Facts on How the Gastric Band Works

Gastric Band Works

Gastric banding or laparoscopic gastric banding is a surgical process that leads to weight loss. Those who have extreme obesity and have gained weight due to overeating, usually decide to undergo this surgery.

In gastric banding, a band is placed on the upper part of the stomach. This results in a pouch-like structure that can hold food particles. Due to the size of this pouch that is created, the band can help control the amount of food you are eating.

Because of the presence of the band, you will feel full even after eating a smaller amount of food. To regulate the food passing through, the gastric band can be adjusted accordingly and is usually done by the surgeon.

Before going through the surgery, it is advisable that you have a complete physical exam conducted. Get all the necessary blood tests done (your doctor will give you the details on these tests). You can also go for nutritional counseling so that you know what kind of diet to maintain.

    How the Gastric Band is placed?

  • The patient is given general anesthesia so that he or she doesn’t feel anything while the surgery is going on.
  • It is not open surgery, but as the name suggest, a laparoscope is used. A laparoscope is a small camera that is placed inside the stomach. Thus, the surgeon can see what he is doing, without actually opening up the stomach.
  • Several small incisions (usually about five) will be made on the abdomen. The laparoscope will be inserted through one of these incisions. The instruments needed to do the surgery will be inserted through the other incisions.
  • During the surgery, the surgeon will put a band around the top part of your stomach and separate it from the lower part. By doing this, a pouch will be created and it will have a narrow opening, before widening out in the lower part of the stomach.
  • The surgery takes only about an hour and it does not involve any internal stapling or cutting.
  • Before placing a gastric band, the surgeon measures the body mass index of the patient to determine if the gastric band is actually needed. Normally, people with no weight issues, have a body mass index between 18.5 and 25.

    However, if it is seen that a person is overweight by 100 pounds (for men) or 80 pounds (for women), then their body mass index will be 40 or maybe even more and gastric banding is recommended.

    Also, if a person has some medical condition like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea, then weight loss might help cure it. He or she might have a body mass index of about 35 or more, but even then, they can choose to have gastric banding done.

    How Gastric Band Works?

    When you start eating, after the surgery, this pouch will get filled quite fast. The food will remain in the upper part of the stomach for some time, making you feel full. This is because the opening is narrow. It will take time for the food particles to slowly pass through to the lower part of the stomach, which is wider. Once the food has passed through, only then will you start feeling hungry again. The gastric band thus helps you restrict the quantity of food that you are eating. No matter what, you simply cannot overeat because very soon you will start to feel like you have already had your fill.

    As mentioned above, the procedure of placing a gastric band surgically is a simple method. But it should only be done if one is extremely obese and if his or her condition cannot be improved by maintaining a healthy lifestyle involving a proper diet and regular exercise. The gastric band is not just a random weight loss method.

    Once the gastric band is placed, you will have to maintain a proper diet and eat wholesome food at regular intervals. Exercise should also become a major part of your lifestyle after undergoing surgery. If you fail to keep these things in mind and act accordingly, then your weight might begin to fluctuate and you might suffer from many other complications.

    When a gastric band is placed on your stomach, it does not initiate any drastic weight loss process. Rather, the weight loss that you will experience is gradual and will continue for almost three years. You will slowly shed the extra weight and your lifestyle will change and improve as a whole.

    Since gastric banding is for those who suffer from severe obesity, the slower weight loss helps them ease back into a more active lifestyle and they are able to work and move around more.

    Risks of Gastric Banding

      Gastric banding is definitely an effective surgical method of weight loss. However, it also involves several risks and these are listed below:

    • The band might erode and if this happens, then it must be immediately removed.
    • Gastritis or stomach ulcer might happen after the surgery.
    • Vomiting, especially if you eat more than the pouch can hold.
    • The patient might suffer from a heart attack or a stroke while the surgery is going on or even after it.
      The band might not be tight enough and the pouch might widen. In this case, you must immediately report to your doctor and have surgery done.

    The Wrap Up
    To avoid any problems, during or after the gastric band surgery, it is important to understand the process and to keep yourself in check. Do not take any pills that might not allow your blood to clot quickly, before the surgery. Gastric banding does help. But like any medical procedure, you will have to follow your doctor’s instructions and stay alert about your condition.

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