With Lap-band surgery, an adjustable silicone band is placed around the upper part of the stomach to create a stomach pouch that can hold only small amounts of food. Lap-band is a purely restrictive procedure.
In the graphic above, the lower, larger part of the stomach is located below the band. The outlet from the pouch is restricted by the band, which slows the emptying of the food and allows one to feel full sooner. Adjustment of the band is performed in the surgeon's office by injecting fluid into a small "port," a device implanted beneath the abdominal skin. (This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. Author James P Gray)
Application of the band is less invasive and doesn't involve stapling or cutting the stomach.
The band is adjustable, allowing your doctor to control the size of the pouch outlet.
If the band needs to be removed for any reason, the stomach usually returns to its original form.
The procedure is relatively new in the United States and its effectiveness still is being studied. However, it has been used extensively and with good results in Europe and Australia.
Insurance companies vary widely in the coverage they provide for this procedure.