Safest Weight Loss Surgery

by Stephanie Mojica

No weight loss surgery is completely safe, according to CNN and MedlinePLus. However, a 2009 study in the \"New England Journal of Medicine\" noted that the only weight loss surgery that didnâ??t cause any deaths in recent years is the laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding procedure. Before deciding to get a LAP-BAND, keep in mind that this is considered a last-resort solution and wonâ??t necessarily permanently solve all your weight or general living challenges.

Function

Once the LAP-BAND is placed into your stomach, its aim is to create weight loss by reducing the amount of food you can eat, according to CNN and MedlinePlus. In a laparoscopic procedure, the doctor will insert the device using several small incisions on your abdomen; this technique prevents some of the potential risks associated with actual â??openâ? surgeries.

Time Frame

Usually, laparoscopic gastric banding surgeries take only about 30 to 60 minutes, according to MedlinePlus. Since many obese patients suffer from sleep apnea which can challenge breathing, CNN notes that staying under anesthesia for as little time as possible has proven crucial to keeping death rates next to non-existent from such surgeries.

Potential Risks

Though the \"New England Journal of Medicine\" study noted that laparoscopic gastric banding did not cause any deaths, MedlinePlus warns that any surgery or anesthesia carries the risk of death by allergic reaction, heart attack, stroke or severe blood clots. Risks associated specifically with the LAP-BAND include slippage of the device, stomach trauma during or after surgery, heartburn, stomach ulcers, gastritis and poor nutrition.

Significance

Performed properly, an adjustable gastric band can help those who are at least 100 lbs. overweight lose at least some pounds, according to CNN and MedlinePlus. Losing weight can reduce or eliminate conditions, such as sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Weight Loss Potential

Unlike some of the other weight loss surgeries, such as the gastric bypass, LAP-BAND patients often lose weight for up to three years after the procedure, according to MedlinePlus. However, weight loss results are usually less dramatic and may require significant changes to eating habits, exercise and even doctorâ??s visits to tighten the band. On average, an overweight person with a LAP-BAND that is properly restricting the stomachâ??s capacity for food can expect to lose about 33 to 50 percent of their excessive weight loss. Patients hoping to lose more weight might need to speak to their doctor about the potential weight loss benefits as well as health risks of other surgeries, such as the gastric bypass.

About the Author

Stephanie Mojica has been a journalist since 1997 and currently works as a full-time reporter at the daily newspaper "The Advocate-Messenger" in Kentucky. Her articles have also appeared in newspapers such as "The Philadelphia Inquirer" and "The Virginian-Pilot," as well as several online publications. She holds a bachelor's degree from Athabasca University.

Photo Credits

  • colored elastic bands image by DIEGO KRISNA from Fotolia.com