Of all the different types of bariatric surgery, adjustable gastric banding is the least invasive because it requires no cutting or removal of the stomach or intestines. Gastric banding is also the only reversible type of weight-loss surgery. Additionally, the gastric band is completely adjustable, which means that as you lose weight, your bariatric surgeon can tighten or loosen the band as needed to meet your needs. The most common gastric banding systems used in the United States are the LAP-BAND and the REALIZE Band.
Benefits associated with adjustable gastric banding
Ongoing studies show that adjustable gastric banding is effective for long-term weight loss, and that most individuals lose an average of 60 pounds following surgery. Since gastric banding is the least invasive weight-loss surgery available, patients can benefit from a shortened hospital stay, quick recovery, and reduced post-operative pain. Patients can even have their gastric bands removed if they have met their weight-loss goals and feel they no longer require the system. After the gastric band is removed, patients’ stomachs will generally return to their original form.
Adjustable gastric banding can also help improve or reverse comorbidities related to obesity, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, obstructive sleep apnea, problems with fertility, and more. If you’re a woman who becomes pregnant, you can have your bariatric surgeon deflate the LAP-BAND during pregnancy so that you can consume more nutrients during pregnancy.
What happens during gastric banding surgery
During LAP-BAND or REALIZE Band surgery, your bariatric surgeon will make a few tiny incisions across your abdominal region. Then, your surgeon will insert small surgical instruments into your body to implant and fasten the silicone band around the upper portion of your stomach. Following surgery, you will feel full after eating smaller portions, as the food you eat will slowly empty into the larger portion of your stomach and intestines.
The adjustable gastric band is connected to a small port that is placed just under your skin so your bariatric surgeon can control the amount of saline solution in the band using a fine needle. After surgery is complete, you will return to the clinic periodically so your doctor can fill or deflate the gastric band as needed to accommodate your weight-loss needs.