Expert: Lap-Band Weight Loss Surgery

Saint Alphonsus Lap-Band Weight Loss Surgery

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. For those people who have not been successful with conventional measures, bariatric surgery proves to be the best weight-loss option for clinically severe obesity. At Saint Alphonsus a multi-specialty bariatric surgery program was established in the fall of 2003 to assist these patients.

The Lap-Band¨ System uses new surgical technology to help an individual lose weight by both reducing how much the stomach can hold, and giving the person a sense of fullness. This system, while relatively new to the United States, has been successfully used worldwide with more than 200,000 bands placed to date. It is the most common minimally invasive Bariatric operation worldwide.

Through a minimally invasive process called Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding, an adjustable hollow silicone ring that will be filled with saline is placed around the upper part of the stomach, creating a new, small pouch while leaving the larger portion of the stomach below the band. The pouch above the band can hold only a small amount of food.

The band controls the newly formed outlet between the two parts of the stomach. This outlet can be adjusted via an access port that is placed beneath the skin during surgery and can be accessed in the doctor's office. The size of the opening between the two parts of the stomach controls the flow rate of the food from the upper to the lower part of the stomach. This allows a person to feel full sooner and for a longer amount of time.

Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding is safe and effective. Weight loss with the lap-band is similar to that of more invasive operations, but the risk of serious injury or death from the operation is dramatically lower.

It is important to note that the Lap-Band System is a tool to help a person achieve weight loss. As with all bariatric surgeries, the amount of weight one loses depends on the commitment to a healthy lifestyle and eating habits.

Intensive preoperative and postoperative patient evaluation, support group protocols and patient/staff education curriculums assist patients with the lifestyle changes that are necessary. The bariatric surgery team includes a dietitian, a social worker, a physical therapist, exercise physiologist, nursing staff and specialist surgeons trained and credentialed in bariatric surgery. Pulmonologists and team psychologists also evaluate patients.

The National Institute of Health Consensus Development Conference of 1991 stated that patients with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40 who cannot achieve sustained weight loss by dietary measures alone are candidates for bariatric surgery. Patients who are determined to be surgical candidates are cared for conjointly by the surgeons and internists of the multi disciplinary program. A support group for patients is also offered.