LAP-BAND® Surgery - All You Need to Know

Reviewed by:  

Dr. Vafa Shayani

Last Updated:  

06/22/2017

Adjustable gastric band surgery (e.g., the LAP-BAND® System) wraps an adjustable band around the upper part of the stomach. This creates a small stomach pouch above the band that fills up quicker after eating.

As a result, successful patients:

  • Feel full sooner while eating
  • Lose between ¼ and ¾ of their excess weight
  • Improve or cure their obesity-related health problems

After surgery, the band is filled and unfilled through a port just below the skin. This makes the band tighter or looser to adjust how full patients feel after eating.

Historically, 30+% of gastric band patients eventually required band removal (1). However, recent studies have shown the 5-year removal rate drop to under 9% for patients who maintain continued interaction with their surgical team and follow established guidelines closely (2).

Read and click the sections below for everything you need to know about the adjustable gastric band procedure.

01How the Lap-Band Surgery Works
  • Adjustable band wrapped around top portion of stomach
  • Smaller stomach 'section' above band fills up quicker after eating
  • Patient feels full sooner while eating and eats less as a result

lap band bariatric surgery
lap band bariatric surgery
1

Insert Instruments

4 to 6 small incisions made and laparoscopic instruments inserted

lap band bariatric surgery
2

Wrap band around stomach, place tube & port

Band is wrapped around top of stomach. Band connects to tube that leads to a round port just below the skin. Through port, band can be filled/unfilled post-op for proper tightness.

lap band bariatric surgery
3

Feel full sooner, lose weight

Smaller stomach "pouch" above band causes patient to feel full sooner while eating, leading to significant, rapid, and long-term weight loss.

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Why Gastric Band Surgery Works

  • An adjustable band wraps around and squeezes a narrow section in the upper-middle part of the stomach. This creates a smaller stomach “section” above the band which fills up quicker after eating, causing the patient to feel full sooner and eat less.

1.  Preparing for Surgery

Your surgeon will work with you during the weeks before surgery, including:

  • Health assessment, including questions about your medical history, medications, and surgical history
  • Order certain tests like an ECG, x-ray, and blood tests
  • Establish a pre-surgery diet regimen, including:
    • 2 Weeks Before
      • No sugar
      • Lower carbs
      • Increased protein
      • Increased veggies
      • Plenty of fluids
    • 2 Days Before
      • Clear liquids, broth, one protein shake per day only
      • Talk with your surgeon about whether you should stop taking any medications
    • 12 Hours Before
      • No food or drink, no tobacco

Your other big goal before surgery: lose as much weight as possible.

Here’s why:

  • The more weight you lose pre-op, the more weight you will lose after surgery
  • The lower your pre-op weight, the lower your risk of complications
  • You will regain weight if you slip into old habits. The sooner you can establish good diet and exercise habits, the more likely you will be to maintain them after surgery

See our Preparing for Weight Loss Surgery page for more information.

2.  How Gastric Band Surgery Is Performed

The gastric band procedure is done laparoscopically in one to two hours.

Before surgery, you’ll perform the typical pre-surgery routine:

  1. Remove all clothes and jewelry
  2. Put on your hospital gown
  3. Meet with your nurse and anesthesiologist
  4. Start your IV
  5. Receive medication for relaxation and sleep

There are two techniques your surgeon can use to place the band:

  1. Perigastric Technique (PGT)
  2. Pars Flaccida Technique (PFT)

Three separate studies have confirmed that the pars flaccida technique (PFT) is safer and results in a lower rate of band slippage (3) (4) (5).

During surgery, the gastric band surgeon places a silicone and Silastic band around the top of the stomach. A balloon around the inside of the band (think of the inner tube of a bicycle tire) connects to a tube that leads to a round half-dollar-sized port just below the skin.

During follow up visits, your doctor will add or remove saline solution through the port. This will make the band tighter or looser. The tighter it is, the less hungry you feel and vice-versa.

The band causes the top of your stomach to fill up faster. This makes your feel full sooner and results in long-term weight loss.

02Weight Loss
  • Up to 55% of excess weight within 2 years

lap band bariatric surgery

Enter your height & weight, then click the button:

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100%

Excess Weight Remains

Procedure Done

From Day 1: Feel Full Sooner While Eating

Continued Weight Loss

Low Weight Reached Between Year 1 & Year 2

lap band bariatric surgery

0 months

100%

Excess Weight Remains

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is XXX.

gastric band is only available for patients with a BMI of 30 or higher.

However, you do qualify for other types of weight loss procedures.

Click here to learn your options.

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Weight loss happens fast after gastric band surgery:

  • Month 3 Average: About 20% of excess weight is gone
  • Month 6 Average: About 30% of excess weight is gone
  • Month 12 Average: About 40% of excess weight is gone
  • 2 Year Average: More than half of excess weight is gone

But these are averages. Gastric band surgery patients’ weight loss ranges from 25% to 80% of their excess weight.

Most gastric band patients reach a weight loss plateau around the 2 year mark.

References: (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14)

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03Health Benefits
  • Cures or improves diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, and at least 12 other conditions

lap band bariatric surgery

SELECT A BENEFIT

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Gastric band surgery patients experience significant improvement in or a complete “cure” of obesity-related health problems, including those listed in the table below.

Note that patients who have a strict follow-up schedule with their surgeon at 3-, 6-, and 12-months post-op see greater improvements in or remission of their diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), and high cholesterol than patients who skip these visits (15).

Health Issue Associated with Obesity (Comorbidity)
Mortality Reduction/Life Expectancy (5 year mortality)
Quality of Life Improvements
Asthma
Cardiovascular Disease
Degenerative Joint Disease
Depression
Diabetes
Dyslipidemia hypercholesterolemia
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
High Blood Pressure (hypertension)
Hyperlipidemia (high levels of fat in the blood)
Metabolic Syndrome
Migraines
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Pregnancy
Pseudotumor cerebri
Stress Urinary Incontinence
Improvement or Resolution
89% reduction in risk of death vs obese patients who did not have bariatric surgery (16)
Most report dramatic improvement (17, 18)
Improved or resolved in up to 82% of patients (19)
Up to 73% of patients have reduced risk (20)
Improved in up to 81% of patients (21, 22)
Improved or resolved in up to 57% of patients (23)
Improved or resolved in up to 60% of patients (24)
Improved or resolved in up to 70% of patients (25)
Improved or resolved in up to 87% of patients (26)
Improved or resolved in up to 43% of patients (27)
Remission in up to 23% of patients (28)
Improved or resolved in up to 78% of patients (29)
Some patients experience improvement (correlated with amount of weight lost – 30)
Improved for most patients (31)
Improved or resolved in up to 85% of patients (32)
Improved or resolved in up to 48% of patients (33)
Fertility improved for most patients (34)
Improved in most patients (35)
Improved or resolved in up to 82% of patients (36)

04Qualify
  • 30+ body mass index (BMI) required
  • Click here to calculate your BMI

lap band bariatric surgery

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Enter your height & weight, then click the button:

30+

gastric band
Required BMI

  • Below 18.5Underweight

  • 18.5 – 24.9Healthy Weight

  • 25.0 – 29.9Overweight

  • 30.0 – 34.9Obese

  • 35.0 – 39.9Severely Obese

  • 40.0 – 49.9Morbidly Obese

  • 50 or higherSuper Obese

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You could be a good candidate for gastric band surgery if:

  • You have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more, OR
  • Your BMI is between 35 and 39.9 and you have a serious obesity-related health problem

Serious obesity-related health problems include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Many others (see Health Benefits section)

If you do not meet the above requirements, you may still qualify for the Gastric Balloon. See our Gastric Balloon Patient Guide for more information.

05Insurance
  • Lap-Band is covered if your policy includes bariatric surgery
  • Click here to use our Check My Insurance Tool

lap band

LAP-BAND® SURGERY COST-AFTER-INSURANCE ESTIMATOR

Projected Out Of Pocket Costs After Insurance

PROJECTED OUT OF POCKET COSTS AFTER INSURANCE

Click Below to Update Your Plan's Details from U.S. Averages

Data is for illustrative purposes only. Please check with your insurance company for specific costs and benefit information.

The following variables may or may not impact your projected out of pocket costs.

LAP-BAND®
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Choose your plan, state, and insurance company below.

Can’t find your insurance company/plan or have updated info? Click here to contact us.

This tool provides estimates only. Please contact your insurance company to verify your actual out of pocket costs.

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Click your country below for the LAP-BAND® System insurance coverage information:

1.  United States: Covered if Your Plan Includes Bariatric Surgery

In the U.S., the LAP-BAND® System is covered under any plan that includes weight loss surgery.

Use our Check My Insurance Tool to find out if it’s covered by your plan:

CHECK MY
INSURANCE TOOL
1

Choose your plan, state, and insurance company below.

Can’t find your insurance company/plan or have updated info? Click here to contact us.

This tool provides estimates only. Please contact your insurance company to verify your actual out of pocket costs.

Click one of the following for more information:

How Do You Know if Your Insurance Includes Weight Loss Surgery?

It depends on where you get your insurance:

  1. Individual/Family Plans & Small Group Plans (under 50 employees) – The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) requires bariatric surgery coverage in many states.
  2. Large Group Plans (50+ employees) – Your company decides whether weight loss surgery is covered. Talk with your HR department or contact your insurance company to find out if it’s covered.
  3. Medicare & Medicaid – Medicare and Medicaid both cover gastric sleeve surgery, but not all surgeons accept them.

Use the Check My Insurance Tool at the top of this section to find out if your plan includes weight loss surgery.

If Your Policy Covers It: Ask for a Free Insurance Check

Many surgeons offer a free insurance check. They have a staff that is experienced at working with insurance companies.

Rather than figuring it out on your own, talk with a surgeon’s office about doing the legwork for you.

You’ll also need to show your insurance company that you attended a weight loss program supervised by a medical professional. Your surgeon can help with this as well.

Contact a top surgeon for a free insurance check.

Following are average Lap-Band surgery costs after insurance pays, depending on plan type:

  • HMO: $1,475
  • PPO: $2,542
  • POS: $2,270
  • High-Deductible Health Plan: $1,901

Click here for assumptions

  • No money has been paid towards your calendar year deductible for other services
  • Calculations made using special formulas that take into account the average plan designs from Kaiser Family Foundation’s Annual Employer Health Benefits Survey (37)

Your final out-of-pocket cost after insurance depends on several factors, including:

  • Discounts Negotiated By Your Insurance Company

    Insurance companies often have pre-negotiated rates for doctors and hospitals in their network. They may also try to negotiate deeper discounts on top of any negotiated rates.

  • Calendar Year Deductible Level

    You must pay all medical costs until you reach your calendar year deductible amount. Some expenses, like copayments and prescriptions, do not count towards your deductible. Prescriptions may have their own Calendar Year Deductible.

    After you reach the deductible, you share the cost with the insurance company. The amount you share depends on your Coinsurance percentage (see below).

    Deductibles reset on January 1st. As a result, many weight loss surgery patients “rush” to get a surgery date before the end of each year.

  • Remaining Calendar Year Deductible Amount

    The amount of money you still owe towards your deductible.

  • Hospital Copay

    The amount you will pay for each hospitalization (including weight loss surgery). Does not count towards reaching the Calendar Year Deductible.

  • Hospital Coinsurance

    The percentage of the total bill you are required to pay after you have “paid off” your Calendar Year Deductible.

  • Out of Pocket Maximum

    This is the most you will have to pay through deductible and coinsurance before your plan pays 100%. You will still be responsible for copayments, such as:

    • Office visits
    • Hospital copays
    • Prescription drugs
  • Total Year-to-Date Coinsurance Paid

    The total amount of coinsurance you have paid so far this calendar year. This is needed to determine whether your weight loss procedure will cause you to reach your annual out of pocket maximum.

If Your Policy Does NOT Cover It: Seek Partial Coverage

You may be able to get part of your Lap-Band costs paid for by insurance even if weight loss surgery isn’t covered. It’s all about how your doctor and hospital submit your claims to your insurance company.

For example, there are many non-bariatric surgery reasons for your doctor to recommend:

  • Cardiology exam
  • Lab work
  • Medically supervised diet program
  • Psychological exam
  • Sleep study

These are ordered for many reasons other than weight loss surgery and may be covered as a result.

If your doctor submits one of these claims using a weight loss surgery CPT code (Current Procedural Terminology Code), your insurance is unlikely to cover it. But if your doctor uses a general CPT code, it probably will be covered.

While this may sound “sneaky”, it is an ethical practice. After all, these tests will be beneficial regardless of whether you move forward with surgery.

Find a Top Surgeon

The U.S. Insurance Approval Process

The entire Lap-Band surgery insurance approval process depends on your insurance company and can take between 1 and 12 months.

The typical approval process usually happens in these 9 steps:

  1. Your body mass index (BMI) requirements are confirmed by your physician:
    • BMI over 40 –OR–
    • BMI over 35 with one or more of the following:
      • Clinically significant obstructive sleep apnea
      • Coronary heart disease
      • Medically refractory hypertension
      • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
      • Other obesity-related health issues
  2. Complete 3 to 7 consecutive months of a medically supervised diet program.
  3. Schedule a consultation with your bariatric surgeon.
  4. Schedule a consultation with your primary care physician to get a medical clearance letter.
  5. Schedule a psychiatric evaluation to get a mental health clearance letter.
  6. Schedule a nutritional evaluation from a Registered Dietitian.
  7. Send the following to your insurance company:
    • All the above documentation
    • Detailed history of your obesity-related health problems
    • Difficulties and treatment attempts
  8. The review process usually happens in under one month.
  9. Insurance company sends approval or denial letter:
    • If approved, your surgeon’s bariatric coordinator will contact you for scheduling.
    • If denied, you can choose to appeal the denial.

Your bariatric surgeon’s office will do most of this legwork for you. They may even have all the required people on staff (registered dietitian, psychiatrist, bariatric coordinator, etc.).

Click here to access the weight loss surgeon directory to get started. Most offices will check your insurance for free to confirm coverage criteria.

For more information about gastric sleeve insurance, see our Bariatric Surgery Insurance Patient Guide.

Disability Insurance During Recovery

Your employer decides whether to offer Disability insurance (DI). You can continue coverage as an individual if you leave the company.

DI pays you a percentage of your monthly income if you are unable to work. Short term disability insurance (STD) usually pays 2/3 of your salary for the first 90 or 180 days of your recovery.

Disability insurance usually includes pre-existing conditions limitations. The best way around this is to sign up during the initial enrollment period (when you’re hired). They might not allow you to enroll at any other time. You then need to stay enrolled for the entire “pre-existing conditions exclusionary period,” which lasts between 6 and 12 months.

Call your insurance company, talk with HR, or review your plan documents for details.

2.  Canada: Covered, But Long Wait Times

In Canada, Jurisdictional Health Care in several provinces cover Lap-Band surgery, including:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan

If you want insurance to pay, wait times can be very long, ranging from 2 years to over 10 years.

If you don’t want to wait, you have two options to get Lap-Band surgery sooner:

  1. Insurance may pay for surgery outside of your province. But most provinces will not cover any expenses other than the surgery itself.
  2. Finance bariatric surgery on your own and receive treatment in a private facility.

Most weight loss surgery patients in Canada take the self-pay option. Private-pay clinics perform two-thirds of all weight loss surgeries in Canada (37).

See our Weight Loss Surgery in Canada Patient Guide for more information.

Click here to find a private-pay clinic in Canada or the United States.

3.  Australia: Covered by Medicare & Private Insurance

Australian Medicare will pay for part of Lap-Band surgery as follows:

  • Apply a set rate to your procedure that is much lower than the actual costs
  • Pays 75% of that set rate

But the rebate amount will still leave the majority of costs up to you and your private insurance.

For example:

  • If the total procedure costs = $10,000
  • And Medicare’s set rate is $850
  • Then Medicare will pay $637.50 of the total bill ($850 X 0.75)
  • You and your private insurance will be responsible for the balance

To get the current reimbursement levels for Lap-Band surgery:

  1. Click here to access the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) database
  2. Type in Adjustable Gastric Band Item Number 31569

Private insurance in Australia covers bariatric surgery, but you will need to wait at least 12 months after joining a health fund. After insurance and Medicare pay their part, you will need to pay between $1,700 and $4,800.

Contact your health fund directly for costs and coverage information. Provide them with the same Adjustable Gastric Band Medicare Item Number: 31569.

Click here for a full list of Australian health funds and their contact information.

Click here to find a top bariatric surgeon in Australia or review our Australia Patient Guide.

06Cost Without Insurance
  • Total Cost: $15,000, on average
  • Loan Payment: $334/month, on average
  • Discounts & Tax Savings: Usually available

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Your Location

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about discounts:

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DISCOUNTS
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The average total LAP-BAND® System cost is $15,000. But it ranges from $4,000 to $33,000 depending on your location. This does not include pre-op, post-op, complications, or special circumstances.

Out-of-pocket costs are much lower after insurance, discounts, financing, and tax savings. For example, if your insurance covers your LAP-BAND® System, your costs will be reduced to around $ (see the Insurance section of this page).

1.  Average Cost By Location

The total cost of the LAP-BAND® System depends on where you have it done. Different surgeons in the same city can have a price difference of $5,000 to $10,000 or more.

Total cost often has nothing to do with the quality of the surgeon or hospital. Instead, the following determine the cost:

  • Cost of living in the area
  • Amount of local competition
  • Local Medicare and Medicaid populations
  • For-profit or non-profit status of the hospital used

This section shares average costs by location.

For a specific price in your location, click here to contact a surgeon and ask for a free quote.

United States: $15,000

The average cost of Lap-Band surgery in the United States is about $15,000. But there is a big cost difference between states. Lap-Band costs range from $10,600 in Colorado to $33,000 in Alaska.

For state averages, scroll through the chart below.

For an exact quote, click here to find and contact a surgeon.

RegionRegion
Average CostAverage Cost
RegionALABAMA
Average Cost$14,150

ALABAMA surgeons surveyed are located in Birmingham, Decatur, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa

RegionALASKA
Average Cost$33,189

ALASKA surgeons surveyed are located in Anchorage

RegionARIZONA
Average Cost$13,749

ARIZONA surgeons surveyed are located in Flagstaff, Mesa, Phoenix, Prescott, Scottsdale, Tempe and Tucson

RegionARKANSAS
Average Cost$12,688

ARKANSAS surgeons surveyed are located in El Dorado, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Little Rock and Pine Bluff

RegionCALIFORNIA
Average Cost$15,638

CALIFORNIA surgeons surveyed are located in Bakersfield, Burbank, Chico, Fresno, Los Angeles, Orange, La Jolla, Modesto, Oakland, Poway, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Barbara

RegionCOLORADO
Average Cost$10,618

COLORADO surgeons surveyed are located in Colorado Springs, Denver and Fort Collins

RegionCONNECTICUT
Average Cost$17,791

CONNECTICUT surgeons surveyed are located in Farmington, Glastonbury, Meriden, Middletown, New Haven, Norwalk, Shelton and Stamford

RegionDELAWARE
Average Cost$12,257

DELAWARE surgeons surveyed are located in Dover, Newark and Wilmington

RegionFLORIDA
Average Cost$13,226

FLORIDA surgeons surveyed are located in Ft. Meyers, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Miami, Naples, Ocala, Orlando, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Tampa and West Palm Beach

RegionGEORGIA
Average Cost$15,140

GEORGIA surgeons surveyed are located in Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Decatur, Macon, Marietta and Savannah

RegionHAWAII
Average Cost$20,154

HAWAII surgeons surveyed are located in Aiea, Kailua-Kona, Honolulu and Wailuku

RegionIDAHO
Average Cost$11,161

IDAHO surgeons surveyed are located in Boise, Meridian, Montpelier, Nampa, Pocatello and Post Falls

RegionILLINOIS
Average Cost$15,155

ILLINOIS surgeons surveyed are located in Chicago, Champaign, Decatur, Naperville, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield

RegionINDIANA
Average Cost$16,340

INDIANA surgeons surveyed are located in Bloomington, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Gary, Indianapolis and South Bend

RegionIOWA
Average Cost$17,275

IOWA surgeons surveyed are located in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines and Iowa City

RegionKANSAS
Average Cost$13,225

KANSAS surgeons surveyed are located in Topeka, Lenexa, Wichita, Overland Park, Olathe, and Kansas City

RegionKENTUCKY
Average Cost$14,124

KENTUCKY surgeons surveyed are located in Lexington, Louisville and other towns.

RegionLOUISIANA
Average Cost$13,133

LOUISIANA surgeons surveyed are located in Alexandria, New Orleans, Shreveport and other towns

RegionMAINE
Average Cost$20,937

MAINE surgeons surveyed are located in Augusta, Bangor, Portland and other towns

RegionMARYLAND
Average Cost$18,647

MARYLAND surgeons surveyed are located in Baltimore, Salisbury and other towns

RegionMASSACHUSETTS
Average Cost$16,758

MASSACHUSETTS surgeons surveyed are located in Boston, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester and other towns.

RegionMICHIGAN
Average Cost$15,475

MICHIGAN surgeons surveyed are located in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing and other towns.

RegionMINNESOTA
Average Cost$21,383

MINNESOTA surgeons surveyed are located in Minneapolis / St. Paul, Rochester and other towns

RegionMISSISSIPPI
Average Cost$12,974

MISSISSIPPI surgeons surveyed are located in Jackson, Hattiesburg, Meridian, Tupelo and other towns.

RegionMISSOURI
Average Cost$15,975

MISSOURI surgeons surveyed are located in Columbia, Kansas City, Springfield, St. Louis and other towns

RegionMONTANA
Average Cost$17,850

MONTANA surgeons surveyed are located in Billings, Bozeman, Helena and other towns

RegionNEBRASKA
Average Cost$15,267

NEBRASKA surgeons surveyed are located in Lincoln, Omaha and other towns

RegionNEVADA
Average Cost$13,975

NEVADA surgeons surveyed are located in Henderson, Las Vegas and Reno Areas

RegionNEW HAMPSHIRE
Average Cost$19,850

NEW HAMPSHIRE surgeons surveyed are located in Manchester, Nashua and other towns

RegionNEW JERSEY
Average Cost$12,300

NEW JERSEY surgeons surveyed are located in Newark, Trenton and Other Areas

RegionNEW MEXICO
Average Cost$14,500

NEW MEXICO surgeons surveyed are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe and Other Areas

RegionNEW YORK
Average Cost$19,325

NEW YORK surgeons surveyed are located in Albany, Buffalo, New York City / Manhattan, Rochester, Watertown and Other Areas

RegionNORTH CAROLINA
Average Cost$17,193

NORTH CAROLINA surgeons surveyed are located in Asheville, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington, Winston-Salem and Other Areas

RegionNORTH DAKOTA
Average Cost$18,750

NORTH DAKOTA surgeons surveyed are located in Bismarck and Grand Forks

RegionOHIO
Average Cost$16,017

OHIO surgeons surveyed are located in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Other Areas

RegionOKLAHOMA
Average Cost$11,215

OKLAHOMA surgeons surveyed are located in Norman, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Other Areas

RegionOREGON
Average Cost$18,467

OREGON surgeons surveyed are located in Portland, Bend, McMinnville, Salem, Medford, Springfield, Eugene, Beaverton, Corvallis, and Coos Bay

RegionPENNSYLVANIA
Average Cost$16,790

PENNSYLVANIA surgeons surveyed are located in Allentown, Altoona, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Other Areas

RegionSOUTH CAROLINA
Average Cost$12,250

SOUTH CAROLINA surgeons surveyed are located in Anderson, Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, Rock Hill and Other Areas

RegionSOUTH DAKOTA
Average Cost$13,333

SOUTH DAKOTA surgeons surveyed are located in Dakota Dunes, Rapid City and Sioux Falls

RegionTENNESSEE
Average Cost$13,995

TENNESSEE surgeons surveyed are located in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville

RegionTEXAS
Average Cost$10,433

TEXAS surgeons surveyed are located in Abilene, Amarillo, Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas / Ft. Worth, Houston, Lubbock and San Antonio

RegionUTAH
Average Cost$13,177

UTAH surgeons surveyed are located in Provo, Salt Lake City and St. George

RegionVERMONT
Average Cost$12,100

VERMONT surgeons surveyed are located in Burlington, Montpelier and Springfield

RegionVIRGINIA
Average Cost$18,233

VIRGINIA surgeons surveyed are located in Charlottesville, Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke, Virginia Beach and Other Towns

RegionWASHINGTON
Average Cost$15,987

WASHINGTON surgeons surveyed are located in Everett, Olympia, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver and Other Areas

RegionWASHINGTON DC
Average Cost$12,638
RegionWEST VIRGINIA
Average Cost$16,389

WEST VIRGINIA surgeons surveyed are located in Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown and Vienna

RegionWISCONSIN
Average Cost$17,000

WISCONSIN surgeons surveyed are located in Eu Claire, Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee and Other Areas

RegionWYOMING
Average Cost$11,990

WYOMING surgeons surveyed are located in Afton, Cheyenne and Riverton

Canada: $17,575 CAD

Quebec is the only province in Canada with enough “self pay” surgeons to calculate an average.

Average Lap-Band costs in Quebec are $17,575 CAD.

For an exact quote, click here to find and contact a surgeon.

Australia: $17,700 AUD

While $17,700 AUD is the average total cost of Lap-Band surgery in Australia. But insurance is available for most Lap-Band patients in Australia.

For state and territory Lap-Band cost averages, scroll through the chart below. These cost averages (listed in Australian dollars) assume that you have insurance.

For an exact quote, click here to find and contact a surgeon.

RegionRegion
Average CostAverage Cost
RegionNEW SOUTH WALES
Average Cost$4,750

NEW SOUTH WALES surgeons surveyed are located in Sydney

RegionQUEENSLAND
Average Cost$4,500

QUEENSLAND surgeons surveyed are located in Brisbane and Gold Coast

RegionSOUTH AUSTRALIA
Average Cost$2,917

SOUTH AUSTRALIA surgeons surveyed are located in Adelaide and Barossa Valley

RegionTASMANIA
Average Cost$1,700

TASMANIA surgeons surveyed are located in Hobart

RegionVICTORIA
Average Cost$4,129

VICTORIA surgeons surveyed are located in Melbourne

RegionWESTERN AUSTRALIA
Average Cost$2,200

WESTERN AUSTRALIA surgeons surveyed are located in Perth

International (Medical Travel): $4,000 to $15,000 USD

Following are average Lap-Band costs by country (in U.S. Dollars for comparison purposes):

  • Australia – $13,000
  • Canada – $13,700
  • Costa Rica – $8,000
  • Egypt – $5,000
  • India – $4,000
  • Mexico – $5,825
  • Thailand – $10,000
  • United Kingdom – $7,165
  • United States – $15,000

Click here for an in-depth review of medical travel for Lap-Band surgery.

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Cost Survey Results for MEXICO*


Including Cancun, Guadalajara, Los Cabos, Mexicali, Monterrey, Puerto Vallarta and Tijuana

<-- swipe to see other years -->
 201520162017
Gastric Bypass$7,772$7,422n/a
Gastric Banding (Lap Band)$6,101$5,826n/a
Gastric Sleeve$5,367$5,125n/a
Duodenal Switch$8,440$8,060n/a

* 10 Practices in Mexico were contacted to calculate these averages.

Exact Quote for You

Click here to find a top surgeon near you. Their office will be able to provide you with a more exact quote.

2.  Vs. Not Having Surgery: LAP-BAND® System Saves Patients $11,000 Per Year

At a total average cost of $15,000, the LAP-BAND® System is expensive. But it’s not as expensive as the medical costs of obesity.

Starting 13 months after surgery, patients without insurance save about $900 per month (38). That’s almost $11,000 saved per year. Fewer prescription drugs alone save patients $3,000 or more per year (39).

In other words, about 1 year and 9 months after surgery you will “break even” and start saving $11,000 per year.

3.  Vs. Other Procedures: 2nd Lowest Total Cost, Tied for Lowest With Insurance

The LAP-BAND® System has the 2nd lowest lowest average cost out of the 7 available types of weight loss surgery, if you don’t have insurance. It is tied for the lowest cost for patients with insurance.

Free Insurance Check & Cost Quote:Click here to contact a top LAP-BAND® surgeon

See our Bariatric Surgery Cost page for a full cost comparison.

4.  Cost Components: Pre-Op, Costs During Surgery & Post-Op

Below are all potential LAP-BAND® System cost categories. Costs listed on this page only include standard costs during surgery.

Pre-Op (Costs Before Surgery)

  • Physician-supervised weight loss program (required)
  • Dietitian/nutritionist consultations
  • Psychologist (mental health clearance)
  • Cardiologist (heart health clearance)
  • Lab/blood work, echocardiogram (also known as an “ECG” or “EKG”) and/or X-Ray fees
  • Surgeon consultation fees
  • Sleep study

Standard Costs During Surgery

  • Hospital fees
  • Surgeon fees
  • Surgical assistant fees
  • Anesthesia fees
  • Operating room fees
  • Device Fees (for the implanted LAP-BAND® System device)

Non-standard Costs During Surgery

  • Pathologist fees (for reviewing biopsies, if necessary)
  • Radiologist fees (for reviewing x-rays, if necessary)

Post-Op (Costs After Surgery)

  • Addressing any complications
  • Follow-up doctor visits – between $15 and $300 per visit depending on the surgeon and whether you have insurance. Gastric band surgery requires 10 to 15 follow-up visits in year one, 4 to 6 in year two, and 2 to 3 in years 3+. The good news is that many surgeons will include the cost of between 3 and 13 months of follow-up visits – including fills and unfills – in their packaged price. Be sure to ask your surgeon about this before moving forward with surgery.
  • Bariatric vitamins – between $40 and $100 per month depending on vitamins/supplements prescribed
  • Extra food costs (healthier food tends to cost more)
  • Personal trainer and/or gym membership
  • New clothes (wait to go crazy with this until you reach your plateau weight)
  • Plastic surgery to remove sagging skin (more on this in the Downsides section below)

5.  Discounts: 6 Discounts to Ask Your Surgeon About

Talk with your surgeon about whether any of these discounts are available:

  1. Self-Pay Discounts. Most surgeons offer self-pay discounts or payment plans. Just ask!
  2. Other Discounts. Some offer discounts if you pay the total amount in advance.
  3. Same Surgeon, Different Hospitals. Some surgeons operate at more than one hospital. Hospital costs make up the biggest part of the bill, so find out if your surgeon has a choice.
  4. Pre-Op Costs. Some surgeons include pre-op costs in their quoted fees. Pre-op costs include things like testing and office visits.
  5. Complications. Should they arise, may increase total costs. Ask your surgeon who will pay if a complication arises during surgery. Some surgeons will include the cost of any complications in their quote while others will charge extra.
  6. Health Insurance That Does Not Include Bariatric Surgery. You may still get insurance to pay for some costs that could be applied to covered treatments. For example, lab work is needed for many reasons outside of bariatric surgery. Your surgeon can help you find those advantages in your plan.

6.  Financing: 7 Ways to Make Surgery More Affordable

LAP-BAND® System financing is available almost everywhere. It helps pay for:

  • The entire cost of surgery
  • The part that insurance doesn’t cover, like deductibles, copays, or coinsurance

Financing options to make gastric sleeve surgery more affordable include:

  1. Payment Plan Through a Qualified Surgeon
  2. Brokers, Direct Lenders, and Credit Cards (Unsecured Medical Loans)
  3. Friends & Family
  4. Secured Medical Loans
  5. Retirement Plan Loans
  6. Permanent Life Insurance Loans
  7. Medical travel – having surgery in a location that is less expensive than where you live

7.  Tax Savings: Tax Deductions & Special Tax-Favored Accounts

Click your country below to find out if tax savings are available:

United States: Might Be Deductible, Special Tax-Favored Accounts Available

The LAP-BAND® System is tax deductible, which can have a big impact on the total cost of surgery.

You can deduct medical expenses if the costs are more than 10% of your adjusted gross income.

To receive the deductions, you’ll need to complete Schedule A of the IRS Form 1040. You’ll also need to save your medical bills and payment statements as proof.

Money in special savings accounts (or even your IRA) may also be a way to pay for part of surgery tax-free:

  1. Health Savings Account (HSA) – You can open an HSA alongside a “qualified high deductible” health plan. Tax-free HSA money can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses. No other account receives better tax treatment. You can even transfer IRA money into an HSA. See the IRS’s Site for more info.
  2. Archer Medical Savings Account (Archer MSA) – Archer MSAs are like HSAs for the self-employed or small businesses. Click here for details.
  3. Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) – HRAs are only offered by employers who set them up and contribute money to them. If your company offers one, make sure your plan allows the use of HRA funds to pay for “all qualified medical expenses.” Click here for more info.
  4. Flexible Spending Account (FSA) – Both employers and employees can contribute to an FSA, also known by its IRS code, “Section 125”. Money from them can be taken out tax-free if it is used for qualified medical expenses. Click here to get the summary from the IRS.

Canada: Is Deductible

Canada is generous compared to other countries when it comes to medical tax deductions. If you have a prescription, receipt, or other documentation, you can write off your LAP-BAND® surgery expenses.

If surgery is covered by your insurance, you can also deduct your:

  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Monthly insurance premium

If your income is below a certain amount, you may qualify for a tax credit called the refundable medical expense supplement.

Australia: Might Be Deductible

In Australia, you can write off your LAP-BAND® surgery expenses if the costs are over the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) threshold.

According to the ATO:

“To claim the net medical expenses tax offset in your tax return, you will need to know the total medical expenses you incurred for yourself and your dependants. You then deduct any refunds from Medicare, your health fund or any other reimbursements that relate to those expenses received during the financial year.”

Click here for updated Medicare Benefit Tax Statement information from the Department of Human Services.

07Recovery
  • Hospital Stay: 1 day or less
  • Time Off Work: 1 to 3 weeks
  • Full Recovery: 4 to 6 weeks
  • Pain: Manageable - same as any laparoscopic surgery
  • Diet & Activity: Slow transition back to normal

lap band bariatric surgery

GASTRIC BAND SURGERY RECOVERY

Hospital Stay: Up to 1 Day

Most Lap-Band patients either leave the hospital the same day as the procedure ("outpatient") or leave the next day.

Recovery

Your incisions will take a few weeks to fully heal, but you should be able to return to work in a few days.

Click to Collapse SectionClick to Learn More

Gastric band surgery patients usually stay in the hospital for up to one day and are back to work in a week or two. Full recovery happens within 6 weeks.

Here’s what to expect:

  1. Wake Up. When you first wake up, you’ll be sore and a little “out of it.” You’ll be on medication to control the pain.
  2. Move Around. Your surgeon will have you up and walking around as soon as possible after you wake up. This will reduce the risk of blood clots and jump-start your body’s healing process. Continue to walk as much as possible, increasing it a little each day.
  3. Get Released. Before releasing you, your surgical team will run some tests to ensure:
    1. You are able to drink enough to stay hydrated
    2. You can urinate normally after removing your catheter
    3. You have adequate pain relief from your pain medications
  4. Look for Warning Signs. Contact your surgeon if you experience any of the following:
    1. Difficulty swallowing
    2. Fever
    3. Signs of incision infection (pus, swelling, heat, or redness)
    4. Ongoing nausea or vomiting
    5. No improvement or worsening of pain​
  5. Transition Your Diet. Your smaller stomach will be sensitive, especially at first. You’ll start on a liquid diet and slowly transition back to solid foods (read more about this in the Diet section of this page). You may feel tired while your body gets used to less food.
  6. Ease Off Medications. Your surgeon will prescribe pain and digestion medication as needed. He may also adjust your pre-surgery medications until you’re fully healed. Follow their instructions to the letter.
  7. Return to Your “New Normal” Life. Avoid swimming or bathing until your incisions have fully healed. Many patients return to normal life and work within a couple of weeks, but plan for up to 4 to 6 weeks off to be on the safe side. Full exercise and heavy lifting should resume within one to two months.
  8. Have Follow-Up Visits During First Year. Follow-ups with your surgeon’s team will happen about one week post-op, then as-needed to get your band fill amount just right. Every patient is different, but many need 10 or more fill adjustments in the first year before the fill amount is perfect. Fewer adjustments are required as time goes on and your weight stabilizes. Most patients get down to 2 or 3 visits a year by the 3rd year after surgery.

For an interesting discussion about getting the gastric bad fill amount just right, see this patient back-and-forth about getting a perfect band adjustment.

During your follow-up visits, your surgeon will also:

  1. Adjust your band as needed
  2. Discuss weight loss
  3. Encourage regular exercise
  4. Get lab work and make necessary adjustments to medications and dietary supplements
  5. Understand diet and identify any potential eating disorders
  6. Determine whether any potential complications may be arising
  7. Track status of obesity-related health issues
  8. Involve your family physician to check progress and ensure a successful transition

08Diet & Life After
  • Restricted diet with supplementation
  • Ongoing band adjustments
  • Regular exercise
  • Personal relationships may change

lap band bariatric surgery
FOOD & DRINK

Focus on eating proteins first, in solid form (not shakes). Get the majority of your calories from solid foods to avoid weight regain. Eat healthy "whole" foods (avoid processed foods). Drink 64+ oz (2+ liters) of liquids per day, but no drinking 30 minutes before or after meals.

VITAMINS & SUPPLEMENTS

Since you will be eating so much less, you will need to take daily vitamins and supplements to make up the difference. At a minimum, your surgeon will have you take a multivitamin and calcium supplements. Others may be needed as well.

YOUR BRAIN

After surgery you will feel full sooner while eating, but that won't fix food addiction. Food addiction issues should be addressed before surgery. Rapid weight loss will also affect relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and strangers - both positively and negatively.

EXERCISE

Exercise is almost as important as diet for long-term success. Plan to exercise 2.5 hours per week spread out over 3 or 4 days. Patients who do so lose more weight and report a much higher quality of life.

FOOD & DRINK
VITAMINS & SUPPLEMENTS
YOUR BRAIN
EXERCISE
Click to Collapse SectionClick to Learn More

Weight loss after gastric band surgery is a major part of life after surgery. But it’s also important to consider what day-to-day life will be like.

Your surgery is only a tool. Long-term success requires diligence and sometimes difficult change in other areas.

The following sections give you an idea about what to expect before and after surgery. Every surgeon is different, and every patient is different. Please talk with your surgeon before acting on any of the following advice.

1.  Food & Drink Your Diet Transition Schedule

Timeframe Range
2+ Weeks Before Surgery

Recovering from surgery has its own set of challenges. Do not wait until after surgery to start your new life. Establish the following long-term diet habits ahead of time to:

  1. Optimize your body’s immune system for a quicker recovery
  2. Ease the transition into your new diet after surgery
  3. Make you much more likely to reach and maintain your weight loss goals

Long-Term Habits to Begin Before Surgery

Food

  • Eat as healthy as possible, protein first
  • 60+ grams of protein per day
  • Small portion sizes
  • Cut food into small pieces
  • Eat slowly, chew food thoroughly
  • No more than 3 small meals per day
  • Limit snacking (no more than 2 small snacks per day)
  • Limit high-fat foods
  • No fibrous foods like asparagus, celery, or broccoli
  • No starchy foods like rice, pasta, or bread
  • No greasy or spicy foods
  • No whole milk products
  • No sugar
  • Take your vitamins

Drinks

  • Plenty of low-calorie fluids (64+ oz [2+ liters] per day)
  • Sip fluids, don’t gulp
  • Do not drink anything 30 minutes before, during, or after meals
  • No sodas or sugary drinks
  • Limit caffeine

Other Habits

2 Weeks Before Surgery

You will be on a special diet 2 weeks before surgery to reduce the risk of complications.

Add the following to the full ‘2+ Weeks Before’ list above:

  • No caffeinated drinks
  • No carbonated drinks
  • No over-the-counter herbal supplements

The typical 2 week pre-op meal plan includes:

  • Breakfast: Protein shake that is low-sugar and low-carbs
  • Lunch: Lean meat and vegetables
  • Dinner: Lean meat and vegetables

The purpose of this diet is to:

  • Shrink your liver and reduce your intra-abdominal fat. This will make your organs easier to see and work with during surgery.
  • Help you lose weight before surgery. The lower your weight, the lower your risk of complications
  • Optimize your immune system for a quicker recovery
1 Week Before Surgery

Your surgeon will ask you to stop taking several medications one week before surgery, such as:

  • Arthritis medications
  • Time-released medications – switch to non-time-released
  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as:
    • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
    • Aspirin (many brands)
    • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
    • Naproxen (Aleve)
  • Other anticoagulants, such as:
    • Enoxaparin (Lovenox)
    • Clopidogrel (Plavix)
    • Dipyridamole (Persantine)
    • Ticlopidine (Ticlid)
    • Warfarin (Coumadin)

Avoiding these medications will reduce the risk of bleeding and stomach problems after surgery.

Consult with your doctor or pharmacist prior to stopping or changing any of your medications.

2 Days Before Surgery

You should stop eating all foods and drink only clear liquids during the 2 days before surgery. This will clear out your digestive system before surgery.

Clear liquids options include:

  • Clear broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
  • Jell-O (sugar free)
  • Juice without pulp or added sugar (such as apple juice or pulp-free orange juice)
  • Popsicles (sugar-free)
  • Tea (caffeine-free, unsweetened)
  • Water

Do NOT consume:

  • Food of any kind
  • Thick or pulpy drinks of any kind
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Sugary drinks
Midnight Before Surgery to 7 Days After Surgery (Varies by Surgeon)

Your digestive system must be completely free of food or liquids during surgery.
This will reduce the risk of breathing in stomach-contents which can cause all sorts of problems like serious infection or pneumonia.

A clean digestive system is especially important for patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or gastric paresis (paralysis of the stomach) (40).

When you brush your teeth before heading to the hospital, rinse and spit out the water (don’t swallow).

In Hospital (1 -2 Days) thru Day 7 After Surgery

You will transition into drinking “richer” clear liquids along with the following guidelines:

  • Sip your liquids, no gulping
  • Do not use a straw or drink from a bottle as this can cause gas bubbles

Drinks that your nurse will provide may include:

  • Water or Ice (since you can’t eat anything yet, chewing ice may be more satisfying)
  • Clear broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
  • Drink mixes (sugar-free), like Crystal Light or Kool-Aid
  • Jell-O (sugar-free)
  • Thin juice or drinks without pulp or added sugar (such as apple juice, Propel Water, Powerade Zero, etc.)
  • Popsicles (sugar-free)
  • Tea (caffeine-free, unsweetened)

Your stomach is in healing mode, so go very easy on it when you return from the hospital.

Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, but don’t drink too quickly. Maintain the same clear liquids only diet that you were on in the hospital.

Take all vitamins and supplements recommended by your surgeon.

If you have no nausea or vomiting, your surgeon may allow you to try thicker items ahead of schedule (see below).

Other Habits

Day 1 to Week 2 After Surgery (Varies by Surgeon)

Your healing should be well underway. It’s now time to introduce thicker drinks and pureed foods. As soon as you’re ready, your surgeon will start you on many small “meals” per day which may include:

  • Clear liquids list from previous stages
  • Protein shakes
  • Clear broths (beef, chicken or vegetable)
  • Cream of Wheat
  • Cream soups (no chunks)
  • Carnation Instant Breakfast (sugar free)
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Natural applesauce
  • Sherbet (sugar-free)
  • Skim or Lactose-Free Milk Products
  • Thicker sugar-free juices like low-sodium V-8 or pulp-free orange juice
  • Vitamins and supplements

Remember: No soft or solid food and no drinks with chunks or seeds.

You can also drink clear liquids between meals.

While drinking anything:

  • Take small sips
  • Stop immediately as soon as you feel full or feel any pressure
Day 2 to Week 3 After Surgery (Varies by Surgeon)

By this point it should be safe to add softer solids to your diet, but take it slow!

When you’re ready to start pureed foods, blend water, skim milk, broth, or sugar-free juice with one of the following:

  • Beans
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Ground meats (lean)
  • Soft fruits

As soon as the pureed foods are going down without a problem, work your way into soft foods like:

  • Cooked vegetables
  • Ground meats (lean)
  • Soft fruits (no seeds or skin)

And remember those habits you formed in the weeks and months leading up to surgery? Here’s where they start to come in really handy.

General diet guidelines during this stage include:

Food

  • Test one new food at a time to confirm you can tolerate it
  • Eat as healthy as possible, protein first
  • 60+ grams of protein per day
  • Small portion sizes
  • Cut food into small pieces
  • Eat slowly, chew food thoroughly
  • No more than 3 small meals per day
  • Limit snacking (no more than 2 small snacks per day)
  • Limit high-fat foods
  • No fibrous foods like asparagus, celery, or broccoli
  • No starchy foods like rice, pasta, or bread
  • No greasy or spicy foods
  • No whole milk products
  • No sugar
  • Take your vitamins

Drinks

  • Plenty of low-calorie fluids (64+ oz [2+ liters] per day)
  • Sip fluids, don’t gulp
  • Do not drink anything 30 minutes before, during, or after meals
  • No sodas or sugary drinks
  • Limit caffeine

Other Habits

Day 3 to Weeks 4+ After Surgery (Varies by Surgeon)

Complete your slow transition to your “new normal” long-term diet.

Your focus should be on eating your proteins first, in solid form (not protein shakes). Here’s why:

  • You need 80g of protein to stay healthy, and getting that much can be tough if you fill up on other food first
  • Liquid protein is okay while you are in healing mode, but can lead to weight regain if continued after recovery
  • Get the majority of your calories from solids. You’ll feel hungry sooner if you get your calories from liquids instead of solids. This can lead to weight regain.

Other points to consider, in addition to those reviewed in Day 2 to Week 3 above, include:

  • Test one food at a time to make sure you can tolerate it
  • Eat healthy “whole” foods (avoid processed foods)
  • Eat slowly and chew thoroughly
  • No starchy foods like rice, bread, and pasta
  • No whole milk products
  • 64+ oz (2+ liters) of fluids spread throughout the day
  • No drinking 30 minutes before or after meals
  • Alcohol only in moderation
Diet Requirements
Timeframe(Varies Widely By Surgeon) – Diet Requirements

Recovering from surgery and adjusting to your new stomach size have their own set of challenges. Do not wait until after surgery to start your new life… establish the following long-term diet habits ahead of time to:

  1. Optimize your body’s immune system for a quicker recovery
  2. Ease the transition into your new diet after surgery
  3. Make you much more likely to reach and maintain your weight loss goals

Long-Term Habits to Begin Before Surgery

Food

  • Eat as healthy as possible, protein first
  • 60+ grams of protein per day
  • Small portion sizes
  • Cut food into small pieces
  • Eat slowly, chew food thoroughly
  • No more than 3 small meals per day
  • Limit snacking (no more than 2 small snacks per day)
  • Limit high-fat foods
  • No fibrous foods like asparagus, celery, or broccoli
  • No starchy foods like rice, pasta, or bread
  • No greasy or spicy foods
  • No whole milk products
  • No sugar
  • Take your vitamins

Drinks

  • Plenty of low-calorie fluids (64+ oz [2+ liters] per day)
  • Sip fluids, don’t gulp
  • Do not drink anything 30 minutes before, during, or after meals
  • No sodas or sugary drinks
  • Limit caffeine

Other Habits

Your surgeon will have you on a special diet starting 2 weeks before surgery to reduce the risk of complications.

In addition to the full ‘2+ Weeks Before’ list above, also begin…

  • No caffeinated drinks
  • No carbonated drinks
  • No over-the-counter herbal supplements

The typical 2 week pre-op meal plan includes:

  • Breakfast: Protein shake that is low-sugar and low-carbs
  • Lunch: Lean meat and vegetables
  • Dinner: Lean meat and vegetables

The purpose of this diet is to:

  • Make surgery easier to perform, reduce operating time and reduce the risk of complications – this diet will shrink your liver and reduce your intra-abdominal fat, making your organs easier to see and work with during surgery.
  • Help you lose weight prior to surgery – the lower your weight, the lower your risk of complications
  • Optimize your immune system for a quicker recovery

your surgeon will ask you to stop taking several medications one week prior to surgery such as:

  • Arthritis medications
  • Time-released medications – switch to non-time-released
  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as:
    • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
    • Aspirin (many brands)
    • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
    • Naproxen (Aleve)
  • Other anticoagulants, such as:
    • Enoxaparin (Lovenox)
    • Clopidogrel (Plavix)
    • Dipyridamole (Persantine)
    • Ticlopidine (Ticlid)
    • Warfarin (Coumadin)

Avoiding these meds will reduce the risk of bleeding and stomach problems after surgery.

Consult with your doctor or pharmacist prior to stopping or changing any of your medications.

2 Days Before Surgery – Clear liquids only

You should stop eating all foods and drink only clear liquids during the 2 days before surgery. This will clear out your digestive system before surgery.

Clear liquids options include:

  • Clear broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
  • Jell-O (sugar free)
  • Juice without pulp or added sugar (such as apple juice or pulp-free orange juice)
  • Popsicles (sugar-free)
  • Tea (caffeine-free, unsweetened)
  • Water

Do NOT consume:

  • Food of any kind
  • Thick or pulpy drinks of any kind
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Sugary drinks

Your digestive system must be completely free of food or liquids when surgery is performed.

The main reason is to reduce the risk of pulmonary aspiration which happens when stomach contents get into the lungs, causing all sorts of problems like serious infection or pneumonia.

While recommended for most gastric sleeve patients, the after-midnight fasting instructions are especially important for patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or gastric paresis (paralysis of the stomach which is more common among people with diabetes). (41)

When you brush your teeth before heading to the hospital, rinse and spit out the water (don’t swallow).

In Hospital to 7 Days After Surgery (Varies by Surgeon) Clear liquids only

After surgery, your surgical team will slowly transition you into drinking “richer” clear liquids along with the following guidelines:

  • Sip your liquids slowly… no gulping
  • Do not use a straw or drink from a bottle as this can cause gas bubbles to form

Drinks that your nurse will provide may include:

  • Water or Ice (since you can’t eat anything yet, chewing ice may be more satisfying)
  • Clear broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
  • Drink mixes (sugar-free), like Crystal Light or Kool-Aid
  • Jell-O (sugar-free)
  • Thin juice or drinks without pulp or added sugar (such as apple juice, Propel Water, Powerade Zero, etc.)
  • Popsicles (sugar-free)
  • Tea (caffeine-free, unsweetened)

Your stomach is in healing mode, so go very easy on it when you return from the hospital.

Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, but don’t drink too quickly. Maintain the same, clear liquids only diet that you were on in the hospital.

Take all vitamins and supplements recommended by your surgeon.

If you have no nausea or vomiting before the 7 day mark, your surgeon may allow you to slowly try thicker “Week 2” items ahead of schedule (expand that section below for examples).

Other Habits

Your healing should be well underway, and it’s time to slowly introduce thicker drinks and pureed foods. As soon as you’re ready, your surgeon will start you on multiple small “meals” per day which may include:

  • Clear liquids list from previous stages
  • Protein shakes
  • Clear broths (beef, chicken or vegetable)
  • Cream of Wheat
  • Cream soups (no chunks)
  • Carnation Instant Breakfast (sugar free)
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Natural applesauce
  • Sherbet (sugar-free)
  • Skim or Lactose-Free Milk Products
  • Thicker sugar-free juices like low-sodium V-8 or pulp-free orange juice
  • Vitamins and supplements

Remember: No soft or solid food and no drinks with chunks or seeds.

You can also drink clear liquids between meals.

While drinking anything:

  • Take small sips
  • Stop immediately as soon as you feel full or feel any pressure

By this point it should be safe to add softer solids to your diet, but take it slowly!

When you’re ready to introduce pureed foods, do so by blending water, skim milk, broth, or sugar-free juice with one of the following:

  • Beans
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Ground meats (lean)
  • Soft fruits

As soon as the pureed foods are going down without a problem, work your way into soft foods like:

  • Cooked vegetables
  • Ground meats (lean)
  • Soft fruits (no seeds or skin)

And remember those habits you formed in the weeks and months leading up to surgery? Here’s where they start to come in really handy.

General diet guidelines during this stage include:

Food

  • Test one new food at a time to confirm you can tolerate it
  • Eat as healthy as possible, protein first
  • 60+ grams of protein per day
  • Small portion sizes
  • Cut food into small pieces
  • Eat slowly, chew food thoroughly
  • No more than 3 small meals per day
  • Limit snacking (no more than 2 small snacks per day)
  • Limit high-fat foods
  • No fibrous foods like asparagus, celery, or broccoli
  • No starchy foods like rice, pasta, or bread
  • No greasy or spicy foods
  • No whole milk products
  • No sugar
  • Take your vitamins

Drinks

  • Plenty of low-calorie fluids (64+ oz [2+ liters] per day)
  • Sip fluids, don’t gulp
  • Do not drink anything 30 minutes before, during, or after meals
  • No sodas or sugary drinks
  • Limit caffeine

Other Habits

Day 3 to Weeks 4+ After Surgery (Varies by Surgeon) Slowly test solid foods (avoid alcohol)

Complete your slow transition to your “new normal” long-term diet.

Your focus should be on eating your proteins first, in solid form (not protein shakes). Here’s why:

  • You need 80g of protein to stay healthy, and getting that much can be tough if you fill up on other food first
  • Liquid protein is okay while you are in healing mode, but can lead to weight regain if continued after recovery
  • Get the majority of your calories from solids. You’ll feel hungry sooner if you get your calories from liquids instead of solids. This can lead to weight regain.

Other points to consider, in addition to those reviewed in Day 2 to Week 3 above, include:

  • Test one food at a time to make sure you can tolerate it
  • Eat healthy “whole” foods (avoid processed foods)
  • Eat slowly and chew thoroughly
  • No starchy foods like rice, bread, and pasta
  • No whole milk products
  • 64+ oz (2+ liters) of fluids spread throughout the day
  • No drinking 30 minutes before or after meals
  • Alcohol only in moderation

2.  Vitamins & Supplements 5 Lifelong Supplements

You will start taking a vitamin regime for the rest of your life after gastric band surgery. This will help you make up for any nutrients you might not be getting since you eat less with the band.

Here is a list of the vitamins your doctor may ask you to take:

Vitamins
Multivitamin (41) (42)

A daily multivitamin with mineral supplements will help with hair loss and general nutrition problems.

  • 1 to 2 per day
  • Chewable and liquid versions are best
  • At least 200% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of iron, folic acid, thiamine, copper, selenium, and zinc
Calcium (43)

Calcium citrate supplements will keep your bones strong.

  • Must be calcium citrate (NOT other forms of calcium)
  • 500 – 600 mg doses
  • Take 3 times per day forever
  • Chewable and liquid versions are best
  • Try to find one that includes Vitamin D
Folate (folic acid) (44)

Patients who don’t get enough folate are at a higher risk of anemia.

For some patients, the folic acid found in a good multivitamin is not enough. Some surgeons do not prescribe extra folate, so ask them to test your folate levels as time goes on to be on the safe side.

Iron (45) (46)

Patients low on iron are more likely to have a stroke, heart attack, or other blood-related problems.

In some patients, the iron found in a good multivitamin is not enough. Ask your surgeon to watch your iron levels to avoid any problems.

Vitamin D (47) (48) (49)

Without enough Vitamin D, you’re at risk of developing rickets, a weakening of the bones, muscles, and teeth.

  • Chewable or liquid forms are best
  • 3,000 International Units per day
  • Take with food
  • Take 2 hours apart from any Iron supplement (including a multivitamin that contains iron)

Talk with your surgeon to be sure, but you may be able to find a calcium supplement that fulfills your Vitamin D requirements.

Main Body System Affected
Vitamins – Main Body System Affected
Multivitamin (50) (1) – Entire body

A daily multivitamin with mineral supplements will help prevent hair loss and general nutrition problems.

  • 1 to 2 per day
  • Forms that are easier to digest, like chewable or liquid versions instead of tablets
  • At least 200% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of iron, folic acid, thiamine, copper, selenium, and zinc
Calcium (2) – Skeletal

Calcium nitrate supplements will keep your bones strong.

  • Must be calcium citrate (NOT other forms of calcium)
  • 500 – 600 mg doses
  • Take 3 times per day forever
  • Chewable and liquid versions are best
  • Try to find one that includes Vitamin D
Folate (folic acid) (3) – Cardiovascular

Patients who don’t get enough folate are at a higher risk of anemia.

For some patients, the folic acid found in a good multivitamin is not enough. Some surgeons do not prescribe additional folate, so ask them to test your folate levels as time goes on to be on the safe side.

Patients low on iron are more likely to have a stroke, heart attack, or other blood-related problems.

In some patients, the iron found in a good multivitamin is not enough (6). Ask your surgeon to monitor your iron levels to avoid any problems.

Vitamin D (7) (8) (9) – Entire Body

Without enough Vitamin D, you’re at risk of developing rickets, a weakening of the bones, muscles, and teeth.

  • Chewable or liquid forms are best
  • 3,000 International Units per day
  • Take with food
  • Take 2 hours apart from any Iron supplement (including a multivitamin that contains iron)

Talk with your surgeon to be sure, but you may be able to find a calcium supplement that fulfills your Vitamin D requirements.

3.  Ongoing Band Adjustments

Lap Band Fill / Unfill
Gastric Band Fill / Unfill

It will take time to find the “sweet spot” for your band fill amount. The tighter the band is, the less hungry you feel and vice-versa. Doctors are careful not to over-tighten as that could lead to problems such as reflux and vomiting in addition to preventing you from getting the nutrients you need.

Every patient is different, but it is not uncommon to need 10 or more fill adjustments before finding the perfect fill amount in the first year.

As time goes on and your weight stabilizes, you’ll need fewer adjustments. By year 3 you should need no more than 2 or 3 adjustments per year.

When it comes to getting your fill “just right,” trust your instincts and push back if your doctor continues to recommend fill/unfill amounts that aren’t working for you. For example, some doctors insist upon adding or removing at least 0.50 cc’s with each visit, but your body may require tiny 0.25 cc adjustments instead.

For an interesting discussion about getting the fill amount just right, see this patient back-and-forth about getting a perfect gastric band adjustment.

4.  Interference with Metal Detectors & Other Equipment

  • Metal Detectors – Probably no problems

    Your band will probably not interfere with external equipment like airport metal detectors, although it can happen. It depends on the sensitivity of the metal detectors and how much other metal you are carrying with you (since the detectors will only go off if the total metal you are carrying exceeds a certain amount).

  • Metal Detecting Wand – May cause problems

    A metal detecting wand will detect your port, so play it on the safe side and carry a note or card from your doctor identifying you as a gastric band patient.

  • MRI machines – No problems

    Your gastric band should not interfere with MRI devices, but let your MRI doctor know about your band to be on the safe side.

5.  Exercise 2.5 hours per week, spread out over 2 to 4 days

Exercise with a gastric band is almost as important as your diet when it comes to long-term success:

  • Patients who exercise regularly lose more weight over the long-term
  • Physical and mental health benefits are incredible

How much exercise do you need to for noticeable results?

One study of gastric bypass patients found that 2.5 hours per week resulted in 5.7% greater excess weight loss (50). Gastric band patients should expect similar results.

Working out regularly will also lead to quicker and better health improvement after surgery (51).

To help you stay on track, block out time to exercise at the same times on the same days of the week.

Also, spread your 2.5 hours per week out over 3 or 4 days (in other words, 30 to 45 minutes 3 or 4 days per week). This will make it less intimidating to get started each day and will help you build endurance.

Exercise Types: 3 Goals

There should be 3 main goals of your exercise routine:

  • Endurance – walking, stationary bike, and especially swimming
  • Flexibility – a good stretching routine. Yoga is best since it incorporates proper breathing and uses your own body weight to build strength
  • Strength – exercise balls, weights, and yoga

Learn more about exercise after weight loss surgery.

6.  Your Brain Less Hungry, Careful About Food Addiction, New Mentality Will Change Behavior & Relationships

Food Addiction

Our bodies secrete certain hormones (like ghrelin) that tell us when we’re hungry. Junk food may override those hormone signals by overstimulating our reward centers. This is just like the way our bodies and brains react to an addictive drug.

You may have food addiction if your desire for food takes priority over other important parts of your life, such as:

  • Personal health
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Work
  • Your appearance
  • Avoiding obesity related health issues like hypertension, sleep apnea, or diabetes

If left unchecked, food addiction can lead to obesity. If not addressed before surgery, it can also lead to weight regain.

To find out if you may be suffering from food addiction, take our Food Addiction Quiz.

Relationships After Weight Loss

Being thin again, or being thin for the first time, may be a shocking experience. Many gastric band patients express amazement at:

  • No more obesity discrimination. For example, strangers tend to be nicer to thin people.
  • Being treated with more respect
  • Getting more romantic interest from others
  • Building deeper relationships by being able to physically keep up with kids and more physically fit friends
  • Getting more compliments from others
  • Increased self-confidence and the effect that has on others

But there may be negatives to being thin as well.

People who you’ve known for a long time will not be used to the way you look and may not know how to act around you. For example:

  • How will overweight friends or family members feel when you’re losing weight but they are not?
  • Will your new healthier diet and smaller portion sizes make meals with others awkward?
  • Could intimacy with your spouse or partner be affected?
  • Could your spouse or partner become jealous now that others are noticing you more?
  • How will your coworkers react? Should you even tell them you are having surgery?
  • Will your friends or family make it difficult for you to stay on track by making bad diet choices?
  • Could your new self-confidence create conflict with people who are used the “old” you?

And what about the new “skinny lens” you see the world through? For example:

  • Would this person be treating me the same way if I hadn’t lost all this weight?
  • How do I handle obesity discrimination now that I’m on the “other side”?

Be prepared for both the good and the challenging “shocks” of dramatic weight loss following surgery.

For real life experiences and advice from other patients, see our Relationships After Weight Loss surgery page.

09Downsides
  • Moderate risk of non-serious complications
  • Lap-Band removal eventually required in up to 50% of patients
  • Side effects may include digestion issues & sagging skin from rapid weight loss
  • Some weight regain possible

lap band bariatric surgery
Complications
  • Gastric band removal required in about 9% of patients by 5 years post-op due to inadequate weight loss or one of the following complications
  • Band problems: 1.1% – 18% of patients
  • Esophageal dilation: 14% of patients
  • Food trapping: 1 to 2% of patients
  • Port problems: 20.5% of patients
  • Pouch dilation: 6.3% – 16.9% of patients
Side Effects
  • Intolerance to certain foods may cause nausea, vomiting or indigestion. Fixed by changing diet or eating habits.
  • Bowel function changes, including constipation or diarrhea, are also usually fixed by patient diet adjustments.
  • Sagging skin as a result of rapid weight loss
  • Weight regain possible if don’t change diet & lifestyle
Click to Collapse SectionClick to Learn More

1.  Preventing Gastric Band Complications

The following will dramatically reduce your risk of gastric band complications:

  • Pick a good surgeon – One study found that weight loss surgery patient risk drops by 10% for every 10 cases per year that a surgeon performs (52). Your surgeon’s technique also makes a difference. Surgeons who use the pars flaccida technique (PFT) when placing the band instead of the perigastric technique (PGT) reduce your risk of reoperation by over 20% (53).
  • Follow your surgical team’s advice to the letter
  • Educate yourself before surgery to set appropriate expectations (you’re at the right place for that!)
  • Educate your family
  • Lose as much weight as possible prior to surgery
  • Eat a healthy diet in the months leading up to surgery
  • Get tested for sleep apnea syndrome several weeks before surgery (and address the issue if it exists before moving forward)
  • Plan for at least 2 weeks of recovery time
  • Exercise right away after surgery, but take it easy at first.
    1. Compression stockings
    2. Pneumatic compression devices
    3. Blood thinners after surgery
  • Have an effective support system of friends, family, and weight loss surgery support groups

See our Bariatric Surgery Complications page for more information about each of these points.

2.  Most Common Gastric Band Complications

Gastric band surgery has an extremely high survival rate of about 999 out of every 1,000 patients.

However, it does carry a high risk of complications over the long-term. Many of the complications are minor and are easily repaired, but others require removal of the band.

Following are some of the most common gastric band complications (54) (55) (56) (57) (58) (59) (60):

Band problems: 1.1% – 18% of patients

Band erosion (2.1% – 9.5% of patients) – (also called “band migration”) occurs when the band actually grows into the stomach. The only treatment is permanent removal of the band. See our Gastric Band Erosion page for more information.

Band intolerance – some patients’ bodies just can’t handle the band. After all, the band is a foreign object in your body. Band intolerance includes vomiting excessively or feeling uncomfortable all of the time. Permanent removal of the band is required in these cases.

Band leak (1.1% – 4.9% of patients) – patients can usually tell if their gastric banding system has a leak if their feelings of restriction decrease over time (thus increasing hunger) without the doctor unfilling the port. To determine whether you have a leak, your doctor may inject colored fluid and take an X-Ray to see if any of the colored fluid is present (from a leak) outside of the gastric banding system. Surgery is usually required to repair it.

Band slippage (2% – 18% of patients) – occurs when the lower part of the stomach “slips” through the band, creating a bigger pouch above the band. Either removing fluid from the band or surgical repositioning is required to repair band slippage. Symptoms include vomiting and reflux, and it is diagnosed by drinking a dye and using X-Ray to observe it. The band placement technique used by the surgeon also makes a difference – between the perigastric technique (PGT) and the pars flaccida technique (PFT), the pars flaccida technique appears to have a much lower rate of slippage (up to 16% less often).

Esophageal dilation: 14% of patients

A dilated esophagus is the enlarging of the esophagus and is usually the result of the band being too tight or being placed incorrectly. Most cases can be handled through deflation of the band under radiological control. GERD symptoms and vomiting are more frequent in patients who develop esophageal dilation.

Food trapping: 1 to 2% of patients

Occurs when food gets caught in one of the small openings in your digestive system. Treated by deflating the band entirely until the food passes through.

Port problems: 20.5% of patients

Port flip/inversion or dislodgement (10.3% of patients) occurs when the gastric band port (where fluids are taken out or added to the band) “flips over”. This is typically not a serious problem and a quick procedure can turn it back over.

Port Leak (1.1% – 4.9% of patients) – as with a band leak, patients can usually tell if their gastric banding system has a leak if their feelings of restriction decreases over time (thus increasing hunger) without the doctor unfilling the port. To determine if you have a leak, your doctor may inject colored fluid and take an X-Ray to see if any of the colored fluid is present (from a leak) outside of the gastric banding system. Surgery is usually required to repair it.

Port or band infection (1.5% – 5.3% of patients) – if port or band infection occurs, it is usually healed with antibiotics, but removal of the band or port may be necessary.

Port dislocation (6.9% of patients) – similar to a port flip, a port dislocation means that your port has moved from its original location. It can be fixed with a simple operation under local anesthesia.

Pouch dilation: 6.3% – 16.9% of patients

Refers to the enlarging of the stomach pouch above the band. It may be fixed by removing fluid from the band, but surgery is sometimes required. Good outcomes can be expected after rebanding in properly assessed patients with slippage and pouch dilation.

Click here for the full list of Gastric Band Complications.

Expand Gastric Band Mortality & Complication Rate Studies

Studies
Studies
Study F
Study F
Study A
Study A
Study B
Study B
Study C
Study C
Study E
Study E
Studies
# of gastric banding patients in study
Study F
714
Study A
1,176
Study B
400
Study C
179
Study E
190
Studies
Mortality & Complication Rates
Study F
Mortality – 0%

Revisional procedure required – 50.4% (proximal enlargement (pouch dilation) -26%; band erosion-3.4%; port and tubing problems-21%).

STUDY NOTE: “The need for revision decreased as the technique evolved, with 40% revision rate for proximal gastric enlargements in the first 10 years, reducing to 6.4% in the past 5 years. The revision group showed a similar weight loss to the overall group beyond 10 years.”
Study A
Mortality – 0.09%
Major complications – 1%
All complications – 2.6%
Study B
Mortality -0.25%
All complications – 8.8%
Study C
Mortality -0.56%
Early complications – 2.8%
Late complications – 26%
4 Years – 82.1%
Study E
Mortality – 0%
All complications – 10.5%
Studies
Year
Study F
2012
Study A
2008
Study B
2007
Study C
2007
Study E
2004

3.  Gastric Band Failure

In the past, Gastric band removal was eventually required in over 30% of all patients – most commonly because of inadequate weight loss but also because of complications (61) (62) (63) (64) (65).

However, recent studies have shown the 5-year removal rate drop to under 9% for patients who maintain continued interaction with their surgical team and follow established guidelines closely (66).

“Unsuccessful” weight loss means different things to different surgeons, but in general a procedure is considered to be a failure if you lose 25% to 30% or less of your excess weight (in other words, if you’re 100 pounds overweight that would mean you lost 25 to 30 pounds or less). Complete success generally means 50% or more of excess weight lost.

See the Revision section below for what to do if your band fails.

4.  Gastric Band Side Effects

Click below to learn about common gastric band side effects:

Digestion Issues

Bowel Function Changes

Bowel function after gastric band surgery may change, including:

  • Constipation – usually corrected by increasing the amount of water you are drinking and by taking fiber supplements.
  • Difficulty swallowing (also called “dysphagia”) – caused by eating too quickly, too much or not chewing food enough and can usually be fixed by avoiding these habits.
Nausea and vomiting: 70% of patients

One of the most common side effects of bariatric surgery and is experienced in up to 70% of patients. In one study, patients on average reported feeling nauseous 1.4 times per week and vomiting about once per week after gastric banding (67). Following the doctor’s orders regarding your bariatric diet and finding the right band fill amount (the right band tightness) will typically fix or improve the problem. While in the hospital, receiving a larger amount of IV fluids at a faster rate may make you less likely to feel nauseous or vomit.

Intolerance to Certain Foods

With a changed stomach size or digestive system, there will be certain foods that you’ll need to avoid and certain diet habits you’ll need to maintain. See our Bariatric Diet section and Bariatric Eating page (how you eat vs what you eat) for more.

Indigestion

Also called “dyspepsia”, indigestion is the inability to digest or difficulty in digesting food; incomplete or imperfect digestion of food; a case or attack of indigestion marked especially by a burning sensation or discomfort in the upper abdomen. Treatment is usually as simple as changing your diet, such as avoiding greasy foods or only drinking liquids for a certain period of time. Alcohol, aspirin and other drugs are also causes. If diet changes don’t work, antacids and H2 blockers are sometimes prescribed.

Sagging Skin

For most obese patients, the skin has been stretched out for so long to accommodate the extra weight that it has lost its elasticity. Gastric band surgery causes most patients to lose a lot of weight very quickly, and your skin simply can’t keep up.

The extra skin may be embarrassing. It can also cause several issues ranging from minor to severe, including:

  • Difficulty getting dressed
  • Difficulty exercising, which may impact long-term weight maintenance and health
  • Skin fold rashes or breakdown of skin
  • Skin fold infections

In some cases, patients manage sagging skin with body-contouring undergarments. In more serious cases, patients have plastic surgery to remove the excess skin. Surgery to remove excess skin is often covered by insurance.

See our Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss page for more information.

5.  Weight Regain

Weight regain is not a big concern for gastric band patients. For those who keep their band and experience good weight loss, their weight tends to hold steady after 2 years.

The bigger concerns are:

  • How much weight you will lose in the first place – the gastric band has a wide range of results, from 20% to 80% of excess weight lost.
  • Whether a complication will require the removal of your band (About 9% of patients eventually have their band removed – see the Complications section above)

10Lap-Band Vs. 6 Other Weight Loss Procedures
  • One of the best for weight loss & health improvement
  • Weight loss varies more from patient to patient
  • One of 4 procedures that is reversible; most weight loss among reversible procedures by far
  • One of 4 procedures that results in 50%+ average excess weight loss (EWL)
  • Highest long-term 'failure' rate among 50%+ EWL procedures

Picture of Procedure

Video of Procedure

Avg Excess Weight Loss

Health Improvement

BMI Needed to Qualify

Covered by Insurance?

Financing Available

Avg Total Cost With Insurance (U.S.)

Avg Total Cost Without Insurance (U.S.)

Procedure Type

Years of Peer-Reviewed Research

Device Placed In Body?

Reversible?

Time Until Removed

Path of Digestion

Procedure Time (Approx)

Complication Rate

Survival Rate

Hospital Stay (Avg)

Recovery Time
(Avg Back to Work)

Difficulty Swallowing?

Digestion & Bowel Movement Problems

Diet Risks

Food Cravings Decreased

Lifelong Vitamins Required

Qualified Surgeons

Patient Guides

Gastric Band surgery has highly variable results, with excess weight loss after 2 years ranging from 45% to 70%.
Gastric Band surgery improves or cures at least 15 obesity-related health problems, including diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and many others.
35 - 39.9 with health problems; 40+ without
For policies that cover weight loss surgery, Gastric Band is included
Gastric Band financing is available, subject to credit approval

$3,500

Actual out of pocket costs depend on your insurance plan.

$15,000

Costs vary by surgeon and hospital.
Most Gastric Band procedures are performed laparoscopically.
Gastric Band surgery is backed by a significant amout of long-term research.
A silicone and silastic band is left around the top of the stomach, and a balloon around the inside of the band connects to a tube that leads to a round half-dollar-sized port just below the skin.
The Gastric Band can be removed.
Gastric Band removal is not required unless the patient develops a device-related complication.
The path of digestion is unchanged with the Gastric Band.
Gastric Band surgery usually takes about 1 hour to perform.
Non-severe complications are much more common than severe complications Learn Risks & How to Minimize
Gastric Band mortality risk is equal to that of any other routine surgical procedure.
Most Gastric Band patients leave the hospital the same day or the day after the procedure.
Most Gastric Band patients are able to return to work within 2 weeks.
Can be caused by eating too quickly, too much or not chewing food enough and can usually be fixed by avoiding these issues.
Reflux and vomiting common if band too tight (can be adjusted). Some patients experience constipation.
Potential problem foods: Dairy. Should not drink anything within 30 minutes before or after eating
Food cravings will remain the same after Gastric Band surgery.
Lifelong vitamins will need to be taken to compensate for patients eating less food as a result of the smaller stomach pouch created by the band.
The gastric balloon is a temporary procedure. Depending on the balloon type you choose, it must be removed 3 months, 6 months, or 1 year after insertion.
Gastric balloon patients are more likely to see health improvements than people of similar weight who do not have the procedure.
Between 30 & 40 in U.S. (above 27 elsewhere)
Gastric balloon is not usually covered by insurance
Gastric balloon financing is available, subject to credit approval

$8,150

Gastric balloon is usually not covered by insurance.

$8,150

Costs vary by surgeon and hospital.
Gastric balloon requires no incisions.
The gastric balloon is a relatively new procedure so long-term studies are limited.
An inflated silicon balloon remains in the stomach for 6 months.
The balloon must be removed after 6 months (Orbera and ReShape balloons).
The balloon must be removed after 6 months (Orbera and ReShape balloons).
The path of digestion is unchanged with the gastric balloon.
Gastric balloon usually takes about 30 minutes to perform.
Non-severe complications are much more common than severe complications. Learn Risks & How to Minimize
Gastric balloon survival rate is very high since the procedure requires no incisions and since complication risks are very low.
Most balloon patients leave the hospital the same day as the procedure.
Most balloon patients are able to return to work within a few days.
Can be caused by eating too quickly, too much or not chewing food enough and can usually be fixed by avoiding these issues.
Vomiting possible (but often avoidable with proper habits). “Feeling bloated” reported by some patients.
Potential Problem Foods: Pasta and other foods that might stick to balloon in stomach.
Food cravings will remain the same with the gastric balloon.
The balloon must be removed after 6 months (Orbera and ReShape balloons), so lifelong vitamins are not required.
The average gastric sleeve patient loses between 65% and 75% of their excess weight within 2 years and has kept most of the weight off after 5 years.
Gastric sleeve surgery improves or cures at least 15 obesity-related health problems, including diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and many others.
35 - 39.9 with health problems; 40+ without
For policies that cover weight loss surgery, gastric sleeve is included
Gastric sleeve financing is available, subject to credit approval

$3,500

Actual out of pocket costs depend on your insurance plan.

$19,000

Costs vary by surgeon and hospital.
Most gastric sleeve procedures are performed laparoscopically.
Gastric sleeve surgery is backed by a significant amout of long-term research.
No external device is used (other than materials for "sealing" the smaller stomach).
Not usually reversed
not applicable (gastric sleeve is not usually reversed)
The path of digestion remains the same after gastric sleeve (although part of the stomach is removed).
Gastric sleeve surgery usually takes about 2 hours to perform.
Non-severe complications are much more common than severe complications. Learn Risks & How to Minimize
Gastric sleeve mortality risk is equal to that of any other routine surgical procedure.
Most gastric sleeve patients remain in the hospital for 2 to 3 days.
Most gastric sleeve patients are able to return to work within 2 weeks.
Can be caused by eating too quickly, too much or not chewing food enough and can usually be fixed by avoiding these issues.
GERD (reflux) in ~1 out of 5 patients after 1 year, drops to 1~ out of 33 patients after 3 year. Some patients experience diarrhea.
Potential problem foods: Dairy
Food cravings may be reduced after gastric sleeve surgery due to fewer hunger-causing hormones being released by the smaller stomach.
Lifelong vitamins will need to be taken to compensate for patients eating less food as a result of a smaller stomach.
The average gastric bypass patient loses between 65% and 75% of their excess weight within 2 years and has kept most of the weight off after 5 years.
Gastric bypass surgery improves or cures at least 15 obesity-related health problems, including diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and many others.
35 - 39.9 with health problems; 40+ without
For policies that cover weight loss surgery, gastric bypass is included
Gastric bypass financing is available, subject to credit approval

$3,500

Actual out of pocket costs depend on your insurance plan.

$24,000

Costs vary by surgeon and hospital.
Most gastric bypass procedures are performed laparoscopically.
Gastric bypass surgery is backed by a significant amout of long-term research.
No external device is used (other than materials for "sealing" the smaller stomach pouch and establishing the new intenstinal route).
Not usually reversed
not applicable (gastric bypass is not usually reversed)
Part of the small intestines are bypassed after gastric bypass surgery.
Gastric bypass surgery usually takes about 4 hours to perform.
Non-severe complications are much more common than severe complications. Learn Risks & How to Minimize
Gastric bypass mortality risk is equal to that of any other routine surgical procedure.
Most gastric bypass patients remain in the hospital for 2 to 3 days.
Most gastric bypass patients are able to return to work within 2 weeks.
Can be caused by eating too quickly, too much or not chewing food enough and can usually be fixed by avoiding these issues.
Dumping syndrome occurs in ~80% of patients who eat sugar, refined fats, or carbs.
Potential problem foods: Sugars, Refined fats, Carbs, Dairy. Malabsorption will require life-long vitamin supplementation.
Food cravings may be reduced after gastric bypass surgery due to fewer hunger-causing hormones being released by the smaller stomach pouch.
Lifelong vitamins will need to be taken to compensate for patients eating less food as a result of a smaller stomach and for the lack of absorption resulting from the rerouted intestine.
The average duodenal switch patient loses between 65% and 90% of their excess weight within 2 years and has kept most of the weight off after 5 years.
Duodenal switch surgery improves or cures at least 15 obesity-related health problems, including diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and many others.
35 - 39.9 with health problems; 40+ without (but more common for 50+)
For policies that cover weight loss surgery, duodenal switch is included
Duodenal switch financing is available, subject to credit approval

$3,500

Actual out of pocket costs depend on your insurance plan.

$27,000

Costs vary by surgeon and hospital.
Most duodenal switch procedures are performed laparoscopically.
Duodenal switch surgery is backed by a significant amout of long-term research.
No external device is used (other than materials for "sealing" the smaller stomach and establishing the new intestinal route).
Not usually reversed
not applicable (duodenal switch is not usually reversed)
Part of the small intestines are bypassed after duodenal switch surgery.
Duodenal switch surgery usually takes about 4 hours to perform.
Non-severe complications are much more common than severe complications Learn Risks & How to Minimize
Survival rate may be lower than other procedures because DS surgery tends to be performed on heavier patients who have higher risk.
Most DS patients remain in the hospital for 2 to 3 days.
Most duodenal switch patients are able to return to work within 2 weeks.
Can be caused by eating too quickly, too much or not chewing food enough and can usually be fixed by avoiding these issues.
Might be significant, including frequency, diarrhea, and/or foul-smelling stools/flatulence.
Malabsorption will require life-long vitamin supplementation.
Food cravings may be reduced after duodenal switch surgery due to fewer hunger-causing hormones being released by the smaller stomach.
Lifelong vitamins will need to be taken to compensate for patients eating less food as a result of a smaller stomach and for the lack of absorption resulting from the rerouted intestine.
The average vBloc patient loses 25% of their excess weight within 1 year. Longer-term studies are not yet available.
While studies are limited, vBloc Therapy has been found to improve hypertension, diabetes, and several obesity-related health factors.
35 - 39.9 with health problems; 40 - 45 without (none over 45)
vBloc Therapy is not usually covered by insurance
vBloc Therapy financing is available, subject to credit approval

$18,500

vBloc Therapy is not usually covered by insurance.

$18,500

Costs vary by surgeon and hospital.
Most vBloc procedures are performed laparoscopically.
vBloc Therapy is a relatively new procedure so long-term studies are limited.
The vBloc Therapy device is placed below the rib cage just under the skin. Leads (wires) connect the device to the vagal nerve, just above the stomach.
The vBloc Device can be removed.
vBloc device removal is not required unless the patient develops a device-related complication.
The path of digestion is unchanged with vBloc Therapy.
vBloc implant usually takes less than 90 minutes to perform.
Non-severe complications are much more common than severe complications Learn Risks & How to Minimize
vBloc mortality risk is equal to that of any other routine surgical procedure.
Most vBloc patients leave the hospital the same day as the procedure.
Most vBloc patients are able to return to work within a few days.
Most vBloc patients do not have any issue with swallowing.
Most vBloc patients do not experience digestion or bowel movement problems.
No medical risks, but healthier eating recommended for better results.
The vBloc device was specifically designed to control how often hunger impulses reach the brain.
vBloc device settings should be such that enough food will be eaten to provide the right amount of vitamins and minerals. Your doctor should monitor your vitamin levels.
AspireAssist studies are currently limited, but one study showed 31.5% excess weight loss after 4 years.
Early AspireAssist studies indicate a positive impact on diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia, but more reasearch is needed to confirm.
35 - 55, regardless of health problems
AspireAssist is not usually covered by insurance
AspireAssist financing is available, subject to credit approval

$10,500

AspireAssist is not usually covered by insurance.

$10,500

Costs vary by surgeon and hospital.
The AspireAssist procedure passes a tube through the mouth and down into the stomach. The tube is then pulled through the abdominal wall through a small incision.
AspireAssist is a relatively new procedure so long-term studies are limited.
A silicone “A-tube” connects the stomach to the Skin-Port™ located on the outside of your abdomen. The Skin-Port™ is the opening between your external device and the tube leading to your stomach. An Emergency Clamp component prevents any leakage of stomach contents if the A-tube and Skin-Port become disconnected.
The AspireAssist device can be removed.
AspireAssist removal is not required unless the patient develops a device-related complication.
The path of digestion is unchanged with AspireAssist (although some food is routed out of the body directly from the stomach).
The AspireAssist procedure usually takes about 15 minutes to perform.
Non-severe complications are much more common than severe complications. Learn Risks & How to Minimize
Available studies to date have shown zero deaths as a result of having the AspireAssist procedure.
Most AspireAssist patients leave the hospital the same day as the procedure.
Most AspireAssist patients are able to return to work within a few days.
Most AspireAssist patients do not have any issue with swallowing.
Low risk of vomiting (17% of patients), constipation (4.5% of patients), or diarrhea (4.5% of patients)
Potential malabsorption will require some monitoring and may result in a vitamin regimen
Food cravings will remain the same with the AspireAssist device.
Whether vitamins are required depends on each patient and how they are using the device. Your doctor should monitor your vitamin levels.
Click to Collapse SectionClick to Learn More

Gastric band surgery used to be the 2nd most popular procedure. It’s popularity dropped significantly because research showed a high rate of long-term complications that required removal of the band.

However, that trend may be changing as a result of recent studies that have shown big drop in removal rates when patients maintain continued interaction with their surgical team and follow established guidelines closely (68).

1.  Gastric Band Surgery Positives

  • Weight loss is usually better than gastric balloon or vBloc Therapy (but less than gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or duodenal switch). However, weight loss after gastric band surgery is highly variable. It ranges from 20% (similar to gastric balloon and vBloc) to 80% (similar to duodenal switch). More research is needed for the AspireAssist, but initial results show about 30% weight loss on average.
  • Health Improvement is generally better than after gastric balloon or vBloc Therapy (but not as good as gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or duodenal switch). Initial research for the AspireAssist shows similar heath improvements to gastric balloon or vBloc Therapy, but more research is needed to confirm this result.
  • Reduced hunger – only gastric sleeve, duodenal switch, and vBloc Therapy make you feel less hungry.
  • Short-term risk of gastric band surgery complications is lower than duodenal switch, gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass (but higher than gastric balloon, vBloc Therapy, or AspireAssist).
  • Adjustable – As time goes on, the tightness of the band can be adjusted for each patient find the “perfect” level of tightness. vBloc Therapy and the Spatz gastric balloon (not available in the U.S.) are the only other procedures that are adjustable after surgery (the Orbera, ReShape, and Obalon gastric balloons are not adjustable).
  • Reversible – Gastric band surgery, along with gastric balloon, vBloc Therapy and AspireAssist, is reversible. This means that if you don’t like it, you can go back to the way things used to be or try another procedure. Gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and duodenal switch surgery are not reversible – once your stomach size is reduced and your intestines are rerouted, it is very it is very difficult and uncommon for those procedures to be reversed.
  • Hospital Stay – Usually shorter with gastric band (1 day) than with gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or duodenal switch (2 to 3 days) (but generally longer than gastric balloon, vBloc Therapy, and AspireAssist which are done on an outpatient basis).
  • No dumping syndromeDumping syndrome is experienced by up to 7 out of 10 gastric bypass patients, although many patients report this being a “good thing” since it helps them keep their diet on track.
  • Cost With Insurance is tied for the lowest with gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and duodenal switch (gastric balloon, vBloc Therapy, and AspireAssist usually are not covered by insurance).
  • Cost Without Insurance – If you do not have insurance that covers weight loss surgery, the LAP-BAND® System has the 2nd lowest overall cost (gastric balloon is lowest). It has the lowest total cost of the “permanent” procedures (gastric balloon is less expensive but must be removed after 6 months).
  • Vitamin Regimen – since the gastric band procedure is primarily “restrictive” in nature (makes you feel full sooner), there is a lower risk of vitamin and mineral deficiency than after gastric bypass or duodenal switch (vitamins will be similar to gastric sleeve, vBloc Therapy, and gastric balloon).

2.  Gastric Band Surgery Negatives

  • Weight loss is usually not as good as gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or duodenal switch (but is likely better than gastric balloon or vBloc Therapy). The AspireAssist needs more research, but early results suggest weight loss similar to gastric balloon or vBloc Therapy.
  • Health Improvement is generally not as good as gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or duodenal switch (but is likely better than after gastric balloon or vBloc Therapy). Initial reasearch suggests the AspireAssist will have similar health benefits to gastric ballon or vBloc Therapy, but more research is needed to confirm.
  • Hunger Will Remain the Same – Gastric band surgery will not change how hungry you feel, only how much you can eat. Gastric sleeve, duodenal switch, and vBloc Therapy cause patients to also feel less hungry due to fewer hunger-causing hormones being released or by blocking hunger signals sent to the brain.
  • Short-term risk of gastric band surgery complications is higher than gastric balloon, vBloc Therapy, or AspireAssist (but lower than duodenal switch, gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass).
  • Long-term risk of gastric band surgery complications is relatively high. About 9% ofLAP-BAND® System patients must eventually have their band removed (69).
  • External device used – There is an external device left inside the body which opens up the risk of device-related complications. While the risk of device-related complications is relatively low for vBloc Therapy, gastric balloon, and AspireAssist, it is a concern and should be considered for gastric bands.
  • Hospital Stay – Gastric band surgery usually requires one day in the hospital vs in and out the same day (outpatient) with gastric balloon, vBloc Therapy, and AspireAssist (but gastric band hospital stays are usually shorter than with gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or duodenal switch (2 to 3 days).
  • Recovery Time – You should allow about 2 weeks before returning to work after gastric band, gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and duodenal switch. Gastric Balloon, vBloc Therapy, and AspireAssist patients usually return to work in a few days.
  • Follow-Up Visits – One of the benefits of the band is that it is adjustable. The downside of being adjustable is that it can be difficult to find a “band fill amount” that is just right. This means many visits to the doctor – up to 10 or more in the first year – to fill and unfill the band before finding the “perfect” level of constriction. The patient may experience discomfort until this level is found, especially if the band is too tight (too full).

11Start to Finish
  • 7 steps to long-term weight loss

01

Start Working with a
Top Surgeon As Soon
as Possible

Top surgeons will help you navigate your surgical options, pre-surgery steps, financing, and insurance options:

  1. Many surgeons offer a free initial consultation, free local seminar, or free webinar. These will give you a better idea of what to expect and allow you to ask questions.
  2. Many also provide a free insurance check. They will also help you appeal any denials or find financing.
  3. Most insurance companies need proof of a medically supervised diet program. Your surgeon will set this up for you if you haven’t done so already.
  4. Your surgeon will push you towards new habits that will be essential to success after surgery. Many surgeons will recommend support group meetings for feedback from actual patients.

02

Two Weeks Out: Prepare for Surgery

You will have completed your pre-op tests, physical, and any other required steps. You should have insurance approval by this point. You should also be well on your way towards developing your diet and lifestyle habits.

In the week or two leading up to surgery, you’ll go to the hospital pre-surgery department. They will perform an EKG, blood work, and any last minute tasks or other pre-op tests. You’ll meet with the surgeon one more time to wrap up final tests and forms. The night before surgery, do not eat or drink anything starting at midnight.

03

Surgery Day

You’ll arrive at the hospital at least two hours before surgery to allow for prep time. The Lap-Band procedure itself will take about 1 hour to perform. Immediately after surgery, you’ll have a dedicated nurse to manage your pain and check your vitals.

04

Recovery

Most Lap-Band patients are in the hospital for 1 day. You can't eat or drink anything for at least 24 hours after surgery. And your surgeon will want you to get up and walk around as soon as possible to start the healing process. You’ll leave as soon as your surgeon is confident that you are well on the road to full recovery. You’ll need someone to drive you home from the hospital and care for you for at least a few days following surgery. Full recovery generally happens within 2 to 4 weeks.

05

Adjust to Your New Post-Surgery Diet &
Lifestyle

For the first 4 to 5 weeks after surgery, you will go from a clear liquid diet to your “new normal” Lap-Band diet. You should also continue your transition into a more active lifestyle. You will feel full sooner after eating and start to experience weight loss within a couple weeks.

Your surgeon’s dietitian or nutritionist will help you determine an appropriate diet. See the Diet & Life After section of this page for more information.

06

Attend Support
Groups Regularly

Regular support group participation leads to:

  1. Reduce post-op recovery time
  2. Lead to as much as 12% more long-term weight loss

Your surgeon will be able to recommend an in-person group near you.

07

Ongoing Doctor Visits

Your surgeon will schedule a follow up visit within 2 weeks to ensure you are recovering well and to answer any questions.

You will continue to meet with your surgeon during the first year in order to adjust your band.
Your surgeon will inject saline solution into your band through the port located just under the skin of your abdomen. You will continue to add and remove saline solution through the port (“fill” and “unfill” the band) until the perfect balance is found, which may require 10 or more follow-up visits in the first year.

In year 2, most patients need 4 to 6 adjustments. Every year thereafter, 2 or 3 adjustments are usually enough.

After the perfect fill amount is found, you should meet with your surgeon at least once a year for check-ups and stay in close contact with your surgeon’s dietitian.

13Help & Support
  • Ask the expert
  • Patient experiences

lap band bariatric surgery

Patient Experiences

Ask the Expert & Patient Experiences*

To meet face-to-face and in-person with other patients, talk with your surgeon about weight loss surgery support groups available in the area.

Our community would also love to read your experiences with the balloon. Your insights are invaluable to making sure other people have the tools to meet their goals.

In addition, we are happy to answer any questions you have about the procedure.

Please use the form below to share your experience or ask a question.

Ask the
Expert

Ask the Expert & Patient Experiences*

To meet face-to-face and in-person with other patients, talk with your surgeon about weight loss surgery support groups available in the area.

Our community would also love to read your experiences with the balloon. Your insights are invaluable to making sure other people have the tools to meet their goals.

In addition, we are happy to answer any questions you have about the procedure.

Please use the form below to share your experience or ask a question.

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Questions From Other Visitors*

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page…

106 Pounds Lost & No More Diabetes Medicine 7 Months After Gastric Band Surgery*

I was banded 7 months ago and have lost 107 lbs, though I still have a long ways to go. I feel so much better... I no longer have to…


Weight Regain After Lap Band Surgery*

I had my band surgery in 2008. I weighed 344 when I had my surgery. I got down to 150, then all if a sudden I started gaining weight back.I…


Stomach Sore Spots 13 Days After Lap Band Surgery*

I had lap band surgery 13 days ago. All went well, but my stomach has 2 very sore spots that have not improved at all.


Is A Lap Band Revision A Good Idea After Weight Gain?*

Hi y'all, I am three years after my Lap-band surgery. My long-term goal was to lose about 50% of my excess weight, which at the time was about 95 pounds.…


Keep Your Honey in the Bathroom: The Gastric Band and Diabetes*

As the owner of a gastric band who also has Type 2 diabetes I know it's perfectly possible to lose weight just the same as everybody else - I just…


High Blood Pressure has been eliminated after lap band surgery. No more medications!*

I had Lap Band surgery. I have lost a total of 111 lbs in about 14 months and now am maintaining my goal weight of 145 lbs. I participate in…


14Find a Top Lap-Band Surgeon
  • Ask for a free insurance check or cost quote
  • Attend a free seminar or webinar
  • Schedule a phone or in-person consultation (both often free)

Search the LAP-BAND® System Surgeon directory below to find a top surgeon by country and region:

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* Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is provided for general information purposes and your specific results may vary depending on a variety of circumstances. It is not intended as nor should be relied upon as medical advice. Rather, it is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician(s). Before you use any of the information provided in the site, you should seek the advice of a qualified medical, dietary, fitness or other appropriate professional. Read More