Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) is a “restrictive” weight loss procedure. It was introduced in 1993 and is now widely known as LAP-BAND® Surgery (LAP-BAND® is a specific brand of adjustable gastric banding preferred by many surgeons). LAP-BAND® was approved for use by the FDA in 2001 and, according to the manufacturer, has been used in more than 600,000 patients. Other devices are now equally used, such as the Realize® band, with similar results.
In this procedure, a band is secured around the upper portion of the stomach, separating it into a small section and a larger section. Weight loss is achieved by reducing the capacity of the stomach, thereby allowing the patient to experience a sense of fullness more quickly, even while consuming less food. Digestion takes place naturally, as the now smaller portions of food pass through the stomach normally. Unlike other restrictive weight loss procedures, laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding does not require the removal of any part of the stomach or intestine. Once the band has been secured, it can be adjusted. A sterile saline solution can be injected into the band (through a subcutaneous port on the patient’s body) to inflate and tighten it, thereby restricting the size of the stomach. The saline solution can also be removed to loosen the band. By tightening or loosening the band, it’s possible to adjust the rate of weight loss to suit the patient’s needs.
Before you decide whether laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding is your best option, you should consider both its advantages and disadvantages.