Background: The Lap Band system procedure is currently the most common bariatric surgical procedure worldwide. This is an interim report of the experience of the 27 Italian centers participating in the national collaborative study group for Lap Band (GILB).
Methods: An electronic database was specifically created. It was mailed and e-mailed to all of the surgeons now performing the laparoscopic gastric banding operation in Italy.
Results: Beginning in January 1996, 1893 patients were recruited for the study. There were 1534 women and 359 men with a mean body mass index (BMI) of (range 30.4-83.6) and a mean age of 37.8 +/- 10.9 years (range; 17-74). The mortality rate has been 0.53% (n = 10), mainly due to cardiovascular complications (myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism). The laparotomic conversion rate has been 3.1% (59/1893) and was higher in superobese patients (BMI>50) than in to morbidly obese patients (BMI <50) (p <0.05). Postoperative complications occurred in 193 patients (10.2%), including tube port failure (n = 79; 40.9%), gastric pouch dilation (GPD) (n = 93; 48.9%), and gastric erosion (n = 21, 10.8%). Most GPD (65.5%) occurred during the first 50 patients treated at each center. The incidence of GPD decreased as the surgeons acquired more experience. Surgery for complications was often performed by laparoscopic access, rarely via laparotomy. No death was recorded as a consequence of surgery to treat complications. Weight loss has been evaluated at the following intervals: 6, 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, and 72 months, with BMI 37.9, 33.7, 34.8, 34.1, 32.7, 34.8, and 32.
Conclusions: The Lap Band system procedure has a very low mortality rate and a low morbidity rate and it yields satisfactory weight loss. Surgery for complications can be performed safely via laparoscopic access.