How the Lap Band Operation Works*
The Lap Band operation works by restricting the amount of food that can be eaten at a single meal, while also producing a feeling of fullness that lasts in between meals.* The band is a silastic cuff that fits around the upper stomach producing a small upper gastric pouch. Like the Gastric Bypass the upper pouch varies somewhere between 15 and 30 ccs in size. Once the band it tightened it will only hold a few ounces of solid food at a meal. Food filling and distending the small upper gastric pouch produces a sensation of being full.*
In actuality, the Lap Band does not control the size of the upper gastric pouch – the pouch size is fixed. The Lap Band only controls the rate of emptying of that pouch. By restricting the passage of food out of the pouch the LapBand prolongs the feeling of fullness. This is called INTRAMEAL SATIETY and is the key to making the Lap Band surgery effective.*
Of course, the other variable that has an impact on function of the Lap Band is the consistency of the food that fills the pouch. SOLID food achieves the best result because it effectively fills the pouch and slowly passes on to the distal stomach. Soft foods and liquids are less likely to achieve a good effect because they empty from the pouch quickly and cannot produce prolonged satiety.
A guideline for effective eating with the Lap Band would include the following:
- Meals should consist of solid food, preferably both low in fat and sugars.
- Food should be eaten slowly, with attention to the impending feeling of fullness so as not to overstuff the pouch.
- Liquids with calories such as juice, whole milk and soups should be avoided. They contain concentrated calories and do not distend the pouch or produce a feeling of fullness. The Lap Band does not work with liquid calories.
- Liquids should be low calorie or no calorie.
- Liquids should be consumed prior to eating any solid food and not taken again for an hour after the meal.