Lap-Band® System

The LAP-BAND® System is the most commonly performed gastric banding procedure. LAP-BAND® is the brand name for the FDA approved adjustable gastric band used at West Georgia Surgery Bariatric Services. Gastric banding is adjustable and is the least invasive weight loss procedure. This procedure does not require re-routing of the intestine or interfere with the normal digestive process. It does require the implantation of the gastric band device, a silicone band that is placed on the upper part of your stomach, creating a small, golf ball sized pouch. Your stomach will hold less food and the band slows down food motility through your stomach. Your appetite will decrease, you will feel fuller faster and you will eat less and still be satisfied.

Weight loss is gradual, at a healthy rate and customizable. The LAP-BAND® System can be adjusted to fit your specific needs. You will have a shorter hospital stay and recovery time with this surgery compared to traditional gastric bypass surgery. Regular follow-up visits will be required. This procedure is reversible and should not cause permanent changes to your gastrointestinal tract. The risk of complications with the LAP-BAND® System is significantly less than with gastric bypass surgery.

Who are candidates for the LAP-BAND® System?

Gastric banding is ideal for individuals who cannot tolerate the riskiness of gastric bypass surgery and other more invasive gastric procedures due to underlying health problems. Individuals with conditions such as gastric inflammatory diseases, heart or lung disease and anatomical abnormalities of the gastrointestinal components (esophagus, stomach, intestines) may not qualify for gastric band surgery. The West Georgia Surgery team will work to ensure that you are properly qualified for surgery to reduce threats to your health.

To be a candidate for weight-loss surgery, you must:

Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or greater

If your BMI is between 35 and 40, you must have at least one significant associated illness such as diabetes, hypertension, arthritis or sleep apnea

Have a personal ongoing commitment to improve your health and lifestyle

The Surgery

The gastric band procedure only takes about an hour to complete under general anesthesia. Since this surgery is laparoscopic, the surgeon will make small incisions in your abdomen instead of one big incision, and insert a viewing tube with a small camera, the surgical instruments and the LAP-BAND® System.

The LAP-BAND® System is positioned around your stomach, locked and secured in place by sutures. A port is then attached to your abdominal wall. This is where the doctor will inject saline into the LAP-BAND® System device to adjust the restriction on your stomach to suit your specific weight loss needs. Saline is not usually injected until about 6 weeks after surgery to let your body heal and get used to the device.

Advantages of choosing the LAP-BAND® System:

  • Minimally invasive: No stomach cutting, stapling or intestinal rerouting
  • Lowest complication and mortality rates
  • Adjustable and customizable for each patient
  • Reversible
  • Low malnutrition risk
  • No "dumping syndrome"
  • Gradual, healthy weight loss
  • Prolonged sense of fullness after meals

Risks associated with the LAP-BAND® System and surgery:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Band slippage
  • Dilation of the esophagus
  • Erosion of the band into the stomach
  • Deflation of the band due to leakage of saline
  • Enlargement of the stomach pouch
  • Obstruction of the stomach
  • Reoperation (possibly requiring open surgery)
  • Anesthesia complications
  • Death


Prior to your surgery, our clinical dieticians will educate you on proper nutrition and assist you with your pre-operative diet. Your pre-operative diet begins 7 days prior to your surgery and consists of:

Low carbohydrate diet: SlimFast or Carnation Instant Breakfast (Sugar Free)

Goal: To shrink the liver by 30-40% to improve access to area

Cheat on this diet: Surgery may have to be aborted (you will know before the surgery - obvious to us when we start the surgery!)


You have made the commitment to have bariatric surgery. Your digestive system has just undergone a major change and will take several weeks to adjust. You can expect to spend one night in the hospital after surgery where you will be monitored eating a liquid diet. Because of the much smaller size of your stomach, even the liquid portions will be small.

Upon your return home, you may feel sore and tired. You will be given prescription pain medication and should get plenty of rest. Walking is encouraged early on to prevent blood clots. Any other exercise or heavy lifting is only permitted when you get the "okay" from your surgeon. Typically, a liquid diet of clear broths, skim milk, sugar-free popsicles and fruit juices is recommended for the first two weeks while your stomach is healing. Then you can be slowly reintroduced to solid foods. You should drink a lot of water; however, not with your meals as this can induce nausea and vomiting. West Georgia Surgery Bariatric Services will provide you with a post-surgery nutrition plan, complete with a vitamin and mineral regimen that should be followed as long as you have the LAP-BAND® System. Our registered dieticians will explain this in great detail before your surgery.

Adjustments to your LAP-BAND® System will be required after your surgery.

The first adjustment is usually 6 weeks after surgery

Generally there are 3-8 adjustments in the first year

Adjustments are less frequent after the first year

You can expect to have a minimum of 1 visit per year

Success is dependent on a continuing program of follow-up visits and LAP-BAND® System adjustments

Remember that you spent a lifetime putting on the weight; it takes time to take it off. The West Georgia Surgery bariatric team is here to assist you along the way, providing encouragement and answering your questions.