Dr. Johnell describes how the REALIZE® band and LAP-BAND® bariatric procedures vary. Dr. Johnell is an advanced laparoscopic bariatric surgeon at the Banner North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, Colorado.
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Realize Surgery vs. Lap Band Surgery The first thing I tell patients when they ask me what’s the difference between a LAP-BAND and a REALIZE Band is that the similarities far outweigh the differences. I tell them that whatever operation, whatever band they pick they do not make a wrong choice. The LAP-BAND was the first one that was initially FDA-approved in this country in 2001. Many patients prefer the band has been around the longest and has proven itself with years of use in this country. Other patients are interested in the REALIZE Band because it’s the newest band that has come out and became FDA-approved two years ago. As I said, the similarities outweigh the differences by a large degree. Both bands are placed in the same location. The adjustments are the same for both the bands, the diets are the same postoperatively and essentially they work in exactly the same manner. After I tell them that they can’t make a wrong choice between the two bands I do tell them some of the differences between the two bands when I am pressed to do so. The LAP-BAND port is a little higher profile than the REALIZE Band port. A lot of patients like the REALIZE Band port because it is thinner and so may not be as noticeable to the patients but in reality that doesn’t end up being a problem post-operatively. Another thing is that the bands now-a-days are very different from the bands from 6, 7, 8 years ago. The LAP-BAND over the years has made a number of improvements. They started off being high-pressure, low-volume bands. Over the years the LAP-BAND company has improved its product by producing a lower-pressure, higher-volume system that has been determined to be not only safer with fewer problems but more comfortable to the patients in terms of tolerating foods and foods that are a little bit more difficult to eat such as breads and meats.

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