Introduction to Gastric Banding
A gastric band is an adjustable band placed around the upper part of the stomach, to adjust the size of the opening.
What is Gastric Banding?
A Gastric band is an adjustable band placed around the upper part of the stomach, to adjust the size of the opening. Gastric banding is a surgery that is used for weight loss. The band reduces the size of the stomach, making you feel full faster, eat less and lose weight. Gastric banding leads to loss of about 50% excess weight and is considered to be the least invasive surgery. It is also a reversible procedure.
How is Gastric Banding performed?
Gastric banding is carried out under general anaesthetic where you will be put to sleep during the surgery. The surgeon makes a series of small incisions in the abdomen and uses a thin, flexible tube called laparoscope to place the band around the upper part of the stomach. The band is silicone so can be squeezed. A plastic tube that runs from the silicone band to a device just under the skin can also be inserted to tighten the band by injecting saline or to loosen it to reduce potential side effects. The surgery usually takes around an hour to complete.
How to prepare for Gastric Banding?
You should be referred to a specialist unit for an assessment before proceeding with any weight loss surgery. There are three phases to the assessment.
Physical assessment includes blood tests, an electrocardiograph (ECG), chest X-rays, spirometer and ultrasound scan.
Psychological assessment is used to determine whether you have any mental health conditions or if you have an realistic expectations of post-surgery life. Questions that you may be asked are how obesity is affecting your emotions, relationships with others and your daily activities. This is an important assessment to screen people with depression or an eating disorder where the surgery is delayed until the condition is under control.
For the final phase of the assessment, a dietitian will obtain a history of your existing diet and advising you on the nutritional changes you need to undergo after the surgery.
What happens after Gastric Banding?
Laparoscopic surgery is a less invasive surgery so it causes less pain afterwards and the recovery speed is faster. However, complications may arise after gastric banding surgery. Common problems include nausea, vomiting and wound infections. The risk of death due to this surgery is less than one in 3,000.
Gastric banding can achieve fantastic results. However, people who have had the surgery will need to commit to a healthier lifestyle by controlling diet and exercising regularly. In the first four weeks after the surgery, you will only be able to drink liquids and take puréed food. Solid foods could damage the band. As the weeks pass, you can start to take soft food, slowly progressing to more solid food. If you find it difficult to cope with the restricted amount of food in your everyday life, you can have the band removed.