Gastric band surgery is a common obesity treatment surgery for weight loss. The surgery involves the placement of an elastic, adjustable band around the top part of the stomach – creating a small pouch in the upper part of the stomach, while the bottom and larger part of the stomach sits below the band.
Gastric band surgery is recommended for obese people that deal with excessive weight problems and obesity-related health conditions. Gastric band surgery aims to reduce the capacity of the stomach; the upper pouch is filled with less food than a normal-sized stomach, leading to the feeling of being full sooner.
Gastric band surgery is considered bariatric surgery, however, unlike the other types of weight-loss procedures it is less invasive, reversible and an adjustable procedure as the band adjusts appropriately to decrease the size of the stomach to reduce the food intake.
Who Would Need A Gastric Bypass?
Gastric bypass surgery is done to help you lose excess weight and also reduce the risks of life-threatening obesity-related health conditions. A gastric band operation is usually done after you have already tried losing weight by changing your diet habits or doing regular exercise.
A gastric sleeve surgery could be an option for people who are obese with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher. Usually, a BMI of 35 and above indicates that a person is obese and is dealing with overweight-related health problems, thus might qualify for certain bariatric surgeries.
In addition, the person should be ready to commit to long-term follow-up on regular health examinations and make lifestyle changes.
A gastric band can lower the risk of other health conditions related to being overweight including:
- High blood pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Obstructive sleep apnoea
- Diabetes Type 2
- Mobility problems
How To Prepare For A Gastric Band Procedure?
Before having a gastric band, the patient will be advised by the surgeon and the dietician about any necessary preparation a few weeks before having the operation. The doctor will perform several health assessments and blood tests to examine if the patient is a suitable candidate for the surgery.
A few weeks before the operation, the doctor will suggest following a strict plan on what to eat and drink, starting a physical exercise program and quitting smoking (if applicable). The doctor will also need to know if the patient is taking any medications, if any need to be stopped prior to the procedure.
The doctor will also provide information about the recovery and aftercare following the surgery, and suggest a diet and exercise plan for a different lifestyle the patient will have to follow after having gastric band put in place.
What To Expect From A Gastric Band Procedure?
During The Procedure
Gastric band surgery is a weight-loss procedure that involves placing an inflatable band around the stomach to reduce its size. The surgery is performed under general anaesthesia and the operation lasts for about 30 to 60 minutes.
The gastric band is placed through a laparoscopic procedure, which involves inserting surgical instruments through several small incisions in the abdomen using a laparoscope (a thin, long tube with a camera lens on one end).
The surgeon will place the elastic band around the top part of the stomach forming a small pouch in the upper part and attaching a tube to the band. The tube is accessible through a port that is placed under the skin of the abdomen, which is stitched into place. The port is used to tighten and adjust the band after the surgery. Then, the surgeon injects sterile saline into the band to inflate it, followed by stitches to close the small incisions.
After The Procedure
Immediately after the surgery, the patient will be closely monitored by the doctors/nurses to assess their health condition and to identify any possible complications. The appropriate medications, such as painkillers, will be given by the doctor to relieve any post-operative pain.
At first, food intake should be restricted. The doctor will advise the patient to begin their diet with water, fluids, and liquids (such as soups) for the first few days. For the following 4 weeks, only liquids and soft foods can be eaten. Eventually, after 6 weeks the patient can resume a normal diet.
Most people can restart their daily activities within 2-3 days after the surgery but this will depend on the general health of the patient.
The gastric band procedure usually achieves a loss of about 35 to 45% of excess weight within six to nine months after having the surgery. The success rate of this bariatric surgery is approximately 50% and is usually less than other bariatric surgeries, such as gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy.
The gastric band is designed to stay inside the abdomen for life, although it can be removed and replaced with a new one.
What Are The Benefits Of A Gastric Band?
A gastric band placement has several advantages for the patient’s health and is also a reversible and minimally invasive procedure compared to other bariatric surgeries.
The gastric band benefits include:
- Long-term weight loss for obese people
- Relatively quick recovery
- Adjustable and reversible procedure
- Low chances of wound infection and hernias
- Low risk of nutrient deficiency – as there is no loss of nutrients in absorption
- Relieve gastroesophageal reflux disorder symptoms
- Improvement of obesity-related health conditions (such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes type 2, high cholesterol, sleep obstructive apnea or stroke)
What Are The Risks Of Gastric Bypass?
As with any surgical procedure, gastric bypass can cause some complications, these include:
- Bleeding, blood clots or wound infection
- Injury to internal organs
- Infection around the gastric band
- Gastric band slipping out of place, leaking, deflating or having other mechanical problems
- Developing gallstones – stones formed near the gallbladder
Additional side effects due to the operation might arise, these include:
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
What Is The Cost Of Gastric Band Surgery?
The typical cost of gastric band surgery, in private clinics in the UK, is approximately £5,000 to £8,000. This price usually includes the medications and aftercare, but this will depend on the clinic you choose.
Bariatric surgeries, including gastric sleeve, are available on the NHS, but only for those whose obesity is life-threatening and who have already tried non-surgical solutions that were not successful.