Adjustable Gastric Band (Lap Band) Surgery works mainly by decreasing food intake, which leads to weight loss. The upper portion of a patient’s stomach is reduced in size, thereby limiting the amount of food that can be consumed at one time. The person feels fuller faster, eats less, and naturally loses weight. This is the least invasive of the bariatric weight loss surgeries because no part of the stomach is stapled or removed, nor are any of the intestines re-routed; and it is totally reversible. Adjustable Gastric Band (Lap Band) Surgery is typically recommended for obese patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI – a measure of height in relation to weight) of 35 or greater. Costa Rica has surgical teams that are highly experienced in performing Adjustable Gastric Band (Lap Band) Surgery.

How is adjustable gastric band (lap band) surgery done?

A small, bracelet-like, inflatable silicone band is placed around the top portion of a patient’s stomach via laparoscopic surgery to restrict the size of the opening to the stomach. The surgeon can then control the size of the opening with a circular balloon inside the band. This balloon can be inflated or deflated with saline solution to meet the needs of the patient. Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally-invasive surgical technique performed using small incisions (usually less than 2 cm or 1/2-inch) and a laparoscope – a thin, flexible tube-like surgical tool, with the aid of a miniature video camera that sends images to a monitor. The surgeon can view and work on the internal organs more easily this way.

Benefits of laparoscopic surgery:

  • Smaller incisions help reduce recovery time and cause less scarring.
  • Reduces bleeding, lowering the need for blood transfusions.
  • Usually is less painful after surgery, therefore requiring less pain medications.
  • Reduces risk of infections and the occurrence of post-surgical hernias.

What is recovery like after adjustable gastric band (lap band) surgery?

After you get out of the hospital from Adjustable Gastric Band (Lap Band) surgery, you’ll need to follow a strict diet. The first days you should limit yourself to a clear liquid diet, such as broth, apple juice, gelatin, protein drinks, tea, and water. Your doctor will give you instructions on when you can upgrade to soft food and eventually solid food. Also, you may feel hungry for a few days after the surgery. This is normal. Inform your doctor if your hunger lasts longer than five days. After your surgery, you will be resting and also needing to take short walks to keep your body strong. Your doctor will give you very specific instructions on the length and frequency of the walks. As a general rule, exercise should not be strenuous. Sleeping may be an issue for the first few nights, since you won’t be able to sleep on the side where the surgery was performed. It may be a good idea to practice beforehand so that you sleep on your back or your other side without accidentally rolling to your surgery side. Getting up from bed is a bit painful at first for some people and may put some strain on the incisions, so you should be very careful. Some patients choose to sleep in a reclining chair in order to make it easier to get up. Patients who have bariatric surgery must commit to a lifetime of healthy eating and regular exercise. These healthy habits will help patients maintain weight loss after surgery.

Adjustable gastric band (lap band) surgery in Costa Rica

Adjustable gastric band (lap band) surgery is available in Costa Rica. If you are interested in adjustable gastric band (lap band) surgery in Costa Rica, please fill out the “Help me Find a Doctor” form. A participating medical specialist will contact you about your medical needs.