The LAP-BAND® Device & How It Works

A true breakthrough in healthy, long-term weight loss.

The LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Banding System is the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved adjustable gastric band for use in weight reduction.  Used in more than 300,000 procedures worldwide, this simple, reversible, surgically implanted device has safely helped severely obese adults successfully achieve and maintain long-term weight loss.

What it is

The word “LAP-BAND” (trademarked by Allergan, Inc.) is a simple combination of two words: LAP (an abbreviation of the word “laparoscopic”), and BAND (sourced from the general descriptive term “gastric band”).  “LAP-BAND” denotes a description of a gastric band, inserted using laparoscopic techniques.

How it works

The LAP-BAND® System was developed to facilitate long-term weight loss and reduce the health risks associated with severe and morbid obesity.

  • Unlike gastric bypass, it does not involve stomach cutting, stapling or intestinal re-routing.
  • Using laparoscopic surgical techniques, the device is placed around the top portion of the patient’s stomach, creating a small pouch.
  • By reducing stomach capacity, the LAP-BAND® System can help achieve long-term weight loss by creating an earlier feeling of satiety.
  • The LAP-BAND® System is adjustable, which means that the inflatable band can be tightened or loosened to help the patient achieve a level of satiety while maintaining a healthy diet.
  • It is also reversible and can be removed at any time.

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The Band

The adjustable band of the LAP-BAND® System is a silicone elastomer hollow ring filled with saline and placed around the upper part of the stomach. This creates a new small stomach pouch, with the larger part of the stomach below the band. This way, the food storage area in the stomach is reduced. The pouch above the band can hold only a small amount of food.

The LAP-BAND® System also controls the stoma (stomach outlet) between the two parts of the stomach. The size of the opening between the two parts of the stomach controls the flow rate of the food from the upper to the lower part of the stomach. This lets you feel full sooner.  The feeling also lasts longer.  To change the size of the stoma, the inner surface of the band can be adjusted by adding or removing saline. This process is called inflating or deflating. Saline is a salty solution like other fluids in your body.


The band is connected by a tube to an access port placed beneath the skin during surgery. Later, Dr. Fore can control the amount of saline in the band by piercing the access port through the skin with a fine needle. If the band is too loose and weight loss too small, adding more saline can reduce the size of the stoma. If the band is too tight, then Dr. Fore will remove some saline. This too can be done without more surgery. Being able to adjust the band is a unique feature of the LAP-BAND® System and is a normal part of the follow-up. If adjusting the band does not help you lose weight the way you and your doctor want it to, or if the band is still too tight, another surgery may be needed. Band position on the stomach can be changed or the size of the upper stomach pouch can be reduced.

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