, which means that the period of recovery is significantly reduced, compared to some other procedures. The surgery itself doesn’t include intestinal rerouting, which means that there’s no cutting or stapling of the stomach wall or bowel. This also means that the pain one suffers from a procedure is reduced greatly and that the hospital stays and recovery time are also shortened.
Other Benefits – Potentially a Long Term Weight Loss and Overall Well-Being
Once a patient is out of the hospital, she or he starts recovery. It’s important to note that there’s a low risk of nutritional deficiencies which are often times associated with gastric bypass. On top of this, there’s almost no risk of ‘dumping syndrome‘ whatsoever, which is typical in gastric bypass procedures as well.
Because the lap band is adjustable it gives the surgeon a possibility to customize how exactly (at what rate) the food flows from one stomach compartment (pouch) to the next. This allows a plan for potential long-term weight loss. These adjustments are made without the need for additional surgery, so you don’t have to worry about that part. The lap band surgery is also approved for use during pregnancy – this gives you a clearer picture of how safe this procedure really is. And the best part is that the lap band is removable at any time. The stomach usually retains the ability to get to the previous state rather quickly.
Also consider the significant health benefits that are possible. Weight loss surgery can reverse the symptoms of many chronic conditions and help to avoid the most severe outcomes, such as foot or leg amputation due to late-stage diabetes.
The Bottom Line
If you’re serious about losing weight and becoming healthy overall, and you meet the aforementioned criteria for the lap band surgery, we’d recommend you to find a suitable clinic and ask for a quotation. People who’ve had the lap band surgery have reported significant improvements in health and lifestyle in general.
As a direct consequence of this, their social life has also been revived – losing weight has made them more active and engaged in everyday situations. The quality of life of those people became much more improved, and they were much happier and more content as a result.
Mia Johnson is a writer with a ten-year long career in journalism. She has written extensively about health, fitness, and lifestyle. A native to Melbourne, she now lives in Sydney with her 3 dogs where she spends her days writing and taking care of her 900 square foot garden.