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Weight-Loss Surgery

Lap Band Procedure

The latest improvement in bariatric surgery is the laparoscopic adjustable gastric band. This involves several small, about a quarterto halfinch, incisions in the abdomen. A silicon band is slipped inside and tied around the upper part of the stomach to create a small pouch. This pouch is, in a sense, the new stomach. When the patient eats, the pouch fills up rapidly to create a sensation of fullness. As the pouch slowly empties, the patient does not feel hungry for several hours. The band has a balloon on the inside that can be expanded to prolong the period of fullness. Adjustments can also be made to the tightness of the band to regulate the longterm degree of weight loss. Khaliah Ali, a daughter of Mohammad Ali, struggled with obesity most of her life. At one point, she reached 325 pounds, despite diet and exercise. She felt especially


“The band inserted in my stomach is my safety valve.I know now that no matter what I encounter, I will not face the danger of overeating. In fact, I can eat as I "please and still lose weight."
- a happy patient

embarrassed because of her renowned father and her supremely fit sister — also an accomplished boxer. Very pleased with her decision to have lapband surgery, she describes her experience in her 2007 book: Fighting Weight: How I Achieved Healthy Weight Loss with “Banding,” a New Procedure That Eliminates Hunger — Forever. Although not every patient is suitable for the lapband procedure, there are several advantages in comparison to the conventional stomachreduction surgeries:

  • No cutting or stapling of the stomach
  • The size of the pouch and its opening can be individually calibrated
  • The pouch can be adjusted after the initial surgery
  • The lapband is removable and the surgery fully reversible
  • The hospital stay is typically just 1 — 2 days, much shorter than regular stomachreduction surgery

Despite these clear benefits, the lapband procedure is still not common in the U.S.; most doctors continue to prefer the older types of stomach stapling, cutting, and rerouting — primarily because that is the way they were trained. You are more likely to get stateoftheart treatment in the newer medical centers in Thailand or Singapore. After lapband surgery, you can expect to lose about 2 pounds per week. For the first five weeks, you should stay on liquids and mashed foods to prevent the pouch from being stretched. After that, you are free to eat most foods, although some patients have complained that they do not digest meat well. The band can be loosened during pregnancy, to permit eating more, and then retightened after delivery.

Content taken from the book MEDICAL TOURISM TRAVEL GUIDE

Book cover Medical Tourism Travel Guide by Paul Gahlinger Sunrise River Press

The Medical Tourism Travel Guide is the essential guide for anyone considering a medical trip overseas. It tells you everything you need to know to get top-notch medical care in world-class medical facilities at a cost far less than treatment in the United States. The author, Dr. Paul Gahlinger, has personally visited a great number of the facilities described in this book, and here he shares information on hundreds of clinics, hospitals, and spas in about 50 countries, as well as important tips on how to travel, how to pay, how to prepare, what to do, and what to avoid.

With kind permission of Paul Gahlinger. For more information visit Sunrise River Press