Date: 4/26/2010

Community Hospital offers New Hope to Those who Need Help Losing Weight

Lap-Band is a new device that helps patients gradually lose and control weight by reducing the amount of food the stomach is able to hold at one time, says Paul Stanish, M.D., FACS, general surgeon on staff at Community Hospital in Munster.

If you are one of some 400 million people who needs to lose weight and have desperately tried to lose excess pounds repeatedly in the past without success, there is new hope from a minimally-invasive procedure being offered at Community Hospital in Munster. Lap-Band® AP Adjustable Gastric Banding System is a tool that can jumpstart successful weight loss and ultimately change the quality of life.

Lap-Band® AP Adjustable Gastric Banding System is the latest FDA approved technology that helps you gradually lose and control your weight by reducing the amount of food your stomach is able to hold at one time. It’s a safe, minimally-invasive laparoscopic procedure that can be performed on an outpatient basis with small incisions, virtually no bleeding and quick recovery time.

“Patients look to Community Hospital for the high quality care it provides, for the expertise of its doctors and staff and its advanced technology,” said Donald P. Fesko, CEO of Community Hospital. “We’re pleased to offer the Lap-Band bariatric procedure to save time for our patients by making it available on an outpatient basis, close to home.”

An adjustable gastric band, also known as a Lap-Band, is an inflatable silicone device that is positioned around the topmost portion of the stomach during a laparoscopic outpatient procedure to treat obesity. The band creates a smaller stomach opening and pouch, which limits the amount of food that can be consumed at one time and increases the time it takes for the stomach to empty.

“Some people are depressed from not being able to lose weight, even after three to six months of physician supervised weight loss — through medications and dieting,” said Paul Stanish, M.D., FACS, general surgeon on staff at Community Hospital in Munster. “But, after the Lap-Band® procedure, they see the world in a whole new light. When our patients say ‘I no longer have diabetes; I no longer have high blood pressure; I used to be on 10 medications; you’ve changed my life’ — you know it has significant impact, and it’s very rewarding.”

During the procedure, which takes a little more than one hour, the Lap-Band and connecting port are positioned through five, small incisions in the abdomen. First, the inflatable Lap-Band is placed at the top of the stomach by the surgeon using special long instruments and four small incisions. Then, the filling port is placed in the upper left quadrant of the belly through a larger, two-inch incision. Most patients go home a few hours after the procedure, but those with sleep apnea are generally kept overnight for observation.

After a six-week recovery period allowing any swelling to subside, a saline solution is introduced through the port which inflates the Lap-Band pocket liner and tightens or adjusts the opening at the top of the stomach. There is an average of four “adjustments” per year.

“We provide coaching on eating habits and exercise, and patients who take our advice and use the band the right way, do very, very well,” Stanish says. Patients with a band who need to lose 100 lbs. or more during the first year, on average, lose about 60 percent of their excess weight. Those who follow the program guidelines are likely to do better.

If a patient comes in and they’re eating more than one cup of food per meal; they’re not staying full for a very long period of time and they’re hungry all the time; then we know it’s time for an adjustment, he said. Or, if a patient comes in and says they can’t swallow any solid food or are not sleeping at night because of acid reflux; then we know the band is too tight and we need to take a bit of the saline out.

Not everyone who is overweight is necessarily a candidate for the device, however. National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines, based upon Body Mass Index or BMI, are taken into consideration when deciding who is a potential patient for this type of weight-loss surgery. The Body Mass Index or BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both adult men and women. Patients who have a BMI greater than 40 or, a BMI of 35 and higher with other existing conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, joint conditions and/or reflux disease meet the NIH guidelines.

As with any other surgical procedure, complications such as bleeding or infection can occur. Several months after placement, if the band should move out of position - either higher or lower on the stomach - there could be difficulty in eating and the band would need to be surgically repositioned. While it is intended to be a long-term treatment, the Lap-Band and its connecting port can be removed at any time.

For more information about new devices and surgical techniques offered by the hospitals of Community Healthcare System, visit our web site at To find a physician who performs the Lap-Band procedure at the hospitals of Community Healthcare System, call 219-836-3477 or toll-free 1-866-836-3477.