LAP-Band Surgery

Quick Summary
LAP-Band Surgery
Procedure Length
30 minutes to an hour
General anesthesia
Inpatient (1-2 days in hospital)
Vomiting, saline solution leakage, etc.
Recovery Time
Return to work in 1 week and are fully recovered in just 2 weeks
40% to 60% of excess body weight is lost over the first 3 to 4 years following surgery
Average Cost
$10,000 to $30,000

What is Lap-band surgery?

Lap-band surgery, also known as laparoscopic gastric band placement or gastric banding is a minimally invasive weight loss procedure that involves placing a thin, adjustable silicone band around the upper region of the stomach to limit food intake. Once in place, the band decreases the flow of food between the upper and lower region of the stomach, thereby causing individuals to feel full faster. This type of weight loss treatment ultimately helps people gradually lose weight by eating less.

Cost of Lap-band

The cost for lap-band surgery ranges from $10,000 to $30,000, with the average cost being around $15,000. There are several factors that can influence the cost of surgery:

  1. Geographic Location: The cost can vary depending on the country, city, or even the specific clinic’s location. The cost of living, overhead expenses, and market competition in a particular area can impact the prices.
  2. Hospital or Surgical Facility Fees: The fees charged by the hospital or surgical facility for the use of their operating room, equipment, and nursing staff can contribute to the total cost of lap band surgery.
  3. Bariatric Surgeon’s Experience: The experience, qualifications, and reputation of the surgeon performing the lap band surgery can affect the cost. Surgeons with extensive experience and a strong reputation may charge higher fees for their services.
  4. Pre-operative Evaluations and Tests: Pre-operative evaluations, lab tests, and medical assessments are typically required before lap band surgery to ensure the patient’s suitability for the procedure.
  5. Anesthesia Fees: Anesthesia is administered during lap band surgery to ensure the patient’s comfort and safety. The cost of anesthesia services is usually separate from the surgical fees.
  6. Post-operative Care: Post-operative care, including follow-up visits, support groups, and adjustments to the lap band, may be included in the overall cost.
  7. Additional Services or Facilities: Some clinics or surgeons may offer additional services or facilities as part of the package. These can include nutritional counseling, psychological support, or access to support groups.
  8. Insurance Coverage: Insurance coverage can significantly impact the cost of lap band surgery. Some insurance plans may cover a portion or all of the surgery if specific criteria are met, while others may require the patient to bear the full cost. It’s recommended that you consult with your insurance provider to understand the coverage and any out-of-pocket expenses associated with the procedure.

It’s important to consult with a qualified bariatric surgeon to discuss your specific needs. They can provide a more accurate assessment and cost estimate based on your unique circumstances.

Are you a candidate?

Lap band surgery is typically recommended for individuals who meet certain criteria and have been unsuccessful with non-surgical weight loss methods. Here are some general factors that may make you a good candidate for the procedure:

  1. Body Mass Index (BMI): Candidates for lap band surgery often have a BMI of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35-39.9 with obesity-related health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.
  2. Commitment to Lifestyle Changes: Lap band surgery requires a commitment to lifelong lifestyle changes, including dietary modifications, regular exercise, and behavioral changes.
  3. Failed Attempts at Non-Surgical Weight Loss: Candidates for lap band surgery have typically tried and failed to achieve significant weight loss through non-surgical methods such as dieting, exercise, and behavioral therapy.
  4. Age and Health Status: Lap band surgery is generally recommended for individuals between the ages of 18 and 60, although this can vary depending on the specific circumstances. Candidates should be in generally good health, without significant medical conditions that could increase the risks associated with surgery.
  5. Psychological Evaluation: A psychological evaluation is often conducted to assess a candidate’s mental and emotional readiness for the procedure. Candidates should have realistic expectations, understand the risks and benefits, and have adequate support systems in place.
  6. Motivation and Willingness to Follow Guidelines: Successful lap band surgery outcomes depend on the patient’s motivation and willingness to follow post-operative guidelines. Candidates should be committed to attending regular follow-up appointments, making necessary dietary changes, and adhering to the recommended exercise and lifestyle modifications..

Individuals interested in lap band surgery should consult with a qualified bariatric surgeon to discuss their specific circumstances and determine if they are a good candidate for the procedure.

Treatment details

Lap-band surgery is performed under full anesthesia and it takes one to two hours to complete.Lap Band Procedure

During the procedure, a surgeon makes a small incision and then inserts a thin tube with a light and camera on the end of it that is called a laparoscope. This tool is used to properly position the band.

The adjustable band is similar to a wristwatch, and it’s fastened around the upper region of the stomach to create a tiny pouch that controls the amount of food a person eats. It contains sterile salt water that allows a doctor to inflate or deflate the band by changing the amount of salt water inside of it.

The band is also connected to a tube with an access port at the end of it. The port is placed directly below the skin during the surgery and thin needle can be inserted into the port to adjust the size of the band by either adding or removing fluid from it.

A surgeon can adjust the band as needed to regulate the rate of weight loss.

Benefits of Lap-band procedure

Lap band surgery offers several potential benefits for individuals struggling with obesity and related health conditions. While the specific outcomes may vary from person to person, here are some potential benefits associated with lap band compared to other weight loss procedures:

  • Does not require stapling, cutting, or redirection of the stomach or intestines
  • The least invasive form of gastric surgery for weight loss
  • Low incidence of serious pain and complications after surgery
  • Shorter recovery times and hospital stays
  • Band adjustments can be performed without having to undergo additional surgery
  • Lowers the risk of nutritional deficiencies that are linked to a gastric bypass
  • Helps sustain weight loss for long periods of time
  • Improves insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and pancreatic function
  • Safe enough to use during pregnancy
  • Cost less than other types of gastric surgeries
  • The band can be removed at any time
  • The stomach typically returns to its original form if the band is removed
  • Improves obstructive sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux, and depression

Recovery time

The hospital stay following the procedure is typically 1 to 2 days, and individuals can usually return to work after one week. Most patients fully recover by the end of the second week.

The first follow-up appointment is usually scheduled two weeks after the surgery. The first assessment to determine whether the band needs to be adjusted is conducted around week six.

The weight loss goal is 0.5 to 1 pound per week and the band is adjusted based on an individual’s weight loss needs. Additional adjustment reassessments are performed every six weeks until the sixth month, and then the appointments are scheduled every three to six months.

After about two years, a weight loss goal of more than 50% should be reached.

How long can the band be left in place?

Gastric bands deteriorate over time and eventually need to be removed or replaced. A band can remain intact for 10-12 years, but once it begins to deteriorate, additional surgery is required to replace or remove it.

Alternatives to Lap-band

Gastric Bypass: Before the introduction of lap-band surgery, a gastric bypass was the most common type of bariatric surgery, which refers to an operation that leads to weight loss by altering the digestive system. A gastric bypass entails using staples to divide the stomach into two parts, a small upper section called a pouch and a large lower section. The small pouch is connected to the small intestine in order to completely bypass the larger portion of the stomach. The pouch allows individuals to feel full after eating smaller amounts of food, and this leads to weight loss.

Sleeve Gastrectomy: Another effective weight loss procedure is sleeve gastrectomy. This type of surgery involves removing a portion of the stomach and forming the remaining section into a sleeve. This reduces the stomach’s size and limits the amount of food a person can consume. As a result, the person begins to feel full after eating small meals and this usually leads to about 80% loss of excess weight over a period of two years.