Pros & Cons of Lap-Band Surgery

By Jordan Meyers

Many people struggle with trying to lose weight. Some are able to drop extra pounds by simply dieting and exercising on a regular basis. Unfortunately, however, some people fail to lose a significant amount of weight with these methods. A person who is considered very overweight may decide to undergo restrictive surgery in order to lose a large amount of weight. One type of restrictive surgery is called lap-band surgery and it has both pros and cons.


Lap-band surgery, also referred to as laproscopic adjustable gastric banding, is one of the most common surgical weight loss procedures. In fact, it is only second in line as the most commonly performed weight loss surgery, following gastric bypass surgery. For this type of surgery, a doctor puts a silicone band around the upper portion of the patient's stomach. With the lap-band in place, the stomach's capacity is reduced to about 1 oz. of food. A saline solution runs into the band, allowing it to be tightened or loosened, altering the stomach's capacity.


One of the major pros of lap-band surgery involves potential weight loss. According to the Consumer Guide to Bariatric Surgery, patients who undergo lap-band surgery lose an average of about 50 to 60 percent of excess weight. While this is a significant amount of weight, it's important to keep in mind that the results from this and other types of weight loss surgeries vary.


According to WebMD, lap-band surgery is considered less invasive and risky than some other types of weight loss surgeries. In fact, it can be reversed, if desired, allowing the patient's stomach to go back to its original size. Additionally, this type of surgery doesn't impair a person's absorption of nutrition. As such, vitamin deficiencies that may develop after other types of weight loss surgeries are rare with lap-band procedures.


There are some uncomfortable effects that have been associated with lap-band procedures. According to MedlinePlus, nausea and vomiting may be among the most common. However, they may be relieved by adjusting the lap-band. Additionally, some people experience minor complications as a result of the surgery. Such complications occur in less than 10 percent of these surgeries and may include such things as infections and bleeding.


One major consideration with lap-band surgery is the risk of death. It is estimated that death occurs in about one in every 2000 lap-band patients. Your risk level may differ, depending on your health and other factors. As such, it is best to discuss your complication risk with your doctor before deciding on the surgery.

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