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Ramsay Weight Loss | 20/07/2016

The benefits and risks of a gastric band

The benefits

A gastric band is considered to be the safest weight loss surgery. It’s a relatively simple low risk minimally invasive procedure with few complications.

Gastric band surgery usually results in a shorter hospital stay (just one night), a faster recovery time (approximately one week), smaller scars and less pain than other gastric surgery procedures.

Unlike with a gastric bypass and a sleeve gastrectomy, a gastric band involves no permanent alteration to your body such as removing part of your stomach or re-routing and stapling your body. It is completely reversible and can be removed if desired.

Having a gastric band fitted doesn’t interfere with the digestion and absorption of your food. Vitamin deficiencies and dumping syndrome often associated with gastric bypass surgery are less likely to occur with a gastric band and you shouldn’t need to take daily nutritional supplements.

Band adjustments can easily be done quickly in your surgeon's clinic or hospital as required to help you keep on track with your weight loss.

Gastric bands offer a more gradual weight loss than other gastric surgeries. Weighing less makes it much easier for you to move around and do your everyday activities as well as join in new activities that can help improve your general fitness and wellbeing.

Weight loss with a gastric band will lead to improvements in co-morbid conditions related to obesity, including type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnoea and high blood pressure.

After significant weight loss following a gastric banding procedure, you may feel an improvement in your psychological welfare, with higher self- and body esteem, less depressive symptoms and a better quality of life.

What are the risks?

The insertion of a gastric band is a surgical procedure and, although rare, carries potential risks. There are also some gastric band side effects worth noting.

The main complications that can occur following gastric weight loss surgery include infection, blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism) and internal bleeding.

Generally one in ten people with a gastric band will need a further operation at some time in the future. This may be for a number of reasons. Your wound, port or band may become infected and may need to be re-sited, replaced or removed. Sometimes, very slowly, your band can work its way into or through the wall of your stomach so that it’s ineffective and would need to be removed and replaced. There is a risk that over time your band slips out of position and your stomach pouch will become enlarged. Your gastric band would need re-fixing in the correct position. Components of your gastric band may come apart due to damage and cause it to leak. The damaged part would need to be replaced.

Some people with a gastric band develop a food intolerance resulting in symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and gastro-oesophageal reflux (GER). In most cases, avoiding foods that trigger a reaction should help, but if you have persistent symptoms associated with a number of different foods, it may be necessary to remove the band.

People who lose a lot of weight, regardless of the gastric weight loss surgery, are at high risk of developing gallstones.

As a leading weight loss surgery provider in the UK, Ramsay Healthcare are committed to providing the safest Gastric band surgery treatments from our team of dedicated surgeons.

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