Is Lap-Band Surgery Reversible?

April 15th, 2011 - Posted to Weight Loss

For many patients considering the lap band surgery, the reversibility of the procedure is appealing. However, although the lap band can be removed in a relatively simple operation, this is generally only done if medically necessary. The lap band is intended to remain in place for the life of the patient, and patients who have the device removed usually regain weight.

The lap band is an option for a large number of obese patients. The Food and Drug Administration has approved it for patients with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 and with at least one weight-related medical condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea. The procedure is also approved for patients with BMI of 35 or greater, even if they do not suffer from any weight related illnesses. The average lap band cost across the United States is $14,532.

The gastric band works like this:

  • A small, hollow, flexible ring is placed around a section of the upper stomach.
  • This is connected by a tube to a port placed just beneath the skin of the patient’s abdomen.
  • When the ring is filled with saline (saltwater), it cinches around the stomach, creating a small pouch.
  • When this pouch fills with food, the gastric band patient feels full. The pouch is small, so this happens quickly. Because the patient eats very little, he or she loses weight.

Adjusting the Lap Band

Another important aspect of the lap band is its adjustability. After the lap band is in place and the patient has recovered from surgery, the doctor or nurse will begin a series of adjustments to create a custom fit to optimize weight loss. This is done through a simple office procedure, during which fluid is added or removed from the lap band system to tighten or loosen the band around the upper part of the stomach. Generally, the patient will have regular adjustments until they have reached a level of comfortable, steady weight loss. However, the lap band can be adjusted at any time to meet the needs of each individual.

More Information on the Lap Band

Los Angeles residents: We offer free seminars at our facility, located in Marina Del Rey Hospital. At these events, you can meet with our staff, who will help you determine if the lap band is the right solution to your own obesity. We also provide free consultations if you prefer to discuss your treatment options in a more private setting. If you would like more information on the lap band, please call Marina Weight Loss at 310.577.5540 or schedule an appointment with our weight loss surgeon.