When you’ve been trying to lose weight for ages but nothing is working, you may feel an urge to resort to bariatric surgery. Gastric band surgery is a common type of weight-loss surgery with a high success rate and relatively low risk of complications. It can help you lose weight for good and enjoy your life again.
While that sounds like a miracle waiting to happen, you should know that gastric band surgery isn’t the right choice for everyone. Here, Dr. Robert Snow of Snow Bariatric Center in Fort Worth and Flower Mound, Texas, shares important information about the Lap-Band® gastric banding procedure and how to know if it’s right for you.
What is Lap-Band surgery?
One of the more popular types of bariatric surgery, Lap-Band surgery helps you lose weight by quite literally banding your stomach (Lap-Band is short for laparoscopic banding; laparoscopic refers to a minimally invasive way of affixing the gastric band).
The procedure involves placing a safe silicone band around your stomach to reduce the capacity, which consequently curbs your appetite and reduces the amount of food — thus the number of calories — you’re able to eat each day.
Advantages and disadvantages of Lap-Band surgery
If weight-loss surgery is in the cards for you, you should know the pros and cons of all of your options.
One major advantage of Lap-Band surgery compared to other bariatric surgeries is that the band doesn’t interfere with your body’s normal digestive processes. This means your body still digests and absorbs food like it always has, so there’s a much lower risk of malnutrition. Other forms of weight-loss surgery can put you at risk for nutrient deficiencies because of the way they work.
Other advantages to Lap-Band surgery include:
- Long-term weight loss
- Reduced risk of weight-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension
- Ability to exercise without pain
- Overall improved quality of life
Some of the downsides to consider include:
- Lap-Band surgery requires intensive down time
- You may need follow-up surgery
- You might struggle with post-surgical mental health problems
- Poor nutrition after surgery due to restricted food consumption
Who can get Lap-Band surgery?
You can’t just walk into a clinic and say you want Lap-Band surgery (well, you can, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get it). You must be approved to undergo the Lap-Band procedure based on a number of criteria.
People who qualify for Lap-Band surgery must:
- Have a BMI of 40 or greater, OR have a BMI of 30 or greater and have obesity-related complications, such as type 2 diabetes
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have attempted weight loss in the past through other measures, such as diet, exercise, and prescription medications, but did not have success
- Certify that they can and will make lifestyle changes following the surgery
- Do not struggle with alcohol or drug dependency
- Not be pregnant
- Pass a psychological exam that certifies they are emotionally ready to undergo the procedure
How much does Lap-Band surgery cost?
Another thing you’ll want to factor into your decision is your budget. Lap-Band surgery is only covered by insurance in particular scenarios, so you should definitely find out what kind of financial help you can get, if any. Without insurance, Lap-Band surgery can be financially unattainable for most people.
What is the recovery for Lap-Band like?
Lap-Band surgery requires an intensive recovery period and usually requires help from a caretaker. If you can’t take ample time off of work and line up at-home help, Lap-Band surgery might not be right for you until you can.
We understand there are many considerations to account for in relation to Lap-Band surgery. It can be overwhelming, which is why Dr. Snow is here to answer all of your questions and guide you through the process. Schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Snow today by calling one of our convenient Texas locations or request an appointment online.