Trace W. Curry, M.D.

REALIZE BAND/LAP-BAND® FAQ’s


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What is a single incision gastric band? Instead of using a tiny incision to retract the liver and then 4 incisions for operating ports, only one operating port incision is utilized.  In most cases, we can place the incision down in the belly-button so that once it heals, almost no scar is visible.  This is an advanced technique and is not yet offered by many gastric band surgeons.  It may not be applicable to all patients, depending on your BMI and prior surgeries.  Click here for a press release about the first single incision gastric band case in Cincinnati!

What is the difference between LAP BAND and REALIZE BAND?  Both of these operations are similar in what they achieve--they cause you to get full on a smaller amount of food by placing an adjustable/inflatable band at the top part of the stomach.  There are some subtle differences between the two but most studies show equivalent weight loss and similar complication rates. 

Click here for news about the first Realize-C band in Cincinnati!

Click here for news about the first Realize band in Cincinnati!

Is the LAP-BAND/REALIZE BAND reversible?     Yes, the band is reversible, but it should NOT be thought of as a temporary fix!  We want patients to make a commitment to work with their band forever. 

Is the band safe during pregnancy?     Yes, the band is perfectly safe. It can be "temporarily" reversed by simply emptying the saline out.  We can usually control how much weight you gain during a pregnancy by gradually unfilling it.

How much weight should I expect to lose?     We set a target for band patients to lose 75% of their excess body weight and we have had many patients achieve this goal.  Most studies show about 60% excess body weight in the long-run.

How fast does the weight come off?     Weight loss is much slower with the band than with gastric bypass.  Patients who are following the program usually lose 1-2 lbs per week.

How many band adjustments will I need?     Most patients need 6-8 adjustments in the first year after surgery. 

Will I continue to get adjustments forever?     The band is permeable like a helium balloon, so it will harmlessly leak a very small amount of saline at a very low rate.  Most patients will need a yearly adjustment for the rest of their life.

Why can't I have my band taken out when I lose all my weight?     Theoretically you could, however patients who have their bands taken out invariably gain weight, as they lose the appetite and portion control that comes with being banded.

What kind of diet will I have to follow after my band?     You will have the opportunity to meet with one of our banded registered dietitians, who will fully educate you on this.  The basic philosophy is a high-protein, low-carb diet (which is also very heart healthy!)

Will I have to exercise?     Yes!  The band is a very powerful tool to help you lose weight, but it is not magic.  Exercise is mandatory if you want to be successful.  We have a comprehensive exercise center for our patients called The Fast Track Metabolic Weight Loss Center!

Can I get a low profile port?     Yes.  We always try to use low profile ports unless we think it will be too difficult to access in higher BMI patients.  The REALIZE BAND port comes in only one size.

Will I still have excess skin if I lose weight more slowly?     Losing weight in a slower, more controlled manner does not always eliminate problems with excess skin.  There are many factors involved here:  how much weight you lose, how old you are, etc.  Whether you end up having excess skin or not, this is a long-term problem that can be managed down the road.  It is much healthier to have some excess skin than to be overweight and suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure!

I am from out of town and want to have surgery there, how does that work?     We operate on lots of out-of-towners, and we usually try to do everything we can over the phone - we can even do your nutrition class and/or initial consult via web conferencing in some cases.  Whenever we can we try to arrange it so that you only have to make one trip to town for your surgery.  Afterwards you can take advantage of our Saturday clinics for your band adjustments.

Another surgeon placed my band and now it has slipped, what do I do?    We have become a referral center for patients with band related complications.  Dr. Curry and his team have cared for patients with complications from all over the country.  Although band-related complications are uncommon, if you have one you want the surgeon and team with the most experience to fix it!

Another surgeon placed my band and I have had poor weight loss, what do I do?    The failure rate for the LAP-BAND in some practices who do not do many bands is much higher than ours, therefore many patients are out there looking for a solution.  For patients who have failed to lose weight with the LAP-BAND and are looking for a different surgical option, we recommend removal of the band and conversion to a vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG). 

Do you do band-over-bypass?  We offer band-over-bypass only to patients who had their original bypass done laparoscopically.