I'm new to this forum, but thought I would chime in on this discussion, as I'm having lap-band surgery in a few days time.
There is a lots of misinformation & lack of understanding about lap-banding here, & some of the responses on this thread were actually quite hurtful.
Lap banding is NOT a quick fix, & it is NOT just for those 'with no willpower to eat smaller meals & exercise' The band is only a tool, & it is still up to the patient to exercise, eat correctly, & make the most of that tool. The idea is that you will naturally eat smaller meals, & most importantly, feel NO HUNGER. There are rules to follow, & if you do so, you will lose the weight & NOT REGAIN IT.
A lap band is not handed out freely by surgeons, you MUST have a BMI of over 35, or have other co-morbidities such as hypertension or diabetes, & you MUST have already tried other methods of weightloss.
Having a Gastric lap band is not open surgery. 'Lap' is short for laparoscopic (keyhole). It's a very similar operation to gallbladder surgery, & is only an overnight stay. It carries a very small risk, as does any surgery requiring anaesthetic.
A lap band is fully adjustable. The lap band is placed around the upper stomach to create a small pouch. There is an inflatable balloon around the inner surface of the band, attached to a small port under the skin via tubing. Saline is very easily & simply injected or removed via the port. If a patient becomes pregnant, has reached goal weight or needs to eat more for some reason, the fill is removed or decreased. If the patient is overeating or becoming hungry, fill (saline) is added to increase restriction.
I have tonnes of willpower. (OT, but I am now celebrating over 3 months smoke-free after a heavy 24y year habit) I have been yo-yo dieting for most of my life. I have joined gyms, purchased home fitness, danced, walked & swam. I have tried many diets, & lost lots of weight several times, only to regain it all, plus more. It took a lot of willpower to do 6 months of meal replacement drinks (25kg lost), but the problem is, like most diets, it is not sustainable in the long term. I hated the idea that I would have to be on a permanent diet for the rest of my life in order to keep the weight off.
I know that *enforced* small meals, without me having to weigh foods, go hungry & always be 'on' (or off) a diet.
According to the US National Institute of Health, the maximum sustainable weight loss by ANY diet, exercise or behavioural modification programme is 12 kg. If you are morbidly obese, surgery is the only long-term solution. I feel really confident of this being my last weightloss decision. It was well-though out & researched, but I sure don't think it was a 'desperate' decision.
I am also in contact with lots of people online who have had lap band surgery, & though there are trials & a learning process, there is not one regret, & lots of kg are being shed!
I hope I've created a bit more understanding about lap banding. If you enjoy reading, there is a really entertaining & interesting article about being overweight here: http://www.georgefielding.com.au/pubs/you_rule.htm
Long, but worth the read. It was written by a weightloss surgeon who is himself a lap band patient. The rest of the site has more info about lap banding, before & after pics etc.
Good luck to you all on your weight losses