What Is Gastric Band Surgery?
Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery, often referred to as gastric banding, is a surgical bariatric procedure that uses an inflatable silicone band to restrict the amount of food that can enter the stomach at any one time.
During the procedure, the hollow band is placed around the upper part of the stomach, creating a small pouch on top and a narrow opening leading to the rest of the stomach at the bottom. When you eat food, the upper pouch fills quickly with a small quantity of food. This small amount of food stretches the wall of the stomach and a signal is sent to your brain that you are full. Your appetite goes away but you have only consumed a very small meal. You will go from meal to meal and not be hungry in between.
After the surgery, the gastric band may be inflated further or deflated slightly, depending on the patient’s needs. The band is inflated by adding a saline solution through an access port that is placed beneath the skin in the abdominal wall. Your surgeon will inflate the band if the opening between the pouch and stomach needs to be smaller and deflate the band if it needs to be bigger.
Gastric band surgery provides a host of benefits to patients, helping restore health and lose the excess weight that has been holding them back. Some of the benefits you can expect to receive include:
Less risk – Gastric band surgery doesn’t involve re-routing the small intestines or removing a portion of the stomach which makes it less invasive than procedures like gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy. This is the safest procedure we offer patients.
Adjustable and Reversible – Surgeons are able to inflate or deflate the gastric band, so the level of restriction can be tailored to what you need to achieve success.
Significant Weight Loss – Weight loss surgery is all about losing weight, and gastric band surgery enables patients to lose from 50% to 60% of their excess body weight within the first two to three years after surgery.
Minimal Downtime – Being able to carry on with your regular routine as soon as possible is a big plus and gastric band surgery delivers with less downtime than gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy.
Minimal Scarring – Every type of laparoscopic procedure results in minimal scarring when compared to traditional surgery and gastric band surgery is no different. Aside from a few minor scars on your midsection, there will be no indication you even had a surgical procedure.
Prevent or Reduce Obesity-Related Health Conditions – If you currently suffer from obesity-related health conditions like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, sleep apnea or joint problems, gastric band surgery will improve or completely eliminate these conditions.
Improved Quality of Life – Once you experience the weight loss associated with gastric band surgery, you will be able to get around easier, your self-confidence will improve and you will have an enhanced sense of well-being.
Gastric band surgery is an outpatient procedure that requires only an overnight stay in the hospital. Most patients will be able to resume their normal activities within five days and see a full recovery in one week.
Gastric band surgery has fewer risks than more invasive types of bariatric surgery, but it still carries the standard risks of surgery and going under anesthesia. Sometimes, a patient will experience a mechanical issue with the band that requires correction, such as:
• Gastric band erosion
• Gastric band slippage or prolapse
• Infection or leaking from the port
• Gastric pouch dilation
• Blood clots in legs (deep-vein thrombosis) that can travel to lungs (pulmonary embolus)
• Gallstones (up to one-third of patients develop them)
Potential Surgery Side Effects
Nausea and Vomiting – This is the most common bariatric surgery side effect. It may occur from eating too much, eating too quickly, not chewing your food thoroughly enough or eating the wrong types of food.
• Muscle Loss – The body perceives itself to be in a starvation mode after bariatric surgery, and in an effort to hold onto fat, will use muscle mass for energy. This can be prevented by starting a program of regular exercise and making sure you eat enough protein.
• Excess Skin – When you achieve significant weight loss in a relatively short period of time, loose, hanging skin may be left behind. After about 24 months, you’ll be evaluated by a plastic surgeon to determine if surgical skin removal is necessary.
After Lap-Band surgery – You’ll meet with your doctor every three to four months during the first year. If necessary, Lap-Band adjustments will be made. Six-month check-ups are recommended after that.
After Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery – You’ll meet with your doctor 2 to 3 weeks after surgery, and 5 to 6 weeks after surgery. After that, follow-up visits are recommended every 3 months during the first year.
If you live in the Manhattan area and you’re ready to lose weight and keep it off for good, contact the New York Bariatric Group to talk to a member of our team.
Dietary Guidelines After Surgery
Gastric band patients must stick to a strict post-operative diet in order to give themselves the greatest chance for success. It is important to follow your surgeon’s instructions during this time, because you must get the right amount of nutrients in your body while teaching yourself a new way of eating at the same time. A big part of your success depends on your adherence to the eating plan set out by your surgical team.
The bariatric post-surgery diet typically consists of two stages for gastric band patients. You will be on a mushy or puree diet for 4 weeks after surgery with emphasis on intake of protein. After 4 weeks you will resume solid food.
Follow Up Plan
The follow up portion of your surgical plan is designed for your surgeon to monitor progress and ensure you are on the right path. With gastric band patients, followup is critical to your success. Your surgeon must make sure your band stays in the correct zone of tightness and that you are eating the right food the right way. Do not miss your scheduled followup appointments. The aftercare portion of the procedure is set up to make every patient feel as though they are part of a family. You will have personal, one-on-one care to you adjust your band when necessary and guide you through the long weight loss journey to a successful conclusion.
If a gastric band procedure sounds like something you’d be interested in, contact the Manhattan office of The New York Bariatric Group today for a consultation.