The obesity epidemic is growing. Officially, someone is classed as being obese if their BMI (body mass index) is higher than 30 kg per square meter. Treating obesity is mainly down to encouraging healthy lifestyle choices. However, surgery is also becoming increasingly popular. The lap band surgical procedure is perhaps the most popular of all, particularly because it is so minimally invasive.
What Is the Lap Band Procedure?
The lap band procedure is generally referred to as the LAGB (laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding). It involves placing an adjustable silicone band around the top part of the stomach. This is done through keyhole surgery, which means it is minimally invasive. The band can be tightened or loosened depending on the particular needs of the patient through a port just underneath the stomach’s skin.
The goal of LAGB is to restrict the stomach’s size and thereby its ability to hold a certain amount of food. Furthermore, it means food is released into the intestine slower, leaving people feeling fuller for longer. Instead of using the entire stomach, patients only have access to a small pouch on the top and this pouch fills very quickly, after which a signal is sent to the brain saying it is full.
What Is a Lap Band?
Basically, it is a device that is made by a number of different manufacturers. The trademarked lap band is made by Allergan Inc, but many other gastric bands now also exist and they are known under the same name. Different models and sizes exist to suit specific patients.
Who Can Have a Lap Band?
In order to have LAGB, you will have to meet a number of requirements. This includes:
- Having a BMI that is higher than 40kg per square meter, or higher than 30-kg per square meter with underlying health conditions relating to obesity.
- Having tried to lose weight unsuccessfully in the past.
- Being at least 18 years old.
- Being ready to commit to significant lifestyle changes in order to make the procedure a success. This is usually determined through a psychological assessment.
Patients who have limited understanding of the procedure or who are dependent on alcohol or drugs will usually be turned down. If people have experienced gastrointestinal issues in the past, they may also be declined. Other conditions, such as lung or heart problems, can also mean surgery may not be provided. Finally, those who have a BMI that is higher than 50kg per square meter will usually have to lose some weight through other means first. This can be achieved through a range of other temporary procedures, including the gastric balloon.
Opting for surgery is a life changing decision. If done properly, it will change your life for the better. However, this means that you must be committed to making real changes to the way you live your life. If you are not ready for this, then now is not the time to opt for surgery either. The success rate will depend entirely on your personal commitment.