Lap Band Surgery - All You Need to Know

Lap-Band surgery (adjustable gastric band) 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.

Unfortunately, up to half of all patients eventually have the procedure reversed due to inadequate weight loss or complications requiring removal of the band.

Read and click the sections below for everything you need to know about the Lap-Band procedure.

01 How the Lap-Band Surgery Works

How 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

Why Lap Band Surgery Works

  • A 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 Lap-Band Surgery Is Performed

The Lap-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 (1) (2) (3).

During surgery, the Lap-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.

02 Weight Loss

Weight Loss

Up to 55% of excess weight within 2 years

Enter your height & weight, then click the button:

Enter your height & weight, then click the button:

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

0 months

100%

Excess Weight Remains

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is XXX.

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

Scroll down the page to learn more about the lap band.

Click here to discuss your weight loss projections with a top lap band surgeon.

Not enough projected weight loss? There are several more involved weight loss procedures that typically result in greater weight loss than lap band, although they do include trade-offs.

Click here to compare other weight loss procedures.

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

Click here to learn your options.

Click to Learn More

Weight loss happens fast after Lap-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. Lap-Band surgery patients’ weight loss ranges from 25% to 80% of their excess weight.

Most Lap-Band patients reach a weight loss plateau around the 2 year mark.

References: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9)

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03 Health Benefits

Health Benefits

Cures or improves diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, and at least 12 other conditions

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Lap-Band surgery patients experience significant improvement in or a complete “cure” of obesity-related health problems, including:

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 (10)
Most report dramatic improvement (11, 12)
Improved or resolved in up to 82% of patients (13)
Up to 73% of patients have reduced risk (14)
Improved in up to 81% of patients (15, 16)
Improved or resolved in up to 57% of patients (17)
Improved or resolved in up to 60% of patients (18)
Improved or resolved in up to 70% of patients (19)
Improved or resolved in up to 87% of patients (20)
Improved or resolved in up to 43% of patients (21)
Remission in up to 23% of patients (22)
Improved or resolved in up to 78% of patients (23)
Some patients experience improvement (correlated with amount of weight lost – 24)
Improved for most patients (25)
Improved or resolved in up to 85% of patients (26)
Improved or resolved in up to 48% of patients (27)
Fertility improved for most patients (28)
Improved in most patients (29)
Improved or resolved in up to 82% of patients (30)

04 Qualify

Qualify

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

Enter your height & weight, then click the button:

Enter your height & weight, then click the button:

30+

lap 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

Weight Loss Procedure Qualification Info

BMI's ranging from 30 to 34.9 may qualify for Gastric Balloon. This BMI range may also qualify for other procedures if the patient has poorly controlled diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

BMI's ranging from 35 to 40 may qualify for Gastric Balloon. This BMI range may also qualify for other procedures if the patient has poorly controlled type 2 diabetes, a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, or suffers from another weight-related health issue.

BMI's ranging from 40.1 to 45 may qualify for any weight loss procedure other than Gastric Balloon.

BMI's ranging from 45.1 to 55 may qualify for any weight loss procedure other than Gastric Balloon or vBloc Therapy.

BMI's above 55 may qualify for any weight loss procedure other than Gastric Balloon, vBloc Therapy, or AspireAssist.

Health Risk: High

You are considered to be underweight, so you do not qualify for weight loss surgery.

You should take physician-approved steps to gain weight.

Health Risk: Low

Your weight is considered healthy, so you do not qualify for weight loss surgery.

Health Risk: Moderate

Your BMI is too low to qualify for weight loss surgery.

Your health risk increases to “High” if two or more of the following apply to you:

  • - You smoke cigarettes
  • - Family history of premature heart disease
  • - High blood glucose (blood sugar)
  • - High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • - Low HDL-cholesterol (“good” cholesterol)
  • - High LDL-cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol)
  • - High triglycerides

Your risk of health issues are even higher if your waist circumference is over 35 inches (88 cm) for women or 40 inches (102 cm) for men.

Health Risk: High

You have a high risk of obesity-related health problems.

Your risk is even higher if your waist circumference is over 35 inches (88 cm) for women or over 40 inches (102 cm) for men.

Your BMI indicates that you may be a good candidate for the gastric balloon procedure. You may also qualify for one of the other available weight loss procedures if you have uncontrolled diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

Health Risk: High

You have a high risk of obesity-related health problems.

Your risk is even higher if your waist circumference is over 35 inches (88 cm) for women or over 40 inches (102 cm) for men.

Your BMI indicates that you may qualify for any one of the available weight loss procedures, including gastric balloon.

Health Risk: Very High

You have a very high risk of obesity-related health problems.

Your risk is even higher if your waist circumference is over 35 inches (88 cm) for women or over 40 inches (102 cm) for men.

Your BMI indicates that you may qualify for any available weight loss procedure other than the gastric balloon (max BMI is 40).

Health Risk: Very High

You have a very high risk of obesity-related health problems.

Your BMI indicates that you may qualify for any available weight loss procedure other than the gastric balloon (max BMI is 40) or vBloc Therapy (max BMI is 45).

Health Risk: Very High

You have a very high risk of obesity-related health problems.

Your BMI indicates that you may qualify for any available weight loss procedure other than the gastric balloon (max BMI is 40), vBloc Therapy (max BMI is 45), or AspireAssist (max BMI is 55).

Click to Learn More

You could be a good candidate for Lap-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.

05 Insurance

Insurance

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

Move Slider or Input Plan Details

Total Surgery Cost

Plan Deductible

Year-to-Date Deductible Amount Already Paid

Hospital Copay

Hospital Coinsurance

Year-to-Date Coinsurance Amount Already Paid

Annual Out of Pocket Max

LAP BAND COST-AFTER-INSURANCE ESTIMATOR

Projected Out Of Pocket Costs After Insurance

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

Lap Band Insurance Tools

Cost-After-Insurance Estimator

Check My Insurance Tool

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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.

Click to Learn More

Click your country below for Lap-Band surgery insurance information:

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

In the U.S., Lap-Band surgery 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 (26)

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 (33).

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.

06 Cost Without Insurance

Cost Without Insurance

With Insurance: Tied for Lowest Cost Without Insurance: 6th Lowest cost out of 7

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

Your Location

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about discounts:

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DISCOUNTS
6 Discounts to Ask Your Surgeon About

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

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The average total Lap-Band 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, your costs will be reduced to around $2,000 (see the Insurance section of this page).

1.  Average Cost By Location

The total cost of Lap-Band surgery 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.

Region Region
Average Cost Average Cost
Region ALABAMA
Average Cost $14,150

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

Region ALASKA
Average Cost $33,189

ALASKA surgeons surveyed are located in Anchorage

Region ARIZONA
Average Cost $13,749

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

Region ARKANSAS
Average Cost $12,688

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

Region CALIFORNIA
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

Region COLORADO
Average Cost $10,618

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

Region CONNECTICUT
Average Cost $17,791

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

Region DELAWARE
Average Cost $12,257

DELAWARE surgeons surveyed are located in Dover, Newark and Wilmington

Region FLORIDA
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

Region GEORGIA
Average Cost $15,140

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

Region HAWAII
Average Cost $20,154

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

Region IDAHO
Average Cost $11,161

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

Region ILLINOIS
Average Cost $15,155

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

Region INDIANA
Average Cost $16,340

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

Region IOWA
Average Cost $17,275

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

Region KANSAS
Average Cost $13,225

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

Region KENTUCKY
Average Cost $14,124

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

Region LOUISIANA
Average Cost $13,133

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

Region MAINE
Average Cost $20,937

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

Region MARYLAND
Average Cost $18,647

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

Region MASSACHUSETTS
Average Cost $16,758

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

Region MICHIGAN
Average Cost $15,475

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

Region MINNESOTA
Average Cost $21,383

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

Region MISSISSIPPI
Average Cost $12,974

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

Region MISSOURI
Average Cost $15,975

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

Region MONTANA
Average Cost $17,850

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

Region NEBRASKA
Average Cost $15,267

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

Region NEVADA
Average Cost $13,975

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

Region NEW HAMPSHIRE
Average Cost $19,850

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

Region NEW JERSEY
Average Cost $12,300

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

Region NEW MEXICO
Average Cost $14,500

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

Region NEW YORK
Average Cost $19,325

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

Region NORTH 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

Region NORTH DAKOTA
Average Cost $18,750

NORTH DAKOTA surgeons surveyed are located in Bismarck and Grand Forks

Region OHIO
Average Cost $16,017

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

Region OKLAHOMA
Average Cost $11,215

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

Region OREGON
Average Cost $18,467

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

Region PENNSYLVANIA
Average Cost $16,790

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

Region SOUTH CAROLINA
Average Cost $12,250

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

Region SOUTH DAKOTA
Average Cost $13,333

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

Region TENNESSEE
Average Cost $13,995

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

Region TEXAS
Average Cost $10,433

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

Region UTAH
Average Cost $13,177

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

Region VERMONT
Average Cost $12,100

VERMONT surgeons surveyed are located in Burlington, Montpelier and Springfield

Region VIRGINIA
Average Cost $18,233

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

Region WASHINGTON
Average Cost $15,987

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

Region WASHINGTON DC
Average Cost $12,638
Region WEST VIRGINIA
Average Cost $16,389

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

Region WISCONSIN
Average Cost $17,000

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

Region WYOMING
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.

Region Region
Average Cost Average Cost
Region NEW SOUTH WALES
Average Cost $4,750

NEW SOUTH WALES surgeons surveyed are located in Sydney

Region QUEENSLAND
Average Cost $4,500

QUEENSLAND surgeons surveyed are located in Brisbane and Gold Coast

Region SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Average Cost $2,917

SOUTH AUSTRALIA surgeons surveyed are located in Adelaide and Barossa Valley

Region TASMANIA
Average Cost $1,700

TASMANIA surgeons surveyed are located in Hobart

Region VICTORIA
Average Cost $4,129

VICTORIA surgeons surveyed are located in Melbourne

Region WESTERN 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.

Or click your state in the map below...

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AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY DC

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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 $7,422 n/a
Gastric Banding (Lap Band)$6,101 $5,826 n/a
Gastric Sleeve$5,367 $5,125 n/a
Duodenal Switch$8,440 $8,060 n/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 Saves Patients $11,000 Per Year

At a total average cost of $15,000, Lap-Band surgery 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 (31). That’s almost $11,000 saved per year. Fewer prescription drugs alone save patients $3,000 or more per year (32).

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

Lap-Band surgery 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 surgery 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)

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. Lap-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 surgery 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

Lap-Band surgery 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.

07 Recovery

Recovery

Hospital Stay: Outpatient (same-day) Time Off Work: 3 to 4 days Full Recovery: 4 to 6 weeks Pain: Manageable – same as any laparoscopic surgery Activity: Slow transition back to normal while incisions heal

LAP-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 Learn More

Lap-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 Lap-Band fill amount just right, see this patient back-and-forth about getting a perfect Lap-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

08 Diet & Life After

Diet & Life After

Restricted diet with supplementation Ongoing band adjustments Regular exercise Personal relationships may change

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 Learn More

Weight loss after Lap-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) (37).

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
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
Midnight Before Surgery – Nothing to eat or drink

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). (33)

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

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

2.  Vitamins & Supplements 5 Lifelong Supplements

You will start taking a vitamin regime for the rest of your life after Lap-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 (38) (39)

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 (40)

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) (41)

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 (42) (43)

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 (44) (45) ( 46)

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 (34) (35) – 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 (3) – 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) (36) – 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 (39). Ask your surgeon to monitor your iron levels to avoid any problems.

Vitamin D (40) (41) (42) – 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
Lap 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 Lap-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 Lap-Band patient.

  • MRI machines – No problems

    Your Lap-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 Lap-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 (47). Lap-Band patients should expect similar results.

Working out regularly will also lead to quicker and better health improvement after surgery (48).

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 Lap-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.

09 Downsides

Downsides

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

Complications
  • Lap-Band removal eventually required in up to 50% of all patients 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 Learn More

1.  Preventing Lap-Band Complications

The following will dramatically reduce your risk of Lap-Band complications include:

  • 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 (49). 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% (50).
  • 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 Lap-Band Complications

Lap-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 Lap-Band complications (51) (52) (53) (54) (55) (56) (57):

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 Lap-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 Lap-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 Lap-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 Lap-Band Complications.

Expand Lap-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.  Lap-Band Failure

Lap-Band removal is eventually required in up to 50% of all patients – most commonly because of inadequate weight loss but also because of complications (58) (59) (60) (61) (62).

Following are the Lap-Band failure rates over time (63):

  • 18 months: 13.2% failure rate
  • 3 years: 24% failure rate
  • 5 years: 32% failure rate
  • 7 years: 37% failure rate

“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.  Lap-Band Side Effects

Click below to learn about common Lap-Band side effects:

Digestion Issues

Bowel Function Changes

Bowel function after Lap-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 (64). 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. Lap-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 Lap-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 – Lap-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 (see the Complications section above)

Up to 50% of patients eventually have their band removed, mostly because of inadequate weight loss (65) (66) (67) (68) (69).

10 Lap-Band Vs. 6 Other Weight Loss Procedures

Lap-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

Year 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

Lap-Band surgery has highly variable results, with excess weight loss after 2 years ranging from 45% to 70%.
Lap-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, Lap-Band is included
Lap-Band financing is available, subject to credit approval

$2,000

Actual out of pocket costs depend on your insurance plan.

$15,000

Costs vary by surgeon and hospital.
Most Lap-Band procedures are performed laparoscopically.
Lap-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 Lap-Band can be removed.
Lap-Band removal is not required unless the patient develops a device-related complication.
The path of digestion is unchanged with the Lap-Band.
Lap-Band surgery usually takes about 1 hour to perform.
Non-severe complications are much more common than severe complications Learn Risks & How to Minimize
Lap-Band mortality risk is equal to that of any other routine surgical procedure.
Most Lap-Band patients leave the hospital the same day or the day after the procedure.
Most Lap-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 Lap-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.