Surgical control of morbid obesity should benefit from a minimally invasive approach and the ability to adjust the degree of gastric restriction.


The Lap-Band adjustable gastric banding system was evaluated prospectively in a consecutive series of 302 patients, and data on perioperative outcome and weight loss pattern at up to 4 years of follow-up are presented. Some 302 patients (89 per cent women; mean age 39 years, mean weight 124 kg) were entered into the study. Laparoscopic placement was used in 277 patients. Previous gastric stapling surgery was the principal reason for an elective open approach.


The incidence of significant early complications was 4 per cent and included two perforations of the stomach after open placement. The mean length of stay after laparoscopic placement was 3·9 days and only one complication (infected reservoir site) occurred in these patients. The principal late complication of prolapse of the stomach through the band occurred in 27 patients (9 per cent). Significant modification of technique and patient care has enabled reduction of this complication in the latter part of the series. Mean(s.d.) excess weight loss was 51·0(17) per cent at 12 months (n = 120), 58·3 (20) per cent at 24 months (n = 43), 61·6(2) per cent at 36 months (n = 25) and 68·2(21) per cent at 48 months (n = 12).


The Lap-Band is an effective method for achieving good weight loss in the morbidly obese at up to 4 years of follow-up. Laparoscopic placement has been associated with a short length of stay and a low frequency of complications. The ability to adjust the setting of the device to achieve different degrees of gastric restriction has enabled progressive weight loss throughout the period of study. © 1999 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd