Lap band surgery has been used since the early 1980’s to help patients that are severely overweight reach their weight goals for a healthier life. The procedure involves the placement of a hollow band made of a synthetic material around the upper portion of the stomach. The lap band surgery is done through a set of small incisions that allow the doctor to place the lap band on the stomach.
Once in place, the lap band is secured to the stomach surface with a series of sutures that will hold it in place and prevent it from slipping down further on the patient’s stomach. This band will restrict the amount of food that a patient can eat in one meal and will help them lose weight as their body adjusts to the lower caloric intake. Because this smaller portion of the stomach is still processing the food, these smaller meals will help the patient feel full when eating.
The lap band is also adjustable in the amount of restriction it provides for the stomach and it can be made more or less restrictive if needed. These changes are done by injecting a saline solution into the lap band through an adjustment port that is placed just below the patient’s skin during the lap band surgery. This adjustment can be done anytime it is needed and is usually done right in the doctor’s office
Unlatching A Gastric Band
There are very few incidents of lap band failure reported with this procedure and the vast majority of patients are successful with their weight loss goals as a result of having the surgery. Even in the rare cases where there was concern that the lap band unlatched, most of these have been attributed to slippage of the lap band and not a failure of the material. This usually occurred in a patient that was consuming too large a meal at one time, too soon after having the procedure. The lap band is designed to be placed on a patient’s stomach and remain there for life. This is to ensure that they can maintain the weight loss they achieve over time.
In recent years there has been a trend to design a lap band that can be removed if needed and has led to a latched version of the lap band where the actual lap band unlatched easily if needed. The latching assembly allows selective locking and unlocking of the gastric band. This way a doctor could remove this style of lap band after it was placed in the patient.
Unlike conventional lap bands that are made of a continuous loop of material, this lap band unlatched when needed and could be slipped off of the stomach and removed. This initially raised concerns that there could be problems if the lap band unlatched prematurely, but this has not proven to be the case with these systems. Even in the rare case where the lap band unlatched, the worst that would happen is that the patient would have the full use of their stomach until the band was secured. The advantage these new systems provide is the ease of removal while still allowing the band to help control eating for the patient.