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The result is that after the procedure, a person with LAP-BAND experiences a state of satiety, feeling full through mechanisms that may are hormonal, mechanical and psychological. The procedure may trigger weight loss in patients in several different ways: by changing the body’s hormones, by direct pressure on the stomach, which signals the brain to eat less, as well as nerve-assisted mechanisms.
LAGB also has that belt-tightening effect: it produces weight loss through a restrictive mechanism, by making the stomach smaller and unable to hold as much in one sitting, and thereby limits the size of meals and amount of calories that can be consumed. As weight loss occurs, Dr. Sasse and his team can tighten the gastric band through an injection of saline through a small port inserted beneath the skin during the LAGB procedure. The saline makes the band thicker and therefore tighter, which allows patients to continue achieving satiety and weight loss over time.
The LAGB has significant advantages that have made it the procedure of choice in Australia and many countries in Europe. It has taken longer to catch on in the United States because it took longer to go through the FDA approval process. However, while the FDA was doing its job, surgeons in the U.S. continued to do theirs, changing and improving upon other surgical weight-loss techniques, most notably the LRYGB, Mini Gastric Bypass, and Sleeve procedures.
LAGB procedures are also reversible, an attractive feature when we consider the pace of change in a field that has seen numerous revolutions toward less invasive and more successful interventions.
Mortality risks for LAGB have generally ranged from 0 to 0.1 percent, lower than that of LRYGB, though experienced centers such as Dr. Sasse’s report LRYGB mortality rates of 0.1 to 0.2 percent.(About the same as a Cesarian section, another commonly performed procedure, and fraction of the annual risk of death for an obese person who chooses not to undergo weight-loss surgery.)
In 2007, more than 200,000 Americans underwent weight-loss operations, nearly all of them LAP-BAND® or gastric bypass procedures.