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Q.1 Availability in the US?
Q.2 Cost & Location?
Q.3 Up-front cost?
Q.4 Health insurance?
Q.5 Facilities, surgeons, staff, & equipment?
Q.6 Difference bet. LAP-BAND & Swedish Band?
Q.7 Qualification for the surgery?
Q.8 Compatibility with past gallbladder surgery?
Q.9 Can be done with gallbladder surgery?
Q.10 Can be done with other abdominal surgery?
Q.11 Compatibility with intestinal bypass surgery?
Q.12 The surgery with medication allergy?
Q.13 With pregnancy?
Q.14 Pre-op exams?
Q.15 Additional exams to pre-op work?
Q.16 Hospitalization?
Q.17 Open incision?
Q.18 What is the band inflated with?
Q.19 Silicone band safety?
Q.20 Long-term follow-up care?
Q.21 LAP-BAND adjustment?
Q.22 LAP-BAND reversibility?
Q.23 After the surgery?
Q.24 Average weight loss?
Q.25 Weight gain after the surgery?
Q.26 Surgery scar?
Q.27 Surgery risks?
Q.28 Waiting list?
Q.29 How do I begin?

Q.1  Is the LAP-BAND surgical procedure available in the US?
A.  The LAP-BAND surgical procedure has not yet been approved in the USA. Clinical trials monitored by the FDA are being done in selected hospitals around the country on a limited number of patients. Our team of surgeons has been asked to provide case documentation in order to help accelerate approval of the surgical procedure. To participate, one should contact BioEnterics Corporation,

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Q.2  How much does this procedure cost, and where can I have it done?
A.  Total costs for the LAP-BAND surgical procedure are competitive with those in the US. Costs vary for the different locations and can be requested via our website at The costs include: hospital stay, surgeon fees, staff and facilities, etc. You are responsible for your own air or ground travel. We pick you up at the airport location and provide free transportation to and from the hospital at our foreign locations in Monterey, Mexico; Lugano, Switzerland; Noale, Italy; and in Brussels, Belgium.
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Q.3  What are the costs needed up front?
A.  None, except in the case of pre-op testing. In the USA, these exams can cost up to $1000 or more depending on how and where they are done.
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Q.4  Does health insurance cover this procedure?
A.  Since the procedure is performed outside the USA, I suggest that you contact your healthcare insurance provider to find out if the costs would be covered under your plan.
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Q.5  How do you rate your hospital facilities, surgeons, staff, and medical equipment?
A.  All of our hospitals and clinics in our locations are modern up-to-date medical facilities providing quality care and equipment. Moreover all of our surgeons are fluent in English.
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Q.6  What is the difference between the LAP-BAND and the Swedish Band?
A.  From a strictly scientific point of view, both the LAP-BAND and the Swedish Band function in the same manner. From a surgical point of view, if the patient wishes, we can apply either one since the costs are practically the same. Obviously, our preference is the LAP-BAND for a number of reasons:
1). Because it is the type of prosthesis that will be used in the USA, as soon as the investigative trials are completed by the FDA. Moreover, our group has been asked to participate. The Swedish Band will never be utilized in the USA.
2). Because even if a non-expert in the field were to examine the two bands, they would note differences in the design, as well as the quality of silicone in favor of the LAP-BAND.
3). Behind the reputation of the LAP-BAND is a solid multi-national American company, BioEnterics.
4). In Europe, more than 30,000 LAP-BAND procedures have been done. while the Swedish Band totals a few thousand.
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Q.7  What information is required to qualify as a candidate for LAP-BAND surgery?
A.  You must be between the ages of 18 and 55, and at least 100 pounds overweight, or a Body Mass Index (BMI) of between 35 and 40+ to be eligible for this surgery (or a BMI of 35 with significant co-morbidity). You should be in reasonably good health and your health information should include any current or past medical problems. Patients with severe and irreversible medical problems are considered ineligible for this surgical procedure.
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Q.8  Can I have this procedure done having had prior gallbladder surgery?
A.  Yes, providing pre-op tests do not reveal any other problems. In other cases, the patient has an Ultrasound done to determine If they have developed gallstones, in that case the gallbladder is removed during surgery.
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Q.9  If I need gallbladder surgery, can the band be applied at the same time?
A.  Yes. Both surgical procedures can be done at the same time, at no additional cost.
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Q.10  If I need other abdominal surgery (Hiatal Hernia, Tubal Ligation, Ovarian Cyst, etc.), can the band be applied at the same time?
A.  Yes. Any one of these surgical procedures can be done at the same time, at no additional cost.
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Q.11  When I was younger, I had intestinal bypass surgery. Would I be a candidate?
A.  Yes, the LAP-BAND can be applied, however it is important to know much more about the patient's clinical history.
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Q.12  If I am allergic to medication, does this affect my eligibility?
A.  Generally, being allergic to medication is not contra-indicative to surgery. But we should know what allergy it is.
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Q.13  Are there complications if you ever plan on getting pregnant?
A.  No, in fact surgery in many cases can increase your chances of becoming pregnant.
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Q.14  What pre-op exams do I need, and where can I have them done?
A.  Pre-op exams are required before any surgery is scheduled. These tests include: Upper G.I. Series, EKG, Chest X-Ray, Gallbladder UltraSound, Blood & Urine Analysis and are required before any surgery can be scheduled. These tests can be done by a lab or local hospital preferably through your doctor in your area. In some instances, exams can also be done at one of our ILOST hospital locations abroad prior to surgery. Note that costs for tests done at our hospitals abroad are lower compared to those in the US.
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Q.15  If I have pre-op work done in my state, are there additional exams needed at the location abroad?
A.  Usually not. Once a patient is approved for surgery there should be no further need for exams at our location abroad. In some cases, the surgeon may require an additional blood test or urine analysis prior to surgery.
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Q.16  How many days in the hospital, and how much down from work is necessary?
A.  The LAP-BAND operation is performed under a general anesthetic and takes about 75 minutes. Because it is a mini-invasive surgical procedure, the patient normally spends a total of 3 days in the hospital, and can generally resume their activities and be back at work within one week if need be.
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Q.17  If while placing the band, the need to proceed to an open incision presents itself, can this be accomplished?
A.  Yes.
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Q.18  What is the band inflated with?
A.  Once in position, an adjustment is done by inflating or deflating the band with a sterile saline solution through the access port located just below the skin.
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Q.19  How safe is silicone given the breast implants track record?
A.  A silicone gel is used in breast implants while in this case the silicone band is rigid, therefore preventing silicone particles from entering the blood stream. However, silicone has not been shown to be dangerous.
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Q.20  What about long-term follow-up care or adjustments in my home state?
A.  This a very important part of the success of this procedure. Regular follow-up visits with your doctor must be maintained to examine weight loss progress, or for any adjustments to the band that may be necessary. We are establishing a network of physicians around the USA to assist us in this phase of the program. If you do not have a doctor who does this, contact us and we can offer assistance in finding a physician in your area. You must organize who and where your follow-up will be done before you have surgery.
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Q.21  People have experienced stretching of the gastroplasty pouch, is this common with the LAP-BAND?
A.  With the LAP-BAND, follow-up care is extremely important to monitor the band's placement and position. Adjustments may be required along the way to insure proper band functionality.
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Q.22  Is the LAP-BAND reversible? Is it a life-long implant or should it be removed after time?
A.  The Lap-Band can be removed, however it is normally a life-long commitment that is intended to help keep weight off.
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Q.23  Can I expect post-operative problems with eating, or bowel movements?
A.  After surgery, you will have to learn new dietary habits. While this new eating pattern is being established, expect some episodes of vomiting. For up to three days after surgery in the hospital, only small amounts of clear liquids will be allowed. Solid foods will not be introduced until clear liquids and soft foods can be consumed. The progression to solids is slow and varies among patients. Initially, you begin with only eight teaspoons of food. Eating must be done slowly and stopped when you feel full. Only small portions three times a day are allowed. Eating too much at one sitting can cause vomiting.
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Q.24  What is the average monthly/yearly weight loss?
A.  Weight loss is difficult to project. After surgery, only by carefully following the new eating patterns and exercising daily, a patient can lose more than 30 kilos (about 65 lbs. in the first year). Compared to Gastric Bypass surgery the weight loss is about the same. The results vary for everyone.
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Q.25  Can I expect to gain weight after several years even with the LAP-BAND?
A.  The weight loss process is long and arduous, and only by rigorously following new dietary habits, and exercising regularly, will keep the weight off. If you are ready to make this commitment for yourself, the LAP-BAND can offer a way to shed that weight and get back to living a long and healthy life.
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Q.26  Is there any scarring after surgery?
A.  Since laparoscopic surgery is mini-invasive, there is minimal scarring. You will have 5 to 6 small incisions that usually heal quickly.
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Q.27  What are the risk factors in LAP-BAND surgery?
A.  Any gastric operation for obesity is major surgery and carries with it the risks that would go with any complex operation. Although the LAP-BAND procedure is minimally invasive surgery, it is not without its own risks. Infections can develop around the stomach band or at the site where the reservoir is placed under the skin. In such an event, a patient would be required to stay in the hospital a few extra days for the infection to clear. Bleeding or injury to the spleen, may require conversion to an open procedure. The access port or the band may leak and may need to be replaced. While the risk of dying during the operation is small (about 0.5 in 1000), there is a slight risk because of either a heart attack or a life-threatening blood clot passing into the lungs.
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Q.28  Is there a waiting list?
A.  No, but the whole process to surgery is done in stages and when all this is completed surgery can be scheduled.
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Q.29  How do I begin the process, and contact a surgeon?
A.  By answering the preliminary questions on our Contact Us web page.
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Q.29  Other locations to go and get information

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NOTICE:  All opinions expressed herein are the author's own.  None of this is to be construed as to being medical advice.

Copyright 2000 Wayne Smith. All rights reserved.  Revised: May 07, 2008 06:45 AM .   Vanity Counter: Hit Counter