Once you have been referred to a bariatric surgeon, what happens next depends a great deal on his or her pre-surgical requirements. I had my band placed in February 2010...originally, I lost about 75 pounds, and felt absolutely great. Unfortunately, I developed a complication with my esophagus, requiring the band to be unfilled...and I've definitely had some weight regain since then. Right now, I am battling breast cancer, and my surgeon has deferred refilling my band until after I finish active treatment.
My presurgical journey took about a year. My insurance company required 6 months of medically-monitored dieting prior to approving the surgery, and my surgeon required a host of other tests: Sleep studies (to evaluate for sleep apnea), upper GI, colonoscopy, full cardiology workup, full pulmonary workup, nutritional counseling, and a psychological evaluation. Not all surgeons ask for all that. It would be preferable, if at all possible, for you to find a hospital or facility that is designated as a Bariatric Center of Excellence.
Someone else said that a band is only a tool, and they are quite right. It is a very difficult journey, challenging both physically and emotionally. If you don't address what is in your psychological makeup that led you to being chronically obese in the first place, you have a high probability of failure, even with the band.
All that being said, I wish you all the best -