Healthwatch: Lap Band Surgery, Part 1

Since the lap band procedure was introduced almost ten years ago in the U.S., it has become one of the most popular ways to lose weight.

"It's is less invasive," said Dr. Kevin Ward, general surgeon at Rush Hospital, one of only two doctors in Meridian who offer the surgery.

"It's an adjustable band that is placed around the upper part of the stomach," Ward said.

The band is placed where the esophagus meets the stomach. It reduces the size of the stomach dramatically.

"More or less, it reduces it to about a 30 cc pouch, which is one ounce," said Dr. Ward. "If this is adjusted appropriately, folks should not be able to eat more than 10 or 12 bites before they feel full."

On the end of the band is a small piece that is placed near the surface of the skin. Periodically the doctor can go inside the attachment and inject saline to either tighten or loosen the band.

"We can add or take away fluid from the inside of the band to make the opening smaller or bigger. The benefits of it is that it does not require cutting and stapling of the stomach. It does not require rerouting of the bowels and potentially steal some mineral nutrition," Ward said.

The lap band is recommended for people who are at least 100 pounds overweight. Generally, these patients lose about about two to three pounds a week.

However, this requires some effort from the patient as well.

In Part 2 of this report Thursday, we'll have more details of how doctors determine if patients are candidates for the surgery and why doctors say this is not just a 'quick fix'.

Newscenter 11 also talks with a woman who has undergone the procedure.

If you were 100 pounds or more overweight, would you undergo surgery to help you lose weight?

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