Lap-band adjustable gastric banding is the latest entrant (approved by the FDA in 2001) in the sphere of surgical treatment of morbid obesity. This procedure induces weight loss by reducing the capacity of the stomach that causes lesser intake of food.
The procedure involves implanting an inflatable silicone band into the abdomen of the patient. This creates a new, small stomach pouch that controls the amount of food the person can consume. This also created an outlet between the rest of the stomach and intestines, which is narrow and leads to longer retention of food in the stomach. The process therefore brings about a feeling of fullness that is retained for a long time due to slow emptying of the stomach pouch. This leads to significant weight loss.
The process is usually done by laparoscopy; thus, the pain involved is minimal compared to other methods of surgical treatment. Laparoscopy, which involves minimum invasion, also leads to quicker recovery. The band's diameter is adjustable and can be tightened or loosened according to individual needs. The diameter of the band can be adjusted by inflation with a saline solution. The band is connected to a reservoir (placed under the skin) of saline solution by tubing. The surgeon can easily reach this reservoir by using a needle and adjust the diameter of the band by either increasing or reducing the amount of solution in the reservoir. This surgery has an edge over other surgeries as it does not involve any cutting/stapling of the stomach and can also be adjusted to patients need after surgery without any operation. Likewise, patients requiring more nutrition, for example, during pregnancy can have their bands loosened while patients not adequately benefiting can have their bands tightened. As of now, the lap band process is the only adjustable surgical treatment available in the US.