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Dispelling the top Lap-Band® System myths

January 2, 2020

By now, you’ve probably completed some research on several bariatric weight-loss procedures. Of course, you’ve probably run across a few myths about Lap-Band®. It’s time to set the record straight and find out the truth.

Myth #1: The band doesn’t work

When compared to Gastric Bypass surgery, there’s the common misconception that the Lap-Band doesn’t work as well. Weight loss may be more gradual with the band than with Gastric Bypass, but it is still effective and much safer. Recent improvements in the surgical technique and aftercare have improved results. Some studies even show that the Lap-Band is more successful than Gastric Bypass after five years.

Myth #2: Weight loss isn’t long-term

Studies of participants up to 20 years after surgery show that weight loss is both substantial and long-term. This is a substantial difference between a medical weight-loss program, which doesn’t show durable results beyond 2 years.

Myth #3: Reoperations are needed

In a study, reoperations were common in all types of bariatric surgery. With improved band and surgical techniques, band reoperation has become far less common. A new technique means that there is less post-operative pain and easier band adjustments. Outcomes are far better.

Myth #4: Removal rates are high

In a December 2018 Dixon study, removal rates were only 8.74% (95% CI; 6.6% – 10.9%). The improved Lap-Band and surgical techniques have greatly reduced removal rates.

Myth #5: The port will set off metal detectors

Airport detectors vary, but typically, the port under the skin that administers the saline solution to the band is not likely to set off airport metal detectors during the first walk-through. If a patient is also wearing other metal, the combination may set it off. The port will be picked up more often than not when a secondary screening with a wand is completed. The port or band is also not an issue during an MRI test.

Myth #7: The band is filled with air

The band is adjusted using a sterile saline solution.

If you have any further questions about the Lap-Band Procedure, call 1-800-LAPBAND and talk to a specialist.


  • “Long-Term Outcomes After Bariatric Surgery: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Weight Loss at 10 or More Years for All Bariatric Procedures and a Single-Centre Review of 20-Year Outcomes After Adjustable Gastric Banding” by Paul E. O’Brien, Annemarie Hindle, Leah Brennan, Stewart Skinner, Paul Burton, et al.
  • Dixon JB, Eaton LL, Currry T, et. al. “Health Outcomes and Explant Rates After Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding: A Phase 4, Multicenter Study Over 5 Years.” Obesity (2018) 26, 45-52.

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Important Lap-Band® System Safety Information

The Lap-Band System is indicated for weight reduction for patients with obesity, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 40 kg/m2 or a BMI of at least 30 kg/m2 with one or more obesity-related comorbid conditions. It is indicated for use only in adult patients who have failed more conservative weight reduction alternatives, such as supervised diet, exercise and behavior modification programs. Patients who elect to have this surgery must make the commitment to accept significant changes in their eating habits for the rest of their lives.

The Lap-Band System is not recommended for non-adult patients (patients under 18 years of age), patients with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or increase the risk of poor results, who are unwilling or unable to comply with the required dietary restrictions, or who currently are or may be pregnant.

The Lap-Band System is a long-term implant. Explant and replacement surgery may be required. Patients who become pregnant or severely ill, or who require more extensive nutrition may require deflation of their bands. Anti-inflammatory agents, such as aspirin, should be used with caution and may contribute to an increased risk of band erosion.

Placement of the Lap-Band System is major surgery and, as with any surgery, death can occur. Possible complications include the risks associated with the medications and methods used during surgery, the risks associated with any surgical procedure, and the patient’s ability to tolerate a foreign object implanted in the body. Most common related adverse events include: Band slippage, pouch dilation, stoma obstruction, gastroesophageal reflux, esophageal dilation, cholelithiasis, incisional infection, abdominal pain, gastroenteritis, or nausea and vomiting may occur. Reoperation may be required. Rapid weight loss may result in complications that may require additional surgery. Deflation of the band may alleviate excessively rapid weight loss or esophageal dilation.

Important: For full safety information please click here or talk with your doctor.