Basics of Gastric Banding

Gastric banding is the most common form of weight loss surgery in Europe and Australia, and is quickly gaining popularity in the United States. The procedure is approved by the FDA and is usually performed laparoscopically. This makes it one of the least invasive approaches to treating obesity, because the stomach nor the intestine is cut during the procedure. The amount of weight loss by an individual after the procedure depends on their willingness to commit to a diet and exercise program. The procedure can help individuals achieve longer lasting weight loss by limiting the amount consumed by a person, reducing the appetite, and slowing digestion.

gastric band photoThe gastric banding technique involves the laparoscopic placement of a hollow silastic band around the upper part of the stomach. The band divides the stomach into a small upper pouch above the band and a larger pouch below the band. The smaller gastric pouch limits the amount of food a patient can eat at one time. Patients of the surgery will experience a feeling of fullness after eating a small amount of food. The size of the opening between the two parts of the stomach can be adjusted. Adjusting the size of the opening controls, how much food passes from the upper to the lower part of the stomach. The opening(stoma) between the upper and lower parts of the stomach can be easily decreased or increased by injecting or removing saline from the band.

The hollow band is connected by a tube to a reservoir placed beneath the skin during the surgical procedure. After the surgery, the surgeon or Nurse Practitioner will be able to control the amount of saline in the band by piercing the reservoir through the skin with a fine needle. Having the band adjusted is a normal part of the gastric banding follow-up. The silicone band is placed around the upper part of the stomach, and is adjustable after surgery. The band used in the gastric banding procedure is removable as well as adjustable, and does not permanently alter the anatomy. Gastric banding provides an effective option for patients who may be considering other surgical treatment for obesity. There is a short hospital stay involved in having the gastric banding procedure, and there are no effects in the absorption of nutrients.

Having the gastric banding procedure can lead to a significant amount of weight loss. The estimated weight loss for many patients is about 40 to 50 percent of their excess weight, which occurs over a period of two years. It is common for many patients to have a difficult time tolerating red meat, pasta, rice, fresh bread and fibrous foods. After the surgery patients will be asked to eat three meals a day with one planned snack. Patients must also chew their food slowly and must swallow slowly, and are also required to only drink no or low caloric beverages. There should also be at least an hour between eating and drinking. Eating balanced meals will help patients maintain their weight loss, and may help many lose more than expected.


Photo by edward.beardsell