How Much Weight Will You Lose After Lap Band Surgery?

lap-band surgery, woman with measuring tape around her waist

How Much Weight Will You Lose After Lap Band Surgery?

For those that have tried and failed to lose weight with traditional weight loss strategies, the final step in promoting significant weight loss is bariatric surgery.

Bariatric surgery, as a field, has been shown to promote substantial weight loss in patients that are able to follow the dietary practices, and while it is not magic, a medically significant percentage of those that undergo weight loss surgery successfully lose enough weight to control many of their obesity-related diseases.

Success of Adjustable Gastric Banding, or “Lap Band”

One such surgery is known as the Lap Band. The Lap-Band is a silicone band that is wrapped around the top portion of the stomach. It reduces the size of the stomach so that you feel full faster.

The Lap Band has long been a popular procedure. Unlike most other surgical options, such as gastric sleeve and gastric bypass, the Lap-Band is reversible. It does not require any permanent changes to your stomach, and it can be removed with little risk of long-term consequences.

But for many, the question is still about efficacy. How much weight loss can you expect after the Lap Band procedure?

Expected Weight Loss After LAP Band

It is important to note that all bariatric surgery outcomes still depend on the patient. Those that are unable to make the dietary and lifestyle changes necessary to promote weight loss will still struggle to lose weight. This is especially true of Lap Band, where those that overeat or fail to adjust to their band may be at risk for pouch stretching. Pouch stretching increases hunger and allows more food to sit in the stomach.

However, most individuals that undergo Lap Band surgery do see positive results to their weight loss efforts. How much depends on the individual but we can report an average expected weight loss based on science. The following are several studies, along with their reported average weight loss after LapBand:

  • 52% Excess Weight Loss
    One study, conducted in 2002 in Melbourne, Australia, followed over 700 Lap Band patients over a period of 6 years. They found that 2 years after surgery, patients had lost 52% of their excess body weight. At four years, that number increased modestly to 54%, and at six years that number increased against slightly to 57% of excess weight loss, although the sample size was much smaller.
  • BMI Lowered by 29%
    Also in 2002, another study in Brussels followed a similar number of patients for a minimum of 4 years. While they did not specific track excess weight loss, they did track BMI. The average BMI before their Lap Band surgery was 42. The average BMI several years after their Lap Band surgery was 30, which represents a decrease of 29%. BMI under 40 is no longer considered to be morbidly obese.
  • 49% Excess Weight Loss
    Meta-Analyses are highly regarded for their accuracy. In 2009, Baystate Medical Center in Massachusetts performed a meta-analysis of over 7,000 patients. They found that the average weight loss for those that underwent the adjustable gastric band was approximately 49% after a minimum of three years.
  • All of these studies support the most common basic estimate given by bariatric surgeons of roughly 50% excess weight loss for those that continue to use the adjustable gastric band.

Lap Band Weight Loss Compared to Other Bariatric Surgeries

50% excess weight loss is considered significant and can help reduce or cure many obesity-related diseases. But the question is not just how much weight you can expect to lose. It is also how it compares to other procedures. Although there are several experimental weight loss procedures, there are three main alternatives to Lap Band: Gastric Bypass Surgery, Gastric Sleeve Surgery, and Gastric Balloon.

  • Lap Band vs. Gastric Bypass
    According to the same meta-analysis, gastric bypass provides superior weight loss to gastric balloon. At follow-up, those that underweight gastric bypass experienced a 62% reduction in excess weight, compared to a 49% reduction in Lap band patients.
  • Lap Band vs. Gastric Sleeve
    Several studies have compared gastric sleeve to the Lap band. One study found that the average gastric sleeve procedure produced 60% excess weight loss, compared to Lap Band which produced 39% in the study. Although most studies show a higher rate of Lap Band weight loss, many studies support the 60% excess weight loss percentage (EWS%) of gastric sleeve surgery.
  • Lap Band vs. Gastric Balloon
    The Intragastric Balloon is one of the only procedures that is also reversible. It is relatively new to the United States but has been FDA approved for weight loss. Unlike the Lap Band, the gastric balloon must be removed after 6 months.

Many individuals use the gastric balloon to prepare for the Lap Band and potentially improve the safety of the surgery. Because the gastric balloon is a temporary procedure, results may not be permanent, but EWS% was 26% in one study. The gastric balloon may be considered a temporary option to lose weight before surgery but does not compare to Lap-Band, gastric sleeve, or gastric bypass in total weight loss.

Lap Band Weight Loss Results

One of the challenges in assessing Lap Band results is including or excluding patients that have their bands removed. It is estimated that as many as 25% to 50% of Lap-Band patients have their Lap-Bands either removed or replaced with a different form of bariatric surgery. Nevertheless, the 50% baseline for those that continue to follow post-surgical guidelines and do not have their Lap-Bands removed is considered a high enough percentage to help reduce chronic obesity-related diseases.

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