The Lap Band System, also known as laparoscopic gastric banding, is an innovative surgical treatment developed to help you achieve significant reduction in excess body weight. Of all the surgical procedures for reducing the capacity of the stomach, laparoscopic banding is the least invasive. The Lap Band System is unique because the band’s diameter is adjustable to meet each patient’s individual needs. Other procedures permanently alter the size of the stomach. The name “Lap Band” is an abbreviated and trademarked combination of the words representing the surgical technique and the product employed in this method (“Lap” from laparoscopic and “Band” from gastric band). Using Lap Band, Mexico / Mexicali weight loss surgeon Dr. Esquerra and Dr. Rodolfo Wilhelmy both friends and colleagues of our mentor the late Dr. Alberto Aceves have helped more than 2500 patients achieve their weight loss goals.


How does the Lap Band System work?

The Lap Band System’s silicone elastomer band is placed around the upper part of the stomach to create a new small stomach pouch which can hold only a small amount of food. The larger part of the stomach is below the band. The stoma (stomach outlet) controlled by the band between the two parts slows down the passage of food from the upper to the lower part of the stomach. This results in an earlier and longer-lasting feeling of satiety (fullness).

To modify the size of the stoma, the inner surface of the band can be adjusted by adding or removing (inflating or deflating) saline, a salty solution similar to fluids found in the body. The band is connected by tubing to a reservoir which is placed well beneath the skin during surgery.

After the operation, the surgeon can control the amount of saline in the band by piercing the reservoir with a fine needle through the skin. If the band is too loose and weight loss is insufficient, the stoma size can be reduced by adding more saline. If the band is too tight, the surgeon will remove some saline. This can be done in a clinic or radiology department without further surgery. The ability to adjust the band is a unique characteristic of the Lap Band System and is a normal part of surgical follow-up for this procedure. If the inflation or deflation does not achieve the desired result, an additional surgical procedure may be necessary.


How is the Lap Band System placed?

The Lap Band System is designed to be placed laparoscopically. Although considered to be significantly less invasive than traditional surgery, laparoscopic surgery is still surgery, and general anesthesia is required. The surgeon makes a few small incisions in the abdominal wall to insert narrow, hollow tubes, and thin surgical instruments are placed through these tubes. The surgeon “sees” inside the abdomen by using a small camera which is also placed through the tubes, and the picture is projected on a television-type monitor. This surgical technique is called “laparoscopy” and is considered “minimally invasive.” Most people experience much less pain following a laparoscopic operation than after a traditional “open” operation in which a larger incision is made through the abdominal wall. Patients also recover faster and are able to resume normal activities more rapidly. However, for a variety of reasons, the surgeon may place the Lap Band System via a larger abdominal incision rather than via laparoscopy. The surgeon may need to make this decision during the surgical procedure. Both approaches are discussed in this booklet. You and your surgeon should discuss the plan and choose what is best for you.


Lap Band System Placement

Lap Band System Adjustment


The use of the Lap Band System

The Lap Band System is an aid to support you in achieving longer-lasting weight loss by limiting how much you can eat, reducing your appetite and slowing digestion. Nevertheless, you should remember that the Lap Band System alone will not resolve the problem of severe obesity nor will it guarantee that you will reach your goal weight or even lose weight. The amount of weight you lose depends not only on the function of the band, but also on your motivation and commitment to maintaining your new lifestyle and eating habits.

How much weight can you lose with the Lap Band System?

The average reported weight loss following a Lap Band System operation is between one-third and two-thirds of excess weight. Some people lose up to 100% of their excess weight and some do not lose any weight.


Assume that you currently weigh 350 pounds, and for your height your ideal weight is 155 pounds. Thus, you are 195 pounds overweight. One third of this is 65 pounds and two-thirds is approximately 130 pounds. With the aid of the Lap Band System, you will probably be able to lose between 65 and 130 pounds.

Some people lose more weight than others. As demonstrated in the above example, you may never reach your ideal weight, but in most cases your health will improve, along with your self-image.

What if removal of the Lap Band System is necessary?

Should you be unable to achieve sufficient weight loss or to adjust to the new eating habits, your surgeon may decide to remove the band, after consultation with you. According to the results obtained to date, removing the Lap Band System will generally restore your stomach to its original form and the digestive tract will again function normally. Please keep in mind that when the band is removed, your weight will probably increase.