By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Governor Chris Christie underwent LAP-BAND surgery in February. It’s a less invasive stomach surgery to help obese people lose weight. Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl is On Your Side with more on the procedure.

About 160,000 stomach reducing procedures are performed a year. Gastric bypass is the most complicated surgery with the best results. Banding is less invasive with slower results, and there can be complications.

A LAP-BAND is placed around the top of the stomach, restricting how much food can be consumed.

“I was always hungry before, with the lap band, it cut my appetite in half,” said George Oronzio, who got a LAP-BAND five years ago.

Oronzio weighed 323 pounds before losing 95 pounds in four months, though most LAP-BAND patients don’t lose so much so fast.

George showed off a 52-inch gun belt that he used to wear when he worked for the Sheriff’s Department, before he lost all the weight.

“I got my life back. I was on insulin twice a day. I’m no longer on insulin, most of my medications have all been reduced,” said George.

“Most of the studies show that the average amount of the excess weight loss is approximately 45 to 55 percent over three to five years,” said Dr. Leon Katz, Medical Director of the Bariatric Surgery Program at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, and George’s surgeon.

Dr. Katz says the LAP-BAND is a less invasive and reversible alternative to gastric bypass surgery. The adjustable ring, which is inserted with laparoscopic surgery, is wrapped around the stomach and inflated, reducing the size of the stomach.

“So essentially, the stomach volume is reduced by 95 percent,” Dr. Katz explained.

People with the LAP-BAND have to pay careful attention to what they eat; otherwise, they experience nausea and vomiting.

“It’s not a magic bullet. You still have to be compliant,” said George.

Complications can include the band eroding, infections and nutritional deficiencies, but the band can be removed and adjusted.

There’s also a third weight loss option called Gastric Sleeve. That’s becoming more popular because the results are generally better than from a band.

For more on Crozer-Keystone’s Comprehensive Bariatric Surgery Program, visit:

For more on the LAP-BAND, visit:

Stephanie Stahl