What to know about the Gastric Band
Are you considering a gastric band? Today’s story looks at some of the important facts about this popular weight loss procedure.
What is a gastric band?
The gastric band, also known as Lap-band, is an adjustable band that is placed just below the oesophagus, at the top of the stomach. This creates a small pouch of stomach above the band and a narrow opening to the lower stomach, which causes food passage restriction.
How does the gastric band work?
The gastric band is known as a restrictive weight loss surgery; because it limits the amount of food you can eat at one time. A gastric band makes you feel fuller sooner and satisfied for longer, which in turn decreases your food intake.
The Lap-Band is connected by a thin tube to an access point that sits below the skin on your abdominal wall called a port site. Adjustments of the gastric band are carried out by injecting saline. As saline is added the pressure on the upper stomach increases; this increased pressure reduces appetite.
When the gastric band is correctly adjusted patients become much less interested in food, and have control of their appetite.
How is the procedure performed?
The gastric band procedure is carried out laparoscopically, so only a few small incisions are made in the abdomen. The surgeon will navigate using a tiny camera, and operate using long, thin instruments. The band is carefully placed and secured around the upper part of your stomach.
Once the LAP-BAND® procedure is complete, it’s time for you to begin your recovery. Most patients can head home later that day, and are encouraged to communicate with their support team regularly.
The benefits of the gastric band
Gastric banding can result in significant weight loss, which can improve and even resolve various weight-related health conditions, including: asthma, hypertension, diabetes and sleep apnoea.
The LAP-BAND® offers an effective weight loss solution that is less invasive than many surgical alternatives, such as a gastric bypass. As this surgery is typically carried out using a few small incisions that usually results in shorter hospital stays, faster recovery time and smaller scars.
Having a gastric band fitted doesn’t interfere with absorption, so vitamin deficiencies are less likely to occur.
What are the risks?
As with any surgery there are potential risks and complications that may occur. Although these rarely happen it is important that you are aware and discuss these with your clinical team.
Potential complications include:
- Slippage – there is a risk that over time your stomach will move up through the band and your upper pouch will become enlarged. The risk of this happening can be reduced by adhering to good eating behaviours and following the advice of your clinical team. If a slippage does happen the band can be corrected.
- Infection of the reservoir/port or tubing – your band may need to be re-sited or replaced if infection persists. With severe infections resistant to antibiotic treatment the band may have to be removed.