Considering Lap Band surgery? What you need to know

Lap-Band surgery is one of the more common ways obese people can quickly begin to shed pounds, but like any surgery, you need to know what to expect.

Patients can lose up to 60 to 80 percent of their excess weight in one to four years after Lap-Band surgery. However, up to a third can end up back at their pre-surgical weight seven to 10 years later according to a study by Dr. Carson Liu, a Santa Monica, CA-based surgeon and specialist in treating upper gastrointestinal medicine, including weight loss surgery.

 Dr. Liu’s study, which analyzed the medical records of over 600 Lap-Band patients, found that although education, support groups and dietary instruction are all important, frequent adjustments to the band are more critical for weight loss than any other component.

Generally, the optimal number of adjustments that yield maximal weight loss is about five adjustments the first year and 6-8 the second year, Dr. Liu said.

All it takes for an adjustment is a short office visit to have saline injected through a port under the skin to fill the band until optimal restriction has been achieved – neither so loose that food is not controlled, nor so tight that food is unable to move through the digestive system.

Dr. Liu pioneered a procedure that not only makes lap band adjustments easier, but as an added bonus makes lap bad surgery virtually painless. 

If a port flips during an adjustment, it can no longer be accessed with a needle from the outside, requiring a surgical procedure to reposition the port.  Dr. Liu’s procedure, in which a hernia mesh device is implanted on the back of the adjustment port preventing the port from flipping, is now used by 50% of bariatric surgeons nationally.

Weight loss with the Lap-Band System is typically more gradual than with some other weight loss surgeries. Tightening the band too fast or too much to try to speed up weight loss should be avoided. The stomach pouch and/or esophagus can become enlarged as a result. You need to learn how to use your band as a tool that can help you reduce the amount of food that you eat.

Like any surgery, selection of a qualified doctor is crucial, as infection is possible. The Band can erode into the stomach. This can happen right after surgery or years later, although this rarely happens.

Complications can cause reduced weight loss. They can also cause weight gain. Other complications can result that require more surgery to remove, reposition, or replace the band.  Some patients experience more nausea and vomiting than others.

Board certified in General Surgery, Dr. Liu specializes in treating upper gastrointestinal medical conditions, including weight loss surgery and GERD. Dr. Liu has performed over 3700 Bariatric Surgeries, and he is the first surgeon in Los Angeles to perform Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Roux en Y.

Presented at the international conference, ASMBS, Dr. Liu’s discovered that success with lap band is dependent on post-operative management of patients. 

This is important when deciding on a proper LAP-Band physician, Liu explained. One must ensure that the doctor is commited to making adjustments, a vital point when discussing the amount of effort required post-operatively by both the patient and third party payors.

Dr. Liu’s other specialties include incisionless surgery, the newest surgical option for treating chronic acid reflux, or GERD, gastroesophageal disease.  The procedure which is performed through the mouth, rather than through an abdominal incision, reconstructs the anti- reflux barrier to provide a solution to the anatomical root cause of GERD.

Dr. Liu is currently Medical Director of Bariatric surgery at OBand Centers and serving on faculty at Allergan.   Dr. Liu is also serving as Medical Director at Beverly Hills Sunset Surgery Center, where many episodes of “Dr. 90210″ are filmed.

For more information on Dr. Liu’s Acid Reflux Center visit:

For more information on Dr. Liu’s weight loss procedures visit:


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