Doctors say there are some issues that must be considered before a person chooses this less invasive weight loss surgery.
Three months ago, 31-year-old Heather Waddell made that decision. She has since lost 43 pounds.
"It has been amazing," said Waddell. "I'm able to do things with my kids I couldn't do."
Waddell says her children were her main motivation.
"They like to do things I couldn't do and now I can. So, in three months it's made a big difference," Waddell said.
The operation can last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, or an hour and 15 minutes.
Dr. Kevin Ward, a general surgeon at Rush Hospital, is one of only two doctors in Meridian who perform this type of surgery. It drastically reduces the size of the stomach to the point that it can hold only about one ounce of food initially, and later up to 2-4 ounces.
The surgery is generally recommended for people who are 100 pounds or more overweight, with additional health problems,
Dr. Ward says the lap band procedure is not a 'quick fix.'
"We do ask our patients to go to a medical doctor for at least three months to be weighed and to be under a supervised diet, before being considered for surgery," Ward said.
Even after the surgery, lap band patients are advised to continue on a healthy diet and required to do regular exercise.
Although the lap band initiates weight loss, Dr. Ward says there are some safeguards.
"It turns out that the body almost has a set point for weight, and you will no be able to drop below a certain point, even if you stick to the diet and exercise like you're supposed to," Ward said.
For more information about the lap band procedure, or the regular information sessions about it that are offered, call Rush Hospital at 601-703-4950.