Are you at least 50 pounds overweight and struggling with reaching a healthy weight range? You’re not alone. Currently, one-third of U.S. adults are obese and these numbers continue to rise. The good news is that there are several options for those who have struggled with diet and exercise and have been unable to lose weight through conventional means. An adjustable gastric band, like our LAP-BAND® or REALIZE Band, is a top option for those seeking to reclaim their weight loss journey through bariatric surgery. Although there are some minor differences between the 2 types of adjustable gastric bands, they work in similar ways. At West Medical, we offer both adjustable gastric bands, providing Realize and Lap-Band in Orange County, Los Angeles and surrounding areas.
How Adjustable Gastric Band Surgery Works
The gastric band is a silicone band designed to reduce the amount of food it takes to achieve fullness, altering appetite and encouraging weight loss. During this minimally-invasive procedure, the LAP-BAND® or REALIZE device is wrapped around the upper portion of the stomach, similar to the way a watch is fastened around a wrist.
This gastric band creates a new, smaller stomach pouch that helps limit your portion sizes, cutting down on the overall amount of food you consume per meal. This newly created stomach pouch, also known as a “stoma,” has a smaller capacity than a normal-sized stomach, so your appetite is satisfied with less food. With this smaller stomach, you can stay fuller for longer periods of time, consuming fewer calories, and gradually losing weight in the process. In the first year following LAP-BAND® surgery, patients typically lose weight at a healthy and steady pace, usually around 1-3 pounds a week.
How the Gastric Band Procedure is Performed
The LAP-BAND® or REALIZE band procedure is performed by our surgeons laparoscopically, which results in smaller incisions and minimal scarring. The surgeon utilizes a tiny camera called a laparoscope to make sure the LAP-BAND® or REALIZE Band is secured safely and properly. While there are pre-operative and post-operative considerations, the actual gastric band procedure typically takes just around an hour to perform. For your comfort, the LAP-BAND® procedure is performed under general anesthesia, during which time the surgeon makes a series of 1-centimeter incisions to secure the band laparoscopically.
Before & After Gallery
View our patients who have had success with weight loss at West Medical.
LAP-BAND® vs REALIZE Band
If you decide that gastric banding is your preferred bariatric surgery method, then you have two primary choices from the FDA-approved devices in use: the LAP-BAND® or the REALIZE band. These two devices are manufactured by different companies and were developed at different times, but both are excellent options with similar weight loss statistics. Both devices are very similar in method and results, so your doctor can help you decide which is right for you.
- Clinical trials began in 1995, and in 2001 the LAP-BAND® was the first adjustable gastric band to gain FDA approval in the United States
- LAP-BAND® procedures are performed laparoscopically
- Patients usually need 5-8 adjustments each year for the first 24 months following their surgery
- Within 5 years, the average patient will lose 55% of their excess weight
- The LAP-BAND® offers a patient-support program called My LAP-BAND Journey
- LAP-BAND® recovery time is comparable to that of the REALIZE Band
PPO Insurance Providers
Gastric Sleeve surgery is covered by most PPO insurance providers! Click below to verify your PPO insurance covers it.
REALIZE Band Details
- First developed in Sweden in 1985, clinical trials began in 2003 and the FDA approved the device in 2007
- The REALIZE band is wider, a feature which can help improve hunger control of larger patients
- REALIZE Band procedures are performed laparoscopically
- Patients usually need 4 adjustments for the first year and 2 adjustments in the second and third years following surgery
- The 5-year follow-up results are still unknown
- Short-term results are similar to the LAP-BAND’s data
- If the Realize Band slips or erodes and requires revisional surgery, the manufacturer will compensate the patient
- REALIZE Band recovery time is comparable to that of the LAP-BAND®
A LAP-BAND® or REALIZE Band specialist at West Medical can meet with you and help you understand the benefits and risks of adjustable gastric band surgery, and which band may be a good choice for you.
Risks of Adjustable Gastric Band Surgery
Like all surgeries, an adjustable gastric band comes with some risks. Caused by over-eating or failing to properly and thoroughly chew food before swallowing, vomiting is a relatively common side effect for LAP-BAND® or REALIZE Band patients. It’s important to take your time in finishing a meal to help reduce the risks of nausea and subsequent vomiting.
Are there any foods I can’t eat after Lap-Band?
Particular intolerances to types of foods may also occur following band surgery. Foods that are very sticky, dry, or stringy, including nut butters, fresh breads, various red meats, and fibrous fruits and vegetables may cause discomfort, nausea, or vomiting. It may be necessary to limit or avoid these and other foods.
Can I drink alcohol after Lap-Band?
Alcohol consumption should be avoided as it may increase harmful risks for certain patients. However, having a occasional glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage is not harmful. In general, alcohol is high in calories and should be avoided during your weight loss surgery.
Other side effects may include band slippage, erosion and in rare cases, gastric perforation that can require additional surgery.
For those suffering from obesity and its related health concerns, there are options available. Now is the time to reclaim control over your weight loss journey. At West Medical, our Lap-Band physicians are dedicated to individualized treatment, ensuring that your specific needs are met. In addition, we offer FREE consultations in which a member of our surgical team can personally address any questions or concerns you may have regarding the gastric band procedure. To learn more about gastric band procedures and your other weight loss options, call us at (855) 690-0565 and schedule your consultation today!
FAQs for gastric band & Lap-Band
Calculate your BMI
For people who have struggled with obesity, the frustration and embarrassment of never reaching a healthy weight can feel unbearable. Some people may have lost weight in the past, but found the results were only temporary, quickly regaining the pounds lost – and ultimately becoming even heavier in the process.
If you have tried losing weight in traditional ways – through diet, exercise or medications – but found these methods unsuccessful, then getting the lap band may be the best option for you to permanently rid yourself of that excess weight. The first step in considering the LAP-BAND® is knowing the requirements for getting the LAP-BAND to see if you qualify for the procedure.
Are you a candidate for Lap-Band surgery?
While everyone’s particular weight loss needs vary, there are a number of general requirements which apply to most of the REALIZE® Band and LAP-BAND® patients in California. Some of these requirements are physical, and some are related to mental-preparedness for the changes that go along with turning an adjustable gastric band into a successful weight loss journey.
There are general requirements which apply to the majority of potential LAP-BAND® patients in California:
- You are at least 18 years old.
- You have a BMI greater than 40 (click here to view our BMI calculator), or a BMI greater than 30 with a weight-related, life-threatening medical condition, such as sleep apnea, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes. Calculate your BMI here.
- You have had a high BMI for no less than five years.
- You do not drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
- You are generally in good health and aren’t overweight due to a related health condition.
- You are prepared to make a serious, life-changing decision to partake in a healthier lifestyle and will be dedicated to following the pre-op nutritional regimen.
It’s also essential that you understand the importance of your physician’s post-surgery instructions. If you are considering the LAP-BAND®, you must be prepared to follow these directions in order to ensure the safety and effectiveness of your procedure. These directions include:
- Decreasing your meal portion sizes
- Not partaking in foods that can lead to stomach discomfort or bloating
- Be available for post-op check-ups and regular appointments to determine if you require a LAP-BAND® adjustment
- Your surgeon may also prescribe a mineral and vitamin supplement to lower your risk of nutritional deficiency following your procedure
Are you a candidate for REALIZE band surgery?
These are the general physical qualifications that can make you eligible for the REALIZE® gastric band:
- You have a Body Mass Index (BMI) higher than 40 (click here to view our BMI calculator), or a BMI higher than 35 with a weight-related co-morbidities, such as obstructive sleep apnea, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes. Calculate your BMI here.
- You are at least 18 years old.
- You have had a high Body Mass Index for more than 5 years.
- You do not drink alcohol excessively.
- You have attempted traditional weight loss methods like exercise and diet.
- You are prepared to dedicate yourself to a healthier, active lifestyle.
- You are ready to follow your surgeon’s instructions after the procedure. This will include a specific diet and exercise program that you must maintain to achieve your weight loss goals.
- You must visit your physician for regular check-up and REALIZE® Band adjustments and fills.
Understanding life after the band
Following the REALIZE® Band or LAPBAND® procedure, you may have a consultation with one of our nutrition experts, who can provide you with an individualized and customized dietary regimen for all of your weight loss requirements. Understanding your new-found lifestyle is incredibly important before receiving the band.
After the first few days following the band surgery, your doctor will place you on an all-liquid diet, including two ounces of a protein shake every hour for ten to twelve hours a day, combined with two ounces of other liquid foods, such as soup, three times every day.
After this, your diet may include foods that are pureed in a food processor for the next four to six weeks. This diet can be discussed with your nutritionist. It commonly incorporates lean meats and vegetables as a primary source of protein. The gastric band diet does not include the majority of breads, potatoes and other starchy foods. These dietary restrictions and schedule are not set in stone and can be altered to better fit your
individual weight loss needs.
How do you qualify?
The easiest and surest way to determine if LAP-BAND®, or REALIZE® Band surgery is right for you is to visit an experienced and knowledgeable bariatric surgeon who can advise you of your weight loss options.
West Medical offers free consultations with one of our experienced bariatric surgeons, where your questions or concerned can be addressed. In addition, West Medical offers several free informational seminars across Southern California each month. To schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons or to find a seminar near you, call us at .
FDA requirements for getting Lap-Band
- You have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 40, or
- You have a BMI of at least 35 with a weight-related health condition, such as high blood pressure (hypertension), type 2 diabetes or sleep apnea.
- You do not drink alcohol in excess.
- You are in general good health and are not overweight as a result of an underlying medical condition.
- You are ready to make a serious decision to change your lifestyle and will be committed to tackling the rigors of the pre-operative nutritional program.
While the list above may give you a general idea if the Lap-Band is right for you, every patient’s situation is unique. The best way to find out if you are a good candidate for the lap band is to talk to one of our qualified bariatric surgeons. The surgeon will gather clinical data about you, such as your weight, blood pressure and blood glucose levels in order to evaluate whether, or not, getting the Lap-Band may be right for you. The surgeon will also ask you questions about your lifestyle and diet, what expectations you have about having a Lap-Band surgery and what your weight loss goals are after getting the procedure.
The more you know, the better you will feel when you make your decision about whether the Lap-Band is right for you. Take a moment to write down all of your questions and make a list of all of your concerns. Any and all of these questions and concerns may be asked by calling us by phone at , or during a free and informative consultation with one of our highly qualified Los Angeles Lap-Band surgeons.
Questions to discuss with a bariatric surgeon
Questions to discuss with a bariatric surgeon to better understand if the lap-band procedure is right for you.
- Your Individual Requirements For Getting The LAP-BAND.
- The Qualifications Of The Bariatric Surgeon.
- The Specific Details Of The LAP-BAND Procedure.
- How Invasive Is The LAP-BAND Surgery?
- Will Insurance Cover The LAP-BAND Surgery?
- What Is The Cost For The LAP-BAND Surgery?
- What Other Surgery Options Are Available For You?
- What Is Your Risk And Benefit Profile For Surgery?
- What LAP-BAND Results Does The Surgeon Expect You To Have?
- How Long Is The Recovery From The LAP-BAND Procedure?
Additionally, it is very important to know what your surgeon’s qualifications are, how many LAP-BAND procedures they have performed and what other surgeries they specialize in. All of the surgeons at MIS Centers are recognized by the makers of The LAP-BAND® for the outstanding quality of their LAP-BAND surgeries and their unwavering commitment and relationships to their patients both before, and after the surgery. Choosing the wrong surgeon could be a terrible mistake. Rest assured that the Lap-Band surgeons at all of our MIS Centers are experienced, certified, well-informed and sensitive to each patient’s individual needs.
To further discuss the requirements for getting the LAP-BAND, or to answer any of your LAP-BAND questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to give one of our LAP-BAND surgeons a call at. We are happy to help and look forward to hearing from you!
What is the “green zone” for the lap band?
The so-called “green zone” is when you are not hungry, have achieved good weight loss, you practice excellent portion control, and are very satisfied with the results of your surgery. This green zone is based upon the correct quantity of fluid placed in the band to achieve these results.
What if I have a hiatal hernia and want lap band?
A person who is obese may struggle with a range of physical symptoms, often including a hiatal hernia. During bariatric surgery, the hernia can be repaired in the same surgery in which the lap band is placed. As with every surgical procedure, a full medical evaluation must be performed to determine the best approach in your case.
What if I need gastric band revision?
If your weight loss treatment has not produced results, or if you have begun to regain the weight you lost, you may require gastric band revision surgery. In some cases, the patient may not tolerate the band as expected, experiencing excessive nausea or problems swallowing or eating; the band has slipped from the correct location, or other problem. If you need revision surgery, it is imperative the revision goes as it should, At West Medical, you can trust our team of surgeons, and our focus upon patient health and safety, along with our use of the most advanced procedures.
What is the pre-op diet like for the lap band or gastric band?
Two weeks prior to surgery, you must start your pre-op diet. This includes high protein meal replacements. You will have a limited number of calories you can consume per day, and limited grams of fat. Most of the calories you consume during these two weeks will come from protein shakes, rather than regular food. You can drink a range of beverages, but they must be sugar-free. Reduce any consumption of caffeine with no more than two cups per day, and no alcohol during the two weeks. You can eat certain vegetables, limited at two cups per day, and no carbo-heavy choices such as corn, potatoes or beans.
What is the post-op diet like for the lap band/gastric band?
The first 10 days after lap band surgery, you will be on a thin liquid diet, only allowed certain beverages. Avoid all caffeinated beverages. You can drink sugar-free beverages, skim milk, broth, tomato juice, vegetable juices such as V8, and no carbonated drinks. You will drink two protein shakes per day, and must sip your beverages throughout the day, no gulping. You must consume about six to eight, eight ounce glasses of fluid each day. After the initial stage, you can begin eating pureed foods. After three weeks, your regular diet can be initiated, but has specific rules and risks, so follow our instructions carefully to avoid discomfort.
Important LAP-BAND® System Safety Information
Indications: The LAP-BAND® System is indicated for weight reduction for patients with obesity, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 40 kg/m2 or a BMI of at least 30 kg/m2 with one or more obesity-related comorbid conditions (click here to view our BMI calculator). It is indicated for use only in adult patients who have failed more conservative weight reduction alternatives, such as supervised diet, exercise and behavior modification programs. Patients who elect to have this surgery must make the commitment to accept significant changes in their eating habits for the rest of their lives.
Contraindications: The LAP-BAND® System is not recommended for non-adult patients, patients with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or increase the risk of poor results (e.g., inflammatory or cardiopulmonary diseases, GI conditions, symptoms or family history of autoimmune disease, cirrhosis), who are unwilling or unable to comply with the required dietary restrictions, who have alcohol or drug addictions, or who currently are or may be pregnant.
Warnings: The LAP-BAND® System is a long-term implant. Explant and replacement surgery may be required. Patients who become pregnant or severely ill, or who require more extensive nutrition may require deflation of their bands. Anti-inflammatory agents, such as aspirin, should be used with caution and may contribute to an increased risk of band erosion.
Adverse Events: Placement of the LAP-BAND® System is major surgery and, as with any surgery, death can occur. Possible complications include the risks associated with the medications and methods used during surgery, the risks associated with any surgical procedure, and the patient’s ability to tolerate a foreign object implanted in the body. Band slippage, erosion and deflation, reflux, obstruction of the stomach, dilation of the esophagus, infection, or nausea and vomiting may occur. Reoperation may be required. Rapid weight loss may result in complications that may require additional surgery. Deflation of the band may alleviate excessively rapid weight loss or esophageal dilation.