Another Mercy First. When Less is Even More. Mercy Surgeon Pioneer Minimally Invasive Weight-Loss Surgery.

Rami E. Lutfi, MD
Medical Director


For more information on Mercy’s LAP-BAND Program, call 312-567-BAND(2263), or email

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For people considering weight-loss surgery, Mercy Hospital & Medical Center offers a groundbreaking option that brings a whole new meaning to minimally invasive.

LAP-BAND® is a kind of weight-loss surgery that uses a gastric band to reduce the size of the stomach. The minimally invasive surgery is usually performed through five small incisions, ranging from several millimeters to 1 inch. But at Mercy, Dr. Rami E. Lutfi is able to perform the surgery through a single half-inch incision in the belly button, leaving the patient with no visible scar. Dr. Lutfi, medical director of the Mercy Lap-BAND Program, is among the first surgeons in the nation to offer this single-incision surgery, known as LESS—Laparo-Endoscopic Single-Site Surgery.

“Minimally invasive surgery is the new standard our patients have come to expect and deserve,” Dr. Lutfi explains. “Since LESS requires only one incision, we expect that it will cause less pain and a quicker recovery, allowing people to return to their normal quality of life sooner.”

An option for all

The LESS LAP-BAND procedure is identical to traditional LAP-BAND surgery—it’s just performed through one incision. In both, an adjustable silicone band is placed around the upper part of the stomach to create a small stomach pouch. Because the pouch can only hold a small amount of food and food passes through the band into the lower part of the stomach more slowly, people feel full sooner and longer. Because there is no large incision and no stomach cutting, stapling or rerouting, LAP-BAND is considered the safest, least traumatic weight-loss surgery. Now, with LESS, recovery can be even faster and patients gain the cosmetic advantage of no visible scar.

Watch a video on YouTube of the LESS procedure (with Hiatal Hernia Repair), performed by Dr. Rami Lutfi, Medical Director of Mercy's Lap-Band program.

The future of medicine

Performing more LAP-BAND surgeries than any other hospital in Illinois, Mercy’s surgeons are experienced, knowledgeable and skilled in the latest techniques and approaches. Dr. Lutfi is a board-certified surgeon with fellowship training in minimally invasive weight-loss surgery and trains  surgeons from around the country in the LESS technique.

LESS is both a breakthrough for weight-loss surgery and the trend for surgery in general, Dr. Lutfi says. Already, he is using the same techniques and tools to perform gall bladder surgery, hiatial hernia repair and pancreatic surgery through a single incision. Moving from large, open incisions to a few small incisions to—now—a single incision for routine surgeries is a natural evolution, he says, and Mercy is at the forefront of this surgical movement.

“It used to be, the bigger the scar, the better the surgeon. But over time, we came to understand that minimally invasive was better, and returning patients to their normal routine faster and focusing on quality of life is the highest goal,” he says. “Now, we’re continually improving and enhancing surgeries to meet that goal. LESS is one of those techniques providing excellent cosmetic benefits, and the possibility of less pain and smoother recovery.”


Mercy’s LAP-BAND® Program offers a unique approach where patients receive counseling in nutrition, behavior modification and exercise physiology both before and after the procedure. Studies have shown that this approach leads to longer, healthier weight loss. LAP-BAND is typically recommended for people who are at least 80 pounds overweight. Learn more about Mercy’s LAP-BAND Program.