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How the LAP-BAND® System Works

We understand. Any kind of weight loss surgery can be intimidating. You’re probably wondering what your recovery will be like. How long before you can get back to your life? And what exactly will you be doing to your body?

Fortunately, choosing the LAP-BAND® System can ease these worries. It’s truly minimally invasive, typically done as an outpatient procedure, and has a fast recovery time of about a week.3 It also involves no permanent alteration to your body. Unlike sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass, the LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Banding System involves no use of metal surgical staples, no amputation of any part of the stomach, nor any cutting of the intestines.2,3

The Minimally Invasive Procedure

During the procedure, physicians usually use laparoscopic techniques (making tiny incisions rather than a large incision and inserting long-shafted instruments through "ports"), to wrap the LAP-BAND® System around the stomach. A narrow camera is passed through a port so the physician can view the operative site on a nearby video monitor. Like a wristwatch, the band is fastened around the upper stomach to create the new stomach pouch that limits and controls the amount of food you eat. The band is then locked securely in a ring around the stomach.

Since there is no stomach cutting, stapling, or gastrointestinal re-routing involved in the LAP-BAND® System procedure, it is considered an effective, minimally invasive, and less traumatic of all weight-loss surgeries. The laparoscopic approach to the procedure also has the advantages of reduced post-procedural pain, shortened hospital stay, and quicker recovery. If for any reason the LAP-BAND® System needs to be removed, the stomach generally returns to its original form.

Adjustable Weight Loss

Once placed around the stomach, tubing connects the LAP-BAND® System to an access port fixed beneath the skin of your abdomen. This allows the physician to change the stoma (stomach outlet) size by adding or subtracting saline, or salt water, inside the inner balloon through the access port. This adjustment process helps determine the rate of weight loss. If the band is too loose and weight loss is inadequate, adding more saline can reduce the size of the stoma to further restrict the amount of food that can move through it. If the band is too tight, the physician will remove some saline to loosen the band and reduce the amount of restriction. The diameter of the band can be modified to meet your individual needs, which can change as you lose weight. For example, pregnant patients can have their band expanded to accommodate nutritional requirements for a growing fetus, while patients who aren't experiencing significant weight loss can have their bands tightened.

The LAP-BAND® System Advantages at a Glance


  • Allows individualized degree of adjustability for ideal rate of weight-loss
  • Adjustments performed without surgery
  • Supports pregnancy by allowing stomach outlet size to be opened to accommodate increased nutritional needs
  • Only procedural option designed to help maintain long-term weight loss

Effective Long-Term Weight Loss

  • More than 800,000 LAP-BAND® System procedures performed worldwide4
  • Standard of care for hundreds of physicians around the world
  • Academic publications with up to 10 years of follow-up

Minimal Trauma

  • Least invasive procedural option
  • No intestinal re-routing
  • No cutting or stapling of the stomach wall or bowel
  • Small incisions and minimal scarring
  • Reduced patient pain, length of hospital stay and recovery period

Fewer Risks and Side Effects

  • Significantly lower mortality risk compared to other weight-loss procedures1
  • Low risk of nutritional deficiencies
  • Reduced risk of hair loss
  • No "dumping syndrome" related to dietary intake restrictions


  • Removable at any time
  • Stomach and other anatomy are generally restored to their original forms and functions

Important LAP-BAND® System Safety Information

Indications: The LAP-BAND® System is indicated for weight reduction for patients, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 35 kg/m2 or a BMI of at least 30 kg/m2 with one or more weight-related comorbid conditions. 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.

Important: For full safety information please click here, talk with your doctor, or call Apollo Customer Support at 1-866-878-7812.

CAUTION: Rx only.

*Patients shown here are LAP-BAND® System patients who were treated in the United States. Results are from individual customer testimonials and your results may vary.


1 Executive summary: Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding for the treatment of obesity (Update and Re-appraisal). The Australian Safety and Efficacy Register of New Interventional Procedures - Surgical (ASERNIPS) 2002; 1. (Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding surgery, like the LAP-BAND® System surgery, is associated with a mean short-term mortality rate of around 0.05% compared to 0.50% for Gastric Bypass and 0.31% for Vertical Banded Gastroplasty.)
2 Needleman Bradley, Happel Lynn. Bariatric Surgery: Choosing the Optimal Procedure. Surgical Clinics of North America. 2008.
3 The LAP-BAND® System Surgical Aid in the Treatment of Obesity (PSI). Allergan, Inc. Irvine, CA. 02/11.
4 Apollo Endosurgery MMO-00220-00.