Gastric band surgery
is known as restrictive weight loss surgery as it limits the amount of food you can eat at one time. After the surgery, you feel full sooner and stay satisfied longer, which in turn decreases your food and calorie intake.
1. What is a gastric band?
A gastric band is a soft and adjustable silicone band that is placed around the upper part of your stomach and closed or locked to create two chambers; a small upper stomach with a narrow opening to the lower stomach. This causes food passage restriction.
On the inside of the band, is a balloon. The balloon is connected by a thin tube to an access point that sits below the skin on your abdominal wall called a port site. Through this port a clinician can make periodic adjustments to your gastric band, based on your weight loss, food cravings and other physical reactions to the surgery, by inflating or deflating the inner balloon with saline (often called a "fill ‘). As the band is inflated your upper stomach outlet becomes smaller and this helps reduce the amount of food you eat and slows the emptying of food into the lower stomach.
2. What is involved in a gastric banding procedure?
Adjustable gastric banding is usually performed using minimally invasive surgery. You will be given a general anaesthetic before surgery that will put you to sleep so you are unable to feel any pain during the procedure.
The surgery is done using a tiny camera called a laparoscope that is placed in your stomach and allows your surgeon to see inside your stomach. Your surgeon will make one to five small surgical cuts in your abdomen through which they will place the camera and instruments needed to perform the surgery.
Your surgeon will place the band around the upper part of your stomach to create a small pouch with a narrow opening into the larger, lower part of your stomach.
3. Is a gastric band the right option for me?
If you want a minimally invasive, reversible procedure that is an aid to help you lose weight and helps to keep weight off, then gastric banding might be an option for you.
It is best to talk through all the weight loss options with your consultant bariatric surgeon and agree the best course of action for your individual needs and goals.
4. Am I eligible for a gastric banding?
You will usually have gastric banding if you cannot lose a large amount of weight and maintain the weight loss long term by dieting and lifestyle changes alone; or if you have serious health problems caused by obesity.
Doctors often use the body mass index (BMI) to determine your eligibility. This procedure may be recommended for you if you have a BMI of 40 or more, or if your BMI is 35 or more and you have a serious health condition that might improve with weight loss. Some of these serious health conditions are sleep apnoea, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Your bariatric surgeon will discuss the best option of weight loss with you and if you are eligible for gastric banding.
5. The benefits of the gastric band surgery
Gastric bands offer a more gradual weight loss than with some other weight loss surgery
options. On average people lose around half of their excess body weight.¹ Your weight loss will lead to improvements in conditions related to excessive weight, including type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnoea, high blood pressure and asthma.
It is also a less invasive bariatric option than either sleeve gastrectomy
or gastric bypass
. It is typically carried out using a few small incisions that usually results in shorter hospital stays, faster recovery time of about a week, smaller scars, and is less painful than open surgical procedures².
Having a gastric band fitted doesn’t interfere with absorption, so vitamin deficiencies are less likely to occur. There is also a lower risk of dumping syndrome which is often marked by abdominal cramps and nausea.
6. What are the risks & complications that may occur?
As with any surgical procedure, potential risks and complications can occur. Although these problems rarely happen, it’s important you are aware of them.
Overall, international studies suggest that 1 in 10 people with a gastric band will need a further operation at some time in the future. Potential complications include:
• Slippage - there is always the risk that over time your stomach will move up through the band and your upper pouch will become enlarged. If this happens then the band can be re–fixed in the correct position³.
• Erosion - very slowly, and particularly if the balloon is tightly inflated, the band can work its way into or through the wall of the stomach and cease to be effective. In this case the band would be removed and replaced if possible.
• Leakage - two of the band components may come apart due to damage of the reservoir or tubing. This would need the damaged part to be replaced.
• 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.
• You may suffer from Gastroesophageal reflux or GER, when your stomach contents rise up into the oesophagus.
7. Getting prepared for your surgery
• When preparing for any weight loss surgery you need to make a lifelong commitment to the dietary and lifestyle changes necessary for success.
• Tell your surgeon about any medications you are taking or plan to take throughout recovery. Vitamins, minerals and herbs interact with medications so don't leave anything out.
• You will need to follow a pre-operation diet to prepare your body for surgery.
• Practice eating slowly, which includes chewing each morsel of food 15 times and putting the fork down between bites.
• You will need to quit smoking for at least 30 days before and after weight loss surgery. Smoking can increase the risk of complications, including potentially fatal blood clots. It can also affect healing of the incisions and increase the risk of infection.
• Don’t drink alcohol for at least 48 hours before your weight loss surgery.
8. After gastric banding surgery
Gastric bands need to be adjusted an average of four to six times in the first year after surgery. These fills are done to make sure the band is not too tight or too loose and/or to encourage continued weight loss. Your stomach needs to heal from surgery before the first fill so this won’t be until around six weeks after surgery.
You must be mindful about what you eat, how you eat and when you eat after your band if fitted. This includes eating smaller meals, because your new stomach can hold only about a quarter-cup to a full cup of food at a time.
It’s important to "listen to your band" and how you feel when you eat different foods at different times.Your surgeon or a registered dietician will support you through any problems you experience and offer tips on how to tweak your diet and eating habits.
Read more weight loss surgery blog posts
to find answers to the most common questions including: pros and cons of gastric balloon, gastric bypass and gastric sleeve, how to choose a weight loss surgeon, exercise after weight loss surgery etc.
Here you can find our guide prices for gastric band surgery
About gastric band treatments at Ramsay Health Care
Ramsay Health Care is a leading provider of weight loss surgery in the UK and offers weight loss procedures performed by highly qualified and experienced bariatric surgeons
who have undergone intensive specialist training in their speciality. Ramsay Health Care offers gastric banding as a weight loss surgery option.
Please contact us
if you would like to discuss gastric banding in more detail.