The LAP-Band versus the REALIZE Band

When it comes to gastric banding surgery in the united states, there are two primary choices that you can select from that have been approved and are in use today. These choices are the LAP-band created by Allergan and the REALIZE Band created by Ethicon Endo-surgery (a division of Johnson & Johnson). Both of these options are gastric banding solutions that achieve weight loss by placing a band around a portion of the stomach and neither involves the cutting or restructuring of the stomach. Both make use of a saline filled silicone tube that can be adjusted by your doctor to tighten or loosen the restriction on your stomach.

LAP-Band In Detail

The LAP-Band system was the first FDA approved gastric banding device for use in the United States. More people have chosen the LAP-Band than any other gastric banding option. It has the most long term data in terms of success and know complications.

  • The LAP-Band was the first of the two to be developed and approved for u
    se in the United States.
  • Clinical trials began in 1995 and it was approved by the FDA in 2001.
  • Performed Laparoscopically
  • Average of 5-8 adjustments per year for first 2 years
  • 5 year results: 55% excess weight loss

REALIZE Band in Detail

Physically, the REALIZE Band is the widest of all gastric bands. Ethicon, who is the manufacturer of the REALIZE Band, feels this feature helps improve hunger control when compared to other gastric bands. It is a high volume (9ml total capacity) and low pressure band. This allows for a patient to feel full with less chance of experiencing swallowing difficulties. The REALIZE Band is known to be very safe and durable.

  • The REALIZE band was actually developed first abroad in Sweden in 1985.
  • Clinical trials began in 2003 and it was approved by the FDA in 2007.
  • Performed Laparoscopically
  • Average of 4 adjustments for year 1 and 2 adjustments for years 2 and 3
  • 5 year results still unknown as data is still being collected
  • Short term results on par with LAP-Band data

The REALIZE Band also has some additional benefits that do appeal to many people. Their software program allows you to track your weight and enter daily food diaries to measure the calories, grams of protein, fats, and carbs that you are consuming. Some people have found this to be an attractive feature that leads them to ultimately choose the REALIZE Band.

Which is the right choice for me?

Comparing the two gastric banding options shows us that they are very similar in both method and results. The right choice will ultimately come down to you and your doctor and what the two of you feel most comfortable with and makes the most sense for each patients individual situtation.